Coding for All: Giving More Kiwi Kids the Opportunity to Be Tomorrow’s Tech Leaders.

November 10, 2023

School students work on coding projects as part of Code Club Aotearoa thanks to the charity, Digital Future Aotearoa.

Digital Future Aotearoa's Code Club breaks barriers, offering tamariki and rangatahi from all backgrounds access to computer programming education. Weekly coding sessions inspire young learners to unleash their creativity and build a foundation in tech.

Our partner charity, Digital Future Aotearoa (DFA), is a digital equity charity based in Otautahi Christchurch. They offer a range of programmes to help build foundations of digital capability. DFA’s largest and oldest initiative is Code Club Aotearoa.

Code Club ensures computer programming education is accessible to all Kiwi kids, regardless of financial, cultural, or geographical barriers. A successful club is made up of four key components: 

  1. A venue with Wi-Fi, usually a school, library, or community hub
  2. At least one volunteer and club leader
  3. Step-by-step coding resources
  4. Eager learners!

These 60 minute coding sessions take place across the country every week. They enable students like 11-year-old Anika to use their imaginations to create games, design websites code interactive stories, and much more.

Anika is a student at a South Auckland intermediate school. She attends Code Club each week with her younger brother, Jay. Anika and Jay both have a keen interest in programming. Jay and the rest of his cohort are using a visual programming language called Scratch to code. They learn by manipulating and moving blocks of code like puzzle pieces, instead of writing actual text. 

With the help of a volunteer, Anika has advanced to the text-based coding language called Python. She types out her code using  a specific computer language structure. Many commonly used apps and websites like Netflix and Spotify are built by programmers using Python.

DFA also runs the Recycle A Device (RAD) initiative which matches those who need a laptop with a donated and refurbished device. Code Club and RAD form a powerful partnership to create an even greater impact on Code Club students.

School students work on reviving digital devices as part of the RAD initiative.

Thanks to RAD, the volunteer at Anika’s club was able to send her home with a laptop, allowing her to pursue her passion for Python and develop her skills at hom. Anika has now progressed to a stage in her Code Club journey where she works alongside the volunteer to help other students with their projects when they get stuck. 

Code Club has a significant impact on young learners like Anika. The sessions provide access to digital resources for tamariki whose future depends on these fundamental digital skills. Many Code Club students may not otherwise have the opportunity to develop these necessary skills, or discover a passion for coding. Through their learning, students are inspired to consider a career in tech, strengthening the pipeline of student-to-volunteer-to-industry leader. This cycle of learning and mentorship helps to create a brighter future for all New Zealanders. 

Words and images supplied by Digital Future Aotearoa.

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