Starting a Coding Club at Your Library (3)

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We’ve been easing you into the idea of running a coding club at your library and participating in this year’s Hour of Code. If this is your first time checking in, you may wish to refer to the previous entries in this series.

What at minimum do you need to get started?

Time. You will want to hold regularly scheduled meetings of your club (or clubs!) and each meeting should be at least an hour long. During the summer and afterschool are optimal times, but weekends can work well, too.

Computers. Desktops or laptops; tablets will work handsomely for block coding (which is likely what you’ll start out with), but if you’re going to be working with older teens or eventually catering to more advanced coders, keyboards will become important.

Curriculum. The core curriculum we’re recommending is CS First. It’s completely free and targeted at ages 9-14. You can schedule it flexibly and it’s based around block coding, which makes it accessible and easy to accommodate. Plus it ties in really well with educational robots (coming soon from a State Library near you…)

Marketing. You’re welcome to use our CodeDak name and branding to promote your Coding Club—in fact, that’s the main reason we created it. Never underestimate the power of snacks and pizza.

Feelies. Your coding club can be supplemented with books, robots, games, and a sincere desire to spread joy and improve the world (though that goes for pretty much anything). Tune in next month for recommendations on this front!

Finally, you may be thinking: “don’t I need money for all this stuff?” While you can definitely this off using free resources and your existing machines, you may find yourself needing another computer or some je ne sais quoi. As luck would have it, the Information Technology Council of North Dakota has a directory of local IT companies who may be able and eager to assist with training, know-how, presentations, tech support, material donations, and maybe even investments—it never hurts to ask, right? Additionally, a Libraries Ready to Code grant just opened up from YALSA and Google. If you need additional monetary support, this is a great place to apply for it.

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