At Family Code Night, parents pair up with their children at an evening school event to do their first hour of coding, together.
the Family Code Night Event Kit ( a terrific updated version ) It features important enhancements: · Spanish Language Attendee Instructions for the Puzzles · A new "Big Ideas Contest" that wraps up the Evening · New Flyers & Handouts for Attendees ...and more!
Q. Do I need computer experience or need to know how to code to help put on a Family Code Night? A. Not at all! Even with no tech experience at all, you can be the Organizer, one of two roles detailed in the Family Code Night Event Kit, and in just a few hours time, you can plan, announce and manage your school’s Family Code Night. And even without coding experience, anyone with reasonable tech proficiency can be the Presenter (see next item).
Q. Can I be the Presenter if I don’t have coding experience? A. Yes! The script gives you all you need to say as you lead the Family Code Night experience. Be sure to prepare thoroughly of course. This includes doing the puzzles yourself beforehand as explained in the Event Kit. Go through the Script carefully, especially the “Tips” you’ll be giving every 3-6 puzzles during the evening. Also, we’ll be announcing Webinars and Google Hangouts to answer remaining questions you may have.
Q. How many families can attend Family Code Night? A. Any number can attend. Decide upon your maximum number of sign-ups based upon the size of your space, wifi support in the room, and available school and ‘brought-from-home’ computers. Remember one computer per PAIR of attendees, so 50 computers means 100 attendees. Limit sign ups to your max. And don’t forget to track how many will bring their computers (your SignUp.com signup list will give you this info).
Q. Can parents drop off their kids? A. No (though you can make your own rules of course). The point of Family Code Night is for young children to embark upon computer science learning with the support and participation of their parent or guardian. This is a major feature of the Event, as parents will leave with information on how to build from the Night’s experience both at home and at school.
Q. If the puzzles are self-paced, with each Pair going at their own speed, how do I time the “Tips”? A. Your Presenter’s Script includes important Tips to underscore the computer science concepts kids and parents are learning. As your Pairs get going on their puzzles, you’ll be circulating, answering questions, watching how everyone’s doing. As you do, you’ll see what puzzle number people are working on. Time your Tip presentations for when about half the room is on or beyond the puzzle number noted in the Tip. This way, for most the Tip is timed ideally, for a few it will usefully review a key concept they’ve just encountered, and for others it will be a preview of what they are about to do.
Q. How do I get everyone to stop the puzzle they’re working on and pay attention to the Tip? A. This is important: Pairs will be absorbed in the fun of their puzzles, but you need to break in and be sure to get everyone’s attention for about 1 minute for each tip (otherwise, you may get the same question from dozens of Pairs, which makes supporting everyone more difficult!). So, loudly instruct everyone to stop; tell them you need their full attention for just take 1 minute so you can give them a special “Tip” to explain the puzzles they’re working on. You can also try this time-tested teacher’s trick to get kids and adults attention: “ok everyone, everybody’s hands up! Now clap three times! 1, 2, 3. Now don’t touch the keyboard for 1 minute while I give you an important Tip!” Or some equivalent trick!
Q. Are 3-person “pairs” okay? A. Only in a pinch! A two-person team is ideal because each person is always engaged, either working the keyboard or helping decide what to do, and swapping roles after each puzzle. A third person can get left out of this process.
Q. What if kids in our school have already done the Hour of Code? A. That’s great! Those kids will be your best Code Coaches! Seek them out, they’ll be thrilled to be the “experts” roving the room to help their classmates. Give them Code Coach name tags and they’ll be even happier! (See next question, below.)
Q. What is the role of volunteer “Code Coaches”? A. You want to have informal Code Coaches circulating around the room. The puzzles are simple, and your Tips will answer most questions, but some Pairs will like or need personal help as well. Most often questions will be about using their computer (getting on wifi, making sure their browser is set to full screen to see the entire puzzle, turning up their sound so they can hear the great sound effects). But occasionally they’ll get stumped on a puzzle, and Coaches can help them out. Remember to send volunteers the Coaches Prep email, which suggests they run through the puzzles at home before the event. And give your Coaches name tags or lanyards so Pairs know they’re Coaches.
Q. How many coaches do we need? A. A coach for every 6-10 pairs is usually enough, but the more the merrier. If you do a good job with the Script and the Tips, there should not be too much Coaching required.
Q. How can we find a presenter? A. As noted, no coding experience is required to Present the Family Code Night program. Anyone with good presentation skills and decent technical proficiency (how to use a computer, browser, and wifi) will do great. That said, your school is bound to have at least a few parents or staff with stronger tech skills or even programming experience – it’s great to enlist these people as volunteers or Presenters, even to help plan the facilities and set up. It’s not required, but it can be fun and inspiring for the kids to have a “real programmer” in the room.
Q. How can we find volunteer coaches? A. In every school, there are some (usually more than ‘some’) kids, older siblings, parents and staff who love tech or have technology experience. Ask your school community (via your Family Code Night invitation, a newsletter, posters, or phone calls) for parents with tech or coding background, kids who have done Hour of Code before, or staff who know the auditorium and facilities. Any can be great volunteers to help coach, plan, or even Present the Family Code Night program.
Q. Can my Scout Group or Youth Group host a Family Code Night? A. By all means! Any group that can find the space, facility and volunteers for the Event is welcome to put on their own Family Code Night event.
Q. What are the most important things to remember for a successful Family Code Night? A. Family Code Night is great fun. You can avoid glitches by making sure you take care of these five things: Test the projector, sound system and screen with the exact computer the Presenter will be using, days in advance so if there are any problems you can take care of them; Test or confirm wifi capacity with school staff. You need adequate wifi for low-bandwidth access by the number of computers that will be at the Event (half the number of total attendees); encourage attendees to turn smart phones to ‘airplane mode’ to reduce wifi load in the room. Make sure the Presenter prepares by doing the puzzles and going over the Script carefully (especially the Tips!). Adapt for your own style, but include all the points in the Script! Have enough computers – you’ll need school or family ‘brought-from-home’ computers, laptops or tablets, one for every two people (100 participants, 50 devices) – your Event SignUp list using the SignUp.com event will tell you how many devices families are bringing – just add in available school computers, and limit attendance to your available devices and wifi. Have a few power strips at a table or two for laptops or devices that need power during the Event. Q. Where can I learn more? A. Get your Family Code Night Event Kit at the Home page.
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