Originally posted on the Message blog.
“So, do you want to lead the lesson?” It’s two minutes before any of the kids arrive, I have exactly zero hours experience or training, but yeah sure why not? Sometimes you just have to wing it. The kids start streaming in and the teacher herds them to their computers.
“Say hello to Mr. Roberts, he is going to be teaching us to code.” I feel a bit odd to be on this side of the classroom, it’s been eight years since I’ve been in a school and I skived off my final lesson. I take another glance at my notes, look up at 15 pairs of eyes eagerly staring back, and begin.
Three weeks into it and I can honestly say this is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. There is a great amount of joy to be had in seeing someone learn, in seeing that moment they twig and start writing on their own.
Can you show us how to hack websites?
If you haven’t heard of it before, Code Club is a volunteer-led after school class for 9-11 year olds. A teacher pairs up with a programmer and together run through a course outlined by the CodeClub organisation.
It has grown rapidly, from starting in the UK in April 2012 to now 1,895 clubs worldwide. That’s roughly 25,000 kids learning to code. Just think of how much benefit that is going to provide to the tech community when these kids are grown up with a decade of experience before they even get their first job.
How do I link to Minecraft?
Perhaps surprisingly the HTML concepts aren’t the hardest things for the kids. Sometimes you forget they haven’t had 20 years using computers and aren’t always au fait with using the filesystem and browsers. There are a few other recurring niggly points such as spelling and spacing, but it’s pretty easy to work through them.
A few in the class storm ahead with making fan pages for Minecraft and their favourite Youtuber, then start helping their friends progress. Often resulting in oddly funny sites, kid’s minds are crazy weird.
How do I make my site rainbow coloured?
I had a spare 10 minutes left at the end of the lesson this week, so we took a quick sneak peek ahead to the start of CSS. It was fantastic fun to see the kids begin to realise the possibilities as they changed the text and background colours following my example of a garish orange and red combo.
I am very fortunate to work at a company that sees how important this is, giving me the time to take part and I can’t wait for next week. Give them some guidance and a few pointers and let them express their creativity and imagination.
Every coder should teach Code Club.