Finally, I decided to start a thread on our local Marple Online Forum. I didn’t expect much of a response.
Are there any people out there with computer programming skills they’d like to share with school children? A group of parents at a local primary school is setting up an after school Code Club. It’s part of a nationwide project to get a network of computer clubs across the country. Check out the website http://codeclub.org.uk/ The government is changing what children learn about computers at school so that there’s more of an emphasis on programming rather than just learning about office software. We want to be at the forefront of that national push! So if you have the skills and share our passion for this project, please check out the Code Club website, see if it’s for you and get in touch. Thank You.
There was an immediate and positive response! It seems we’ve flushed out an army of closet coders with a social conscience. One guy PM’d me, sounds really keen to volunteer and has the perfect skill set to help us out and an employer willing to support extra-curricula social projects.
Lots of people on the forum stopped arguing about the pros and cons of having a new supermarket in town and started to show off their knowledge of arcane computer languages instead. They got told they were “off topic” and got moved to another “Programming Show-Offs” thread.
But the really exciting thing is that we seem to have started something big here in SK6. As a direct result of that thread on the forum, another local school has signed up to CodeClub and parents at another school are meeting the head teacher next week to persuade him to sign up too. This is fantastic. If everything works out, it means the local volunteers can get together to support each other, share ideas, perhaps set up hack days at the weekend when all the schools can come together.
And perhaps the Goyt Valley will become the next Silicon Valley…
The Big Lesson I learnt from this process is that not everyone out there knows about CodeClub yet so we need to keep on talking about it EVERYWHERE. There are plenty of 40-somethings out there who developed a love for computers in the 80s with the BBC Micro etc and are really excited about the opportunity to tap into that enthusiasm again and rekindle that passion.
So if you’re a frustrated volunteer who can’t find a local school. Or if you’re a parent who can’t find a local volunteer. Don’t give up just yet. There are people out there.