When I sat down to write this blog post about Linda Sandvik's Monktoberfest 2013 talk, I did what I always do. I created a new Confluence page, started to watch the video, and begin typing notes about what I might include in the post. When I was done, I had written notes that covered nearly 90% of what Sandvik covered in her talk. That is, I was so captured by her story of Code Club that I felt compelled to cover everything she said from why she started it to how she started it and also what results Code Club has had.
That is how good her talk is. The problem is that if I wrote all of my notes in this blog post, you might not need to watch the video. And you MUST watch the video.
http://t.co/e2tVvS9W is live! A nationwide network of volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children. Exciting times!
— Code Club (@CodeClub) April 16, 2012
Well, Sandvik admits she had some help.
What I like most about her story is how they just started small by creating lesson plans to help kids learn the operate a computer and how much time they spent researching what kids are "in-to" because she wanted so much for the lessons to be fun and engaging for the kids. Talk about customer-focused.
And fun they were.
When she started asking kids (40% of the students were girls, which is amazing all by itself) to rate how much fun they had going through her lessons, on a fun scale of 0 to 100, the kids rated the lessons 94%. My own personal, unscientific hypothesis is that most video games would not rate that high. And it is not all about what the kids said but also what the teachers said about the results. Teachers were telling Sandvik that the kids who participated in Code Club had improved problem solving and math skills, which was hard for Sandvik to believe since she wasn't teaching any math. However, Sandvik kept hearing that feedback from teacher after teacher.
As incredible as these results are, teaching these kids to code is not so much about the code as it is about the learning process and learning how to think in a certain way. I hope I did not give too much away. Watch the video.