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How to get kids learning online this summer

Or, why your kid should join the 2500+ who have already thrived in our virtual coding classes!

Hannah Balllard
July 2, 2020

This year may have taken many unexpected twists, but with summer here, one thing remains constant: kids need something to do. At KCJ we’re keeping kids across Canada educated and entertained all summer long with our virtual programming classes.

Online classes are the perfect place for kids to learn while exploring their hobbies and socializing with new friends - and they can buy a couple of hours of quiet for the rest of the family, too.

What makes our online coding courses that extra bit special? We were one of the first to offer them! Our Code Club Canada kids clocked up 763+ hours of coding in the first month of lockdown, and since March, 943 educators have taken part in virtual teacher trainings , a total of 2558 kids have enjoyed connecting and creating in our virtual workshops

We’ve run 659 online workshops between March 16 and May 31, 2020.

But don’t take our word for it - here’s some stories from our instructors who are engaging kids in virtual coding classes.

Technology creates opportunities for kids to collaborate across the country!

Screen capture of KCJ online workshops

Here’s a look inside our online workshops.

As our Calgary-based Instructor Maia saw, technology is actually making it easier for kids to help each other out:

“In this session, the kids were both experienced coders, and very chatty! It was a great atmosphere in the ‘classroom.’ They were collaborative; always wanting to help each other finish their projects, add ideas, and troubleshoot any issues they had. It was lots of fun teaching them!”

For our Prince Edward Islander Instructor Becca, the workshops have created brand new friendships:

“This week, I had two kids - a second grade girl from Toronto and a third grade boy from Newfoundland - who would talk more to each other than to me! One day, they figured out how to like and comment on each other's Scratch projects. By the next they had exchanged usernames for Roblox and Minecraft to become friends. They spent two hours after the session ended playing together!”

We’ve taught 2558 kids online between Mar 16 and May 31, 2020.

Small classes and screen sharing create special leadership moments

Our instructors are rockstars, and experts at crowd control in even the most energetic classrooms. But virtual classes have thrown up an entire new style of working, which has seen some kids thrive. Working with smaller groups over Whereby, where kids can easily share their screen, some kids have used this change of pace to flex their own leadership skills!

Based in Edmonton, Gabrielle is such an engaging Instructor, she often has return learners! For one boy in particular, a single session of Space Burps wasn’t enough and he came back for more:

“Towards the end of the session, there were only 2 kids left. The boy had done our Space Burps workshop before and knew parts of it. When it came time to change the dino costume when it burped, he asked me if he could explain it to the class, and he did! He took about 3 minutes to give a detailed step-by-step explanation to show how to get the costume to change. It was awesome.”

Our lead instructor for Eastern Canada, German, dropped into one of Montrealer Sophie’s workshops. He was pleasantly surprised to see kids working through problems on their own by talking their ideas through:

“Sophie would almost act as a soundboard as on multiple occasions. A kid would express they were not sure how to do something, hesitate, and before Sophie could say anything, they would explain what they thought they needed to do. In those cases, they were fully capable of finding the solution on their own but took comfort in having Sophie there.”

A message from a parent whose child participated in a KCJ online workshop: “My son took a few of your online workshops. They inspired him to create his own online workshop to teach Scratch to his close friends. This illustrates the power of hands-on learning when it captured a child’s passion. Congratulations!”

Computer screens as canvases for coding creativity

A common misconception about STEM subjects is that they lack inspiration - but we disagree. In fact, we think collaboration, creativity & curiosity are the three most critical ingredients in getting kids learning to code!

Ottawa-based instructor Terry recently led an art-themed workshop, where kids were painting pictures using their cursor. The combination of code and creativity delighted the class:

“We were building code for a paintbrush character (sprite) one block at a time: get it moving, turning, changing size. Pretty standard until we added a block to randomly change the colour of the paint - the gasps were audible! The kids loved painting with code, making custom sprites, and tweaking their random settings.”

For some artistic-minded kids, coding is the language to express their creativity. With smaller groups, instructors can adapt workshops to these kids. Dialling in from Halifax, Susan shared this story about one budding coder:

“I taught a kid who had a fair bit of experience with Scratch, so we would get through the basics of each project in about an hour, and then do extensions for the rest of the time. She had lots of ideas for how to extend her projects - her go-to would be to add sounds, and then I would suggest other fun things we could do.”

Want to see our instructors in action? Sign up for one of our virtual sessions here.

We are incredibly grateful to all of our sponsors who made it possible for us to reach so many kids and educators through digital learning spaces during lockdown. A huge thank you to SAP, Accenture, Google, and Ubisoft for their trust, funding, and unwavering support.