One of Empower's 20th anniversary donations is support for Koodikerho – The Code Club. The support enables many children to participate in the club and promotes children's programming skills in Finland. One club established in the Oulu area operates at Hailuoto Elementary School, where the class teacher Asko Heikura organizes the club to the youngest students of the school.
- I have no previous programming background, so I have been able to learn new things also myself. In my opinion, programming skills are part of every toolbox of the future, so it's been great to give kids a chance to try something new and to give a kick start to coding by teaching them the basic skills, Heikura says.
He has received support for learning new skills through a network of volunteers interested in programming education, coordinated by the Finnish Center for Open Systems (COSS). They have provided teachers with ready-made educational materials that serve as the base for the lessons to guide Code Clubs.
- With the help of ready-made materials, teaching has been easy and we have practiced programming in many different ways. Our school's interest in coding has been so great that we also established another teaching group during the school year, says Heikura.
During a single session, a few basic commands are always processed, which are practiced through a collaborative project like games and interactive exercises. During one class session, every student has time to code for example a game that they can play for the rest of the class. Many students have taken a greater interest in coding and they have continued with other coding projects at home in their spare time.
- It is rewarding to see an increasing enthusiasm for this topic and a growing understanding of programming skills at a young age. Coding is not just for boys, as almost half the participants have been girls. Programming skills also develop logical reasoning and problem solving skills, which are useful in other basic education as well, Heikura concludes.