In Early 2017 SLIC employed two Code Club Officers to travel throughout Scotland delivering Code Club training to over 450 staff from public libraries. Here David Michie talks about his experiences.
I think a quick introduction is in order. My name is David Michie and I am one of the Code Club Project Officers seconded to SLIC from Dundee Leisure and Culture to deliver Code Club Training to Library staff.
Now that’s out of the way lets get to the good bits.
Over the last few weeks I have travelled over 2500 miles throughout Scotland training hundreds of staff members in the basics of coding. Now that's a lot of libraries in a relatively short period of time so I'm going to talk about just one - Orkney Library.
Before taking up this post I had never set foot on a plane, so to say I was a bit nervous strolling into Edinburgh airport is a bit of an understatement. My plane turned out to be a bit like a minibus with tractor engines - holding 42 people on a short flight over the water. When chocolates starting being handed out I thought the staff were just being nice until a local explained chocs were a sure sign of turbulance ahead. Luckily chocolate is one of my favourite things in life and so I survived my first slightly rocky flight in one piece.
Our 'rock star tour' of Orkney was a whirlwind affair. Arriving late at night we were all prepared for the main gig the day after - a full day of training in the local library. Throughout the day we covered Scratch and Python, basic programming languages which are very popular and ideal for beginners to understand. We also hdad time to chat about Raspberry Pis and BBC microbits - which are not only relatively cheap but an excellent way to demonstrate just what's possible with the minimum of kit.
The energy of the staff was fantastic and everyone got into the programming side of the training. Being able to be hands-on is always good because you always learn things faster than if you're just told how to do things. I always tell staff that we work in libraries too so we're aware of a lot of the problems people can come across. In every session we made sure we covered some of the most common pitfalls too and tried to prepare for some of the questions we thought might come up. The food was also excellent - always an added bonus to a great training session!
It's been great fun touring Scotland, meeting lots of people who are really excited about coding and its possibilities. Now, only weeks after the training, Orkney already have their first Code Club up and running with many more being created throughout the country. The Rock Star Tour may be over but the story of Code Clubs in libraries has only just begun.