Teaching 9-10 year olds to code

C1 | Thu 24 Jan | 3:50 p.m.–4:35 p.m.

Presented by

  • Robert Ancell

    Robert is a open source software engineer based in Napier, New Zealand. He started his professional career studying at the University of Canterbury and began in what would now be called IoT (embedded Linux then) before slowly migrating up the stack to working for Canonical on the Ubuntu desktop. Robert has been actively involved in the GNOME project for more than ten years working on various levels of the Linux desktop stack. Notable open source projects he maintains are the LightDM display manager and the Simple Scan document scanner application. For the last year Robert has run a Code Club at his local school teaching 9-10 year olds how to program in Scratch and Python. The Code Club also uses Raspberry Pi and BBC micro:bit hardware to show how computers work and new devices can be built. This is the fourth LCA that Robert has attended.


For the last year I have run a Code Club (https://codeclub.nz/) at my local primary school. In this talk I will cover: - Why starting a club is challenging, fun and rewarding. - How the Code Club organization makes it easy to get going quickly. - Finding the right software and hardware to be able to run the club. - The good and bad aspects of starting with Scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu/). - How to migrate children to using Python. - The new material I developed for the children based on observations of how they learned and what motivated them. - The appropriate use of hardware (Raspberry Pi and BBC micro:bit) - Challenges in attracting more volunteers to the club. - Keeping a good gender balance. - Fundraising. - Unexpected requirements that led me to develop some new software.