On Saturday I headed into town with the family to sample the culinary delights of the Brighton Food Festival. On the way we were distracted by a Dalek that was patrolling the back entrance of the Corn Exchange. Brighton had been invaded, not by Daleks, but by another species similarly not renowned for its emotional intelligence: Geeks. This was the entrance to Brighton’s Mini Maker Faire, where a motley crew of hackers had gathered to showcase the products of their labor and promote their respective communities (watch the short video below to get a flavour of what was going on).
Whilst my three year old daughter tried to introduce the Dalek to her toy rabbit, I ducked into the Faire to see what was going down. Amongst the various stalls I stumbled across a couple of friendly people representing Code Club.
If you’re not already familiar with Code Club, it is an initiative that sets out to change children’s attitude to coding and make it “cool and fun”. The founders of Code Club are aiming to have a Code Club in 25% of UK primary schools by 2014. Check out the Code Club website for more information and be sure to watch their entertaining and tech-celebrity-studded video (below).
It was great to hear that three local schools (Queen’s Park Primary, Westdene Primary and West Hove Junior) have already signed up to run code clubs. Linda Sandvik, one of the two founders of Code Club, told me that they currently have more volunteers to run the code clubs than they have interested schools. Hopefully more schools will get involved once they become more aware of what is on offer. The Code Club folks are providing some basic training to volunteers who don’t have experience of supporting children’s learning and they’re ensuring that all volunteers are CRB checked. If you’re interested in volunteering at a local school, you can sign up at the Code Club website. There are also regional Code Club Google Group where you can find out what’s going on locally.
Code Club have developed resources based around MIT’s Scratch. They intend to produce further resources in the coming months.
Just around the corner from the Code Club stall I found some chaps who were recruiting members for a newly formed local Raspberry Pi user group, called Brighton Pi. I signed up and, as promised, I’ve now been invited to join a Google User Group which is already busy with activity.
At this point my not-so-geeky wife insisted that we move on to the food festival so I didn’t get a chance to chat to the Greenfoot brigade who were also present.
When I eventually emerged from the Corn Exchange I discovered that my daughter had spent the whole time following the aforementioned Dalek around and trying to kiss it. She clearly has much to learn about Daleks.