I help out with afterschool clubs and recently our computing club blog has just turned one so it got me thinking about just how long I've been helping out and why I do it so decided to get back on my blog to talk about it.
Volunteering yes working for free why should you do it? Well for one it gives you experience in doing a job and secondly you will enjoy it. Why would you enjoy it if you're not being paid, well because you are going to pick something then that you really love doing aren’t you?
Me I love computing and I love teaching, how do I do this voluntary? I help out in my local primary school that’s how and have done for the past 2 years (the previous 2 years were spent doing research in the same school for my PhD). I’ve been very lucky my child’s school is always open to having parents share their expertise if they can spare the time. I’m a part time worker (Lecturer in Computing at FE level) and therefore am able to give something back to my child’s school and for the past 2 years I’ve been helping out with anything computing related. This has involved me helping the school from developing some lessons to helping to get funding for iPads.
However the one thing I am most proud of is my after school clubs. I have for the past 18 months taken a club afterschool and this has been probably the most rewarding thing I have ever done. For me I wanted to show the children something a little different about computing that they wouldn’t get in school time. The club started off in its first term finding its feet and using Scratch however by the 2nd club I was lucky enough to have been given funding to get raspberry pi’s and that’s when things took off. To have children 8-10 years using python and learning to program was amazing even better was that they said to some visitors recently they preferred python!! After a few months of learning different aspects of python we came across Minecraft for the pi which was a big hit when I said we were using it. We combined the python programming and started building small things in Minecraft at first learning how to place blocks in the world before creating walls. We are now in that particular club about to take that further. However what had started as one club has now grown to three. Last year I started a 2nd club to involve more of the younger children. This one used Kodu and one of the groups in the club got to a competition final because of the game they made which was fantastic. So this year I have another Kodu club and will be getting more teams entered. My 3rd club is using Scratch and learning more about animations so we can enter the Animation competition next year.
The best thing about this for me is seeing how enthusiastic the children are when doing what they do. This shines through when our club has visitors – I started a blog for the club a year ago so the children could share what they do not only with the school but well the world. It had impact as recently we had people from Denmark come to visit the school and our club. They are confident about talking about what they do in the club and are willing to learn lots of new things even new vocabulary our latest word is concatenation (which took me a while to get to grips with at uni!!).
People wonder why I do it. Yes I have gotten lots of experience from taking the clubs but my answer is simple wouldn’t you want to do what you can to help your child’s school if you had the time?
Feel free to pop over to read the Club blog at http://www.royston-pri.glasgow.sch.uk/Blog/Blog.aspx?SectionId=53a46eec-58aa-43bd-9870-666dcbe58ff6