Hosting a Coding Club at your library or in your computer lab is a great way to get teens into your building and foster their knowledge and interest in STEM fields. They also provide an opportunity for you to partner with schools and tech companies in your community. Previously, we’ve discussed how to start a Coding Club using Codecademy. Today I wanted to inform you of some other resources you can make use of.
CoderDojo has some great guidance and resources on how to start a more formalized coding club with designated coding mentors. The Bismarck Veterans Memorial Library recently started a CoderDojo (the only one so far in our state)–kudos to them!
Kodu facilitates the creation of games for the PC (free) and XBox ($5 through the Indie Games channel) using a simple visual programming language. In addition to programming skills, it cultivates creativity, problem solving, and storytelling. They have an education kit you can download to help you get started. The platform is geared towards a younger audience, but can provide an excellent introduction to programming for middle school-aged youths and even pre-teens.
CodeEd is dedicated to teaching computer science to girls from under-served communities, starting in middle school. They partner with schools and programs serving low-income girls and provide them with volunteer teachers, computer science course offerings, and computers. CodeEd does make their curriculum available under a Creative Commons Attribution license, so you can make use of it even if you don’t enter into a more formal partnership with them.
Bootstrap is a formal curriculum for students age 12-16. It teaches solid program design skills and applies algebra and geometry to video game design. The flexible course runs 20-25 hours. While Bootstrap is best suited for a school or school library media center, it has plenty to offer anyone interested in fostering a learning environment for computer programming. The curriculum is free and aligned with Common Core standards for algebra. All course materials, including unit guides, workbooks, password-protected teacher materials, and the standards matrix are available free of charge.
Code Club World is another great resource for guidance on how to start your club, promote it, and keep it running smoothly. In addition, they provide teaching materials in an assortment of languages (here’s the English one). Their focus is on clubs for children aged 9-11, but their recommendations are pretty universally applicable.
Know of any other great coding club resources? Please share them in the comments!