If you’re a programmer or looking to learn then you might interested in joining the Wixams Coding Club! The club started in February 2023 (with limited numbers to make things more manageable) and so far we have been learning some of the basic concepts and techniques using the BBC micro:bit computer. The micro:bit is a fantastic little device which is designed to help people learn and is packed with some amazing features like a digital compass, LED display which can display messages, light sensors, buttons, an accelerometer, a speaker, Bluetooth communications and more.
The club meets fortnightly on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 pm and for each session we build a new project to try out the micro:bit’s capabilities and to learn programming as we go along. It’s a fun way to learn, even for experienced programmers who want to try out something new!
We recently bought a kit which is based on Lego Technic and we’ve been exploring the projects and expending the functionality, it’s a lot of fun! We’re now on Github and you can see the sorts of things we’re up to on there: github.com/WixamsCodingClub
When we started the club in February we had a mixture of age groups including children as young as 7. The kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy using the micro:bit but parents found that Thursday evenings was too late for them, especially for those that attend the after-school football club too. We also found that they need a lot longer to learn than the adults and unfortunately this meant they got a bit left behind. We have therefore decided to set a minimum age of 13 to join the club, for now at least.
Schools today are teaching programming with the micro:bit already so we feel that it’s best left to them to cover a formal syllabus so the kids have the best opportunity to learn. However we don’t want to exclude young kids completely and we may run a dedicated summer coding club in the school holidays next year if we have enough volunteers available.
All under-18s need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times when they’re at the club. We’re currently working out a new safeguarding policy and eventually we hope to allow teens to come unsupervised with a completed parental consent form.
How to Join
While we’re still learning the micro:bit we’re unable to welcome new members to the club on a normal evening session as they wouldn’t be able to follow along. To bring new members up to speed we have been running ‘onboarding’ sessions to introduce the club, the micro:bit device and help people create their first program. From there people can decide if they want to join the club and if so we’ll even lend out a micro:bit device to take home and play with!
If you would like to sign up to the next session please complete the form below, including any experience you have with programming, and we’ll add you to the list for the session. If this is for your child please let us know their name and age in the comments box too. The only thing you will need to bring is a laptop but you might want to bring a notebook and pen too. The Wixams Coding Club is open to people from outside Wixams too. Finally, the club is completely free to attend, we receive funding from other sources to run the club.