GUIDE ON HOW TO START A 0GRAVITY CODING CLUB

Starting a new 0Gravity Coding Club is simple. It starts with the host company agreeing to incubate a coding club either at their premises or at any other facility (like a school) which will provide basic computer lab infrastructure. Providing children with the real-world experience of a corporate training facility is preferred, which makes it really exciting for the children and the volunteers, but not a mandatory requirement.

 

PROGRAMS OR WORKSHOPS

Select a program you want to offer to children
Please select a program or workshop you will like to offer to children. There is no fixed curriculum or set of courses, but the ones we have currently delivered include:
– HTML, CSS, Javascript and Web Design [3 months – 12 weekend *2 hours program]
– Solving Analytical Problems using Python [3 months – 12 weekend *2 hours program]

Other programs that can be offered to children include:
– Learning Logic through Scratch
– Microsoft Tools [Word, Powerpoint and Basics of Excel]

Many firms already have training modules for their employee trainings; and thus they choose to create their own custom curriculum. At 0Gravity, we don’t have any specific requirements on the exact curriculum that the coding club should pursue. The whole idea is to make a fun and free environment for children to pick up this life skill. There is no test at the conclusion of the workshop, although the volunteers may decide to use a final project to bring in the concepts and topics covered during the course of the training.

Length of a workshop
The typical length of our free workshops is 12 weeks, spread over 3 months, on the weekends. Each weekend the volunteers and the children meet for a couple of hours in a fun and an open environment. Each session starts with revision of the last class, new material for the current session and then a lot of coding time with examples for children. The host company can decide to tailor make or customize the workshop as per their goals.

How will children be recognized at the end of the workshop?
The children will receive a participation certificate towards the end of the workshop. The certificate will be given jointly by the underlying company and 0Gravity, although it is optional.

Children

Selecting children for the coding club
We want to provide easy access to children to participate in 0Gravity coding club. Thus,there are no entrance exams nor a requirement to have specific marks in your previous grades. We strongly believe that coding is a life skill and we want to provide equal opportunity to all children. The selection of kids will be dependent on the number of kids that can be accommodated in a coding club based on the available infrastructure and number of volunteers available for a specific club.

The children can be from the families from the host company employees, community schools and NGOs. An integrated environment of children from different backgrounds, schools and exposures will help to uplift all and provide non-linear peer learning opportunities to children. The host company should aim to have at least 25% of the class to be comprised of underprivileged children.

Based on our experience, providing instructions and training to children in one language is easier than having kids who may need instructions in different languages. So, please decide on the language in which you will provide instructions and select the kids accordingly.

How will the children register to participate in the coding club?
For each coding club, we will create a customized registration page at 0Gravity.org and provide easy facility to register on the website. Our goal is to keep the registration process really simple for children and parents. The parents of the child or the child can register on the website providing very basic data. As the registrations keep coming, we will share information with the host company and volunteers on periodic basis or per registration (based on the preference of the host company).

We will send acknowledgement confirming the registration to each child or parent. Upon the final confirmation from the host company on the selection of the candidates to participate in the coding club, we will send them a confirmation email. For the children who are not able to get a seat at the time of registration, we will keep their data so that we can invite them in future workshops.

Number of children per coding club (or per workshop)
We recommend that there be at least 10 children supported by a minimum of 2 volunteers in each workshop. Peer learning is a key goal of 0Gravity and providing an opportunity for kids to interact with each other during the workshop will enhance their learning experience. The goal of the host company should be to maintain a 5:1 kids to volunteer ratio in order for the kids to get the right attention and time from during the workshops in a personalized fashion.

You may want to strive to create a class that brings in boys and girls in equal proportion, if possible. Children should be in the age group 10 – 16 years old. Look to create a club that has children across different grades, but close enough – like grades 6 – 8 or grades 8 – 10.

VOLUNTEERS

How to select volunteers for the coding club?
The volunteers are typically from the host company, but the host company or the instance of the coding club can decide to open up the volunteering opportunities for other professionals. There are many volunteering opportunities, including for parents of the children, to contribute to the promotion, technical training and logistics management of the coding club. For volunteers who take on the responsibility of coding classes, i.e. technical training, they should abreast with the content and subject.

How many volunteers will you need?
We strongly recommend 5:1 ratio for children to volunteers for technical coding workshops. To facilitate the registration, logistics and other aspects of the coding club, you may need 1-2 additional volunteers. Parents should be welcome to assist in technical or non-technical facets of running the coding club to the extent they are helping all the children.

What is in for the volunteers?
The host company needs to select volunteers based on their interest and passion to teach the next generation children of our country. The host company typically will align the program with their CSR program, so the volunteers should be given recognition by the company towards this cause. We will also optionally issue certificates in conjunction with the host company recognizing the work of the volunteers and their contributions. Most importantly, the volunteers will get a chance to give back to the society.

PROMOTING THE CLUB

How to promote the coding club so that children can register?
It is easy to promote your coding club by partnering with local communities, schools and NGOs. Taking your input, 0Gravity will provide customized promotional material for your coding club. We will also partner with the local media to get the word out so that we create a deeper awareness about the program and create opportunities for kids. The host company should additionally use their corporate training and CSR channels to promote the coding club. Since the coding club should also be open to the children of host company employees, the company may decide to promote the club via internal emails and promotional artifacts. It will also help rally up many volunteers from the company.