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Programming Project Comes to Primary Schools

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Code Clubs will use Scratch, a programming language developed at MIT.


A volunteer project in the United Kingdom is writing session plans for teaching the basics of computer programming to children between the ages of 10 and 11. Called Code Clubs, the sessions will give schoolchildren an opportunity to engage in hands-on tasks such as making games and eventually controlling robots.

"The idea is to build things that are really exciting," says Clare Sutcliffe, who developed the idea for Code Clubs along with Linda Sandvik. Several schools have volunteered to test the session plans.

The club sessions will make use of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Scratch tool, which enables youngsters to engage in programming by dragging and dropping code elements instead of typing them. The first 12 sessions should be free for participating schools to run, and the only extra step would be to download and install Scratch on their computers.

Volunteers would run the Code Clubs, rather than teachers. Sutcliffe and Sandvik hope to have Code Clubs in 25 percent of British primary schools by 2014. The Code Club would "slot neatly alongside" the changes to the national curriculum that will emphasize programming, Sutcliffe notes.

From BBC News 
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