ChYpPS is a youth group which we attend each month to provide a coding workshop for the local children. Last year, we formed a partnership with the community to help improve the coding skills of children in Cambridge and to give them some fundamental coding skills for a possible career in technology. This month, we helped the children to make a game called Clone Wars, where the player zooms around in a spaceship and fires lightning bolts at flying hippos. The game uses the programming language Scratch which gives the children the freedom to deviate from the script, in fact, some of them even decided to program in unicorns instead of hippos! The children got a real kick out of creating a game with clear objectives, it’s the first time we’ve created a real game with the other sessions consisting of much simpler projects.
As a teacher, it’s really satisfying to see how the children’s skills have come on since we started the programming club last year. It’s mostly the same children who come back to each session, and they’ve all progressed from very little knowledge to being completely comfortable with Scratch and taking the initiative themselves. Our partnership is a really rewarding initiative for everyone involved. Not only are the parents really excited about how their children are progressing and broadening their skills, but the children are also coming back each month because they are thoroughly enjoying themselves. We’re talking about deepening our ChYpPS partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, who are planning to start a Saturday coding club at the same location. I’m hoping that we can share ideas and volunteers and really make the most of their experiences running clubs like this. Interested to hear about what else we’ve got planned for our community? Read about our latest Go Meetup which aims to connect the programming community in Cambridge and spread the word of Go. Richard Silk, Speechmatics