How Code Club’S Rik Cross Is Making Coding Projects For 30,000+ Kids

Code Club is one of the most innovative coding education organizations active today. It uses teacher-led, volunteer-helped, project-based club activities to get kids across the UK hands on with real code after school. Rik Cross has been the Head of Education for Code club for nearly a year and is tasked with creating và revising Code Club’s curriculum to lớn keep it fresh và relevant for the Club’s young participants.

In this interview, Rik talks about how he approaches designing lessons in Web Development, Scratch, và Pykhiêm tốn for the club. He’s also embedded his favorite Scratch project & his favorite HTML, so this interview should be as fun and engaging as Code Club’s projects are!

This is part of a series of interviews we’re doing of educational innovators. You can find other interviews in the series here.

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Code Club’s Head of Education, Rik Cross

Elliott: First of all, tell us a little bit about CodeClub. When did it get started, when did you join, và how is it growing?

Rik: Code Club is a network of miễn phí volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11. Code Club was started in 2012, to lớn help address the skills gap that teachers were facing due khổng lồ the introduction of the new Computing curriculum in Englvà. We match teachers up with volunteers who have some knowledge or interest in programming, & together they guide and support children as they learn to lớn program by working through the projects in our curriculum.

I’ve sầu been with Code Club for about a year, and have seen Code Club grow a lot in a very short space of time. We reached 2,500 clubs in the UK this month, và we aim lớn have even more children learning to program through Code Clubs by the end of 2016!

There are over 30,000 participants in over 2,000 volunteer-led Code Clubs across the UK

Elliott: What is your role at CodeClub? How does what you vì chưng fit inkhổng lồ its mission of spreading coding literacy throughout the UK?

Rik: I’m the Head of Education at Code Club, and my main role is to lớn oversee & develop our curriculum. My ayên is lớn teach computational thinking & programming skills through fun, engaging projects. This way, children can see that programming is incredibly empowering, và can become active producers rather than passive sầu consumers of công nghệ.

Our projects are suitable for children of a range of abilities, và each project includes a number of ‘challenges’, which give sầu children a chance to lớn apply the skills they’ve sầu learnt in a creative way.

I also think that it’s really important that children can see the relevance of programming away from the field of Computer Science, and so we put emphasis on the variety of ‘things’ that children can make with code, rather than focusing too much on the programming concepts themselves. We have lots of cross-curricular projects in areas such as art, music, animation & storytelling, with lots more khổng lồ come.

My favourite projects teach programming concepts whilst allowing children lớn be creative, experiment, & even take risks and make mistakes along the way.

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Elliott: Can you tell us a little about the projects & curriculum you’ve been making, maybe with an example of one of your favorite exercises?

Rik: Our curriculum currently teaches computational thinking và programming skills through projects in:

HTML & CSS (the languages for writing & styling web pages);

Most recently, I’ve been developing our existing HTML và CSS curriculum, và one development is the use of lớn allow children to lớn create web pages online. allows children in our clubs to easily build web pages without installing any software, or encountering any of the restrictions sometimes associated with programming on a locked-down school network. also allows children to lớn nội dung their creations, which gives them an audience for their work, và helps them lớn see the relevance và importance of the things they’re creating.

My favourite projects teach programming concepts whilst allowing children lớn be creative sầu, experiment, and even take risks and make mistakes along the way. We certainly try khổng lồ make sure that Code Club projects have these qualities.

My particular favourites are the Scratch ChatBot project & the HTML & CSS ‘Tell a Story’ project.

The ChatBot project teaches selection (if and if…else statements) through making an interactive talking robot. Children create a robot that asks the user questions, and uses selection lớn decide on an appropriate response or action. Once children have learnt the concept of selection, they are miễn phí lớn create their own robot with it’s own quality personality.

Clichồng the green flag to start a basic chat with the Robot:

The ‘Tell a Story’ project teaches children about HTML tags, through writing a story in a comic book style. Children learn how to use tags to lớn create nội dung, & then use this knowledge lớn publish their own story.

Elliott: How vị you thử nghiệm the projects và get feedbaông chồng from your volunteers and club participants?

Rik: I have sầu my own Code Club each week, and my club love testing out new project ideas. Some of the ideas don’t become Code Club projects, but many vày. Some of the ideas for projects have sầu even come from children telling me about the things they’d lượt thích to lớn make, such as the Create Your Own World Scratch RPG project.

These new projects are then shared with a small group of volunteers who have sầu helpfully agreed lớn kiểm tra out new projects. Anyone who would like lớn get involved with testing out new projects can gmail projects