The Raspberry Pi Foundations latest project, Code Club World, turns learning to code into fun games and challenges.
On Tuesday, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced Code Club World, a child-friendly website purposed with helping children aged 9 to 13 “learn to make stuff with code.”
In a blog announcing the project, Laura Kirsop, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s head of learning experience, said the project was one result of the foundation’s efforts to create tools to help parents with homeschooling efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“When we spoke to parents and children about learning at home during the pandemic, it became clear to us that they were looking for educational tools that the children can enjoy and master independently, and that are as fun and social as the computer games and other apps the children love,” she said.
“A free tool for learning to code at home is particularly important for young people who are unable to attend coding clubs in person,” she added. “We believe every child should have access to a high-quality coding and digital making education. And with this in mind, we set out to create Code Club World, an online environment as rich and engaging as a face-to-face extracurricular learning experience, where all young people can learn to code.”
In Code Club World, kids can begin by creating their personal robot avatar, then move on to make music, design a t-shirt, and even teach their robot avatar to dance. They can learn to code on islands with structured activities, and discover block-based and text-based coding in Scratch and Python, all while earning badges to mark their progress and sharing their coding creations with family, friends, and the online community at Code Club World.
A plus is that this is being done by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, which is primarily an educational organization with plenty of experience helping grade school kids learn about children (and which also already has child-friendly privacy policies in place).
The foundation said that Code Club World activities are tied to its Digital Making Framework — a research-based coding and digital making curriculum for non-formal settings.
“That means when children are in the Code Club World environment, they are learning to code and use digital making to independently create their ideas and address challenges that matter to them,” Kirsop said. “By providing a structured pathway through the coding activities, a reward system of badges to engage and motivate learners, and a broad range of projects covering different topics, Code Club World supports learners at every stage, while making the activities meaningful, fun, and flexible.”
Another plus is that the young users won’t necessarily need access to a desktop or laptop computer to use Code Club World, as the foundation has made certain that the project supplies a good user experience on mobile devices as well as full fledged computers.
Kirsop said that during the project’s development, the foundation been working with “more than 1,000 parents, educators, and children who are giving us valuable input to shape the direction of the platform.”
So, how do the kids like it?
Kirsop quoted one 11-year-old: “I’ve not coded before, but found this really fun! … I LOVED making the dance. It was so much fun and made me laugh!”
At this point, the project is in beta, which means it offers kids another opportunity. They can give feedback about their time on the site and help make Code Club World even better.
Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux