The Twickenham Coding Evening is an opportunity for teachers, Raspberry Pi enthusiasts and Code Club/Coder Dojo volunteers to come together to discuss the new computing curriculum in an informal and friendly environment. This will be our 6th evening and, as numbers have steadily grown, we are expecting around 20-30 attendees from local schools, Code Clubs and industry specialists. I hope you are able to come along as this is an excellent opportunity to develop the teaching of computing and coding within schools.

So what sort of people attend the evenings?

We get a large range of people who come along – very often we have teachers who are complete beginners and have no idea of how to teach the coding side of the new curriculum and this is an excellent opportunity for them to discuss their ideas and gain some confidence by trying things out. We also get people involved with Code Club – an initiative to get coders to volunteer in primary schools to help run a club either after or before school (and some people looking for schools to volunteer in); we have attendees who help run Coder Dojos, which is a similar idea. We also get people who are employed in the coding industry who aren’t able to volunteer in schools, but want to give something back to the community by chatting to teachers and helping to build their confidence. We get a lot of enthusiastic people who love Raspberry Pi, Makey Makeys or even Lego – at the last evening we had a Lego sensor controlling a HAT on a Raspberry Pi to make lights come on controlled by Scratch. Finally, we have a core group of very enthusiastic teachers and school technicians who, like myself, have lots of ideas to share and want to show other people what they’re doing in their schools and how other schools can further their computing teaching. Everything is presented in a non-threatening, informal way to help build confidence

What sort of thing can I expect if I attend?

The event starts at 6.30, but attendees arrive anytime between then and about 9 o’clock (which is usually when we start to wind down). People tend to order food as the evening goes on and generally they gather in small group to discuss things. Usually, if a teacher is looking for something specific, I will recommend someone to speak to who can help them; however, most teachers seem to get the best out of the evening by simply chatting to each other and finding out about the resources on display. There are usually at least two Raspberry Pis set up with various HATs and things attached to the GPIO pins and some of the attendees bring their own tech to demonstrate and talk about either informally to small groups or to the group as a whole, as part of a Teach Meet style show n tell. There is no pressure to demonstrate anything or to get heavily involved, the emphasis of the evening is to feel comfortable and relaxed. So far, nearly all of the teachers who have attended one evening have signed up for the next one too because they have found it so valuable.

If you do have something you want to demonstrate, please let me know if you can by dropping me a quick email.

How much does it cost?

This is the best thing – the Stokes and Moncreiff have generously given us their function room for free so the evening costs absolutely nothing, unless you want to get some food and drink from the bar downstairs!

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