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A Newbie’s Experience of Code Club 4 Teachers

In 2019, Peter Corlett of Waikanae Primary School volunteered to run a Code Club 4 Teachers (CC4T) meetup. This was a bold and brave step for Peter, as while he had worked within other areas of ICT, he had no coding experience himself.

 

Running our Code Club meetups was a confidence booster for Peter, and reflecting back on his experience, he found that he was well supported throughout the process.

 

“If you had to find all the resources yourself it would be a difficult job as you don’t know what you don’t know but the resourcing is there - everything from providing kai to the actual program you run” Peter said.

 

Following the meetups one participant commented that she now has “confidence to talk with the students about what they are doing on their Chromebooks in the classroom, to look over their shoulders and ask them questions and to facilitate students to solve problems they encounter while working with digital technologies.”

 

While Peter feels that further professional development opportunities are important for teachers looking to build confidence, he thinks that Code Club 4 Teachers is a great way to get started and meet like-minded educators who are engaging with the revised technology curriculum.

 

Read on for Peter’s summary of his experience.

 


 

The extended technology curriculum posed a dilemma for me. “If I am to teach coding (programming), how do I develop competence in this? How can I learn both coding and computational thinking so I can guide my students?”

 

Reading the curriculum document gives some ideas but not a “hands-on” experience that translates into the classroom, so I signed up to run a Code Club 4 Teachers (CC4T) meetup.

 

What appealed is that the content was provided and there was support from CC4T. This meant that I didn’t have to wrestle with collating and designing a programme for something I didn’t yet understand.

 

I contacted Kate Allen at CC4T who was enthusiastic about something being run here in Kapiti and emailed the local teacher network to invite teachers to take part. Interestingly, the teachers who responded were a group of relievers. An issue for relievers is that professional development can be hard to access as while they may work in a local school, they do not get invited to participate in the professional development teachers need to demonstrate as part of the attestation process for registration.

 

I was nervous about the first session in a facilitator role but my colleagues were supportive and eager to learn. The mix of unplugged activities and block coding with Scratch helped to ensure that there was practical learning for everyone to take away.

 

The following three sessions were easier as I felt more confident in leading the sessions. Numbers fluctuated from session to session and several dropped out but the core participants completed all four sessions.

 

It was exciting when participants shared their experiences of using their new learning. One had taught an unplugged activity which linked to computational thinking concepts to the staff in a school she visited. Another talked of understanding what students were doing when they relieved in a class where Scratch was already being used.

 

I am now confident enough to run a coding lesson even if the students have never coded before or are already designing and coding games. By taking a facilitator role in running a Code Club it gave the impetus to do some coding myself and develop my knowledge and competence in a manageable and sustainable way.

 

If you get a chance to join a CC4T group, my advice is to go for it.

 


 

Register your interest in hosting a meetup or running Code Club 4 Teachers at your school or kura by emailing kate,allan@kiatakatu.ac.nz

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