How to organize a Coding Club

by Pola Misthou


Coding Club Infographic

 infographic-greekcodersk12-codingclub



Paper @ROBOESL Conference, Athens Greece, 26/11/2016.

Title “Coding Club: A Learning Community in School

Stavroula Misthou, CS teacher, MSc. MEd.
7th Junior High School of Athens, Greece stavroula.misthou@gmail.com

Abstract: By 2020 a shortage of 800,000 employees is expected in Europe in IT sector, mainly in programming. Formal Education fails to prepare young people for the digital job market. The school can develop activities that help to bridge this digital gap. The paper presents the experience of the after school activity program entitled “Coding Club: I code creatively in the digital environment” that took place at 7th Junior High School of Athens (2015-16). The goal of the Coding Club is students to become familiar with Computer Science, programming, computational thinking and problem solving. The didactic approach involves distance learning, flipped classroom and learning by experience activities that form a learning community whose members learn how to learn. The paper proposes the Coding Club program as a good practice that combines creativity, innovation and digital skills.

Keywords: IT, digital literacy, coding, problem-solving, flipped classroom, learning community.


Paper Presentation @ROBOESL Conference, Athens Greece, 26/11/2016

  1-misthous-roboesl-presentation


Paper Presentation Script @ROBOESL Conference, Athens Greece, 26/11/2016

Title “Coding Club: A Learning Community in School

Stavroula Misthou, CS teacher, MSc. MEd.
7th Junior High School of Athens, Greece stavroula.misthou@gmail.com

  1. INTRODUCTION

My presentation focuses on the creation of a coding club in 7th J. H. School of Athens. As you know, a shortage of 800,000 employees is expected in Europe in ICT sector by 2020.

In the meantime, formal education fails to prepare young people for the digital job market.

The one-year experience of the coding club in my school showed that it is a good practice that combines creativity, innovation, digital skills and can address the above concerns.

 

  1. THE STORY OF AN IDEA

– According to my observations we need to empower future generation. That means, teach digital and soft skills, fight against underrepresentation of girls in ICT and make school a place where everyone learns.

– Last year, during the European Code Week awareness event in class, I mentioned that 5.000 code clubs exist in England.  I said “We could make a Coding Club in our School”.

– Some days later, Kleidi, 14 years old, suggested to me to start a coding club.

– This was a career change moment for me.

  1. CONFLICTS

My choice –to create the club- did not come without its challenges.

  1. Our Lab was out of date (11 years old)-This is the greek reality-
  2. How this activity could be managed in school? Who and when
  3. Content is the King!!! What and how
  4. Finally, No funding for Robotics kit, 3d printing etc

Here is the way we overcame obstacles:

  1. We turned the Lab to Linux LTSP with a strong server and old PCs as clients
  2. The Coding Club is organized as an after school activity as an environmental program
  3. We used only Open source software and e-learning platform
  4. We organized free workshops on Saturdays in Evgenidio Foundation for Arduino and 3d modeling

 

  1.  THE PROGRAM

TITLE of Environmental Program: “Coding Club: I Code creatively in the digital environment

It’s about   CS, computational thinking, digital literacy, problem solving, programming, making

Students from all classes can participate in the club [12-15]

We spent 2 hours / week, on Friday, 40 hours totally

I Created MoodleCloud course with content, worksheets

Our subjects were-code.org, SCRATCH, 3d printing, Wikipedia, Arduino, Mobile apps, Prezi, gif

My effort was to make an HOLISTIC APPROACH- by combining Presentation skills, extroversion, diffusion with programming.

  1.  THE PLATFORM

This is the Moodle platform we used with notes, links and worksheets. This gave us flexibility: students studied at their own pace, they could be informed when absent and a late member could catch up with the rest of the class.

  1. THE HEROES

17 students spent some time on Fridays in the Coding Club. I’ m grateful for their trust in me. The name of the team is GreekCodersK12. We created a LOGO for the team. Week by week our team was transformed to a learning community: friends who share, talk, respect, inquire, socialize, help each other, cooperate, propose projects, solve problems, present, take initiatives … create.

I encouraged them to implement the flipped classroom model. They accepted but they most enjoyed being in school and work together.

Peer to peer teaching was a duty for everybody in Coding club. Everybody became a teacher and a student.

7 students were and still are the kernel of the team: 4 girls, 3 boys. They act as doers, multipliers and ambassadors of the Club.

  1.  Scratch Projects

They decided to create digital stories with Scratch, for Code promo, refugees, friendship. They wrote scripts in Greek, in English and they presented their project in front of the team, to get feedback.

They also created collision and pong games.

  1.  3d modeling

They designed a prototype chair using Tinkercad in Evgenideio (2 hours)

  1.  Arduino

They made a synthesizer with Arduino (2 hours)

  1. Robotics

They used LEGO to construct their own robot and they teached the robot to follow the black line (3 hours)

  1. Cocreation& Fun

We had many playful activities in Lab  and fun (This is my birthday cake 🙂 )and students’ Presentation at the end of the program.

  1. Lesson we learned

– Coding Club = inclusive program which can be an umbrella for innovative activities like programming, educational robotics, entrepreneurship, STEM STEAM and ESTEAM

-ACCORDING TO MY EXPERIENCE When we allow students to pick a topic they are passionate about, they mobilize others to act on that passion and form a culture of co-creation=

– this is a learning community who “learns how to learn”

– prevents early school leaving

– transforms users and consumers to doers

– and it’s  an opportunity for bridging gender digital gap.

  1. New possibility

– We are in the second year of our Coding Club with 25 students from 2 schools: 7thJunior High School and 7thHigh School of Athens. For the first time, students from 12 to17, will have the chance to cooperate in a team.

So far, the results of the Coding Club are very promising. We will have 2-levels coding. The beginners and more experienced students. Some students will also attend Python. Python curriculum will be of my choice in the context of PY4HS program funded by Google and organized by the Polytechnic School of Crete.

  1.  Happily ever after…

I believe in the potential of Coding Club to change school culture. Coding Club offers motivation and gives new role and new direction in life for us, the teachers and our students.

It’s my hope you’ll join me along the way!

Thank you very much for your attention and the opportunity Dafni & Dimitris gave me to be here today. Congratulations to all ROBO-CODE teams!!

Enjoy coding!!!

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