JUL 19

Coding for Everyone: How Your Library Can Help Anyone Learn to Code

A webinar introducing approaches, examples, and resources for library coding programs for a variety of audiences.

This event has passed.

Computer programming, or coding, is a digital literacy skill that has become as important as reading and writing. Learning to code builds rational thinking and problem-solving skills, providing powerful tools that transfer to other subjects and create lifelong learners. Libraries have stepped up to help everyone learn the basics of coding - preschoolers, elementary school kids, tweens, teens, young adults, mid-career professionals, and retirees. In this webinar, learn why coding is important for everyone. Hear examples of informal and facilitated learning approaches, resources and best practices for library coding programs for a variety of audiences. And the best news is that you don’t need any specialized training in computer programming yourself to run a successful program!

Presented by: Kelly Smith, Founder, Fiero Code

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Kelly provided these additional answers after the webinar, to questions shared in chat:

  • What would you recommend to help ages 8-12 learn javascript, HTML/CSS?

A lot of these kids will stick with Scratch for a while, so introduce javascript activities as a contest, or with a prize, OR for them to explore on their phones. Bitsbox and App Lab (does request that kids are 13+ to use) can be downloaded to your phone. Khan Academy has a Javascript curriculum. Much of this info is in the Code Club Resource Kit (pdf)

  • What software to create phone apps?

Bitsbox and App Lab are best starter ones. PhoneGap for teens and adults, designed to write code and then it ports it to Android/iOS. Also Thunkable. Apple just launching Swift Playgrounds, for learning to code using Swift which is new coding language for iPhone apps.

  • Do you feel teens can start at the levels you have listed in their age group even if they don't have the foundational experiences you list for the younger kids?

No, actually it's better to ramp them up starting with the earlier tools, but note that they’ll move more quickly through it. Codecademy and Free Code Camp have more age-appropriate materials for older beginners.

  • How do you facilitate a program when you don't have the knowledge to answer the kids' questions?

The biggest thing is your mindset. If you frame it such that you can always help them find the answer (like we do in library reference work!), you've got what you need. You can remind them that you are not a teacher…you’re learning with them!

  • We are in process to start a girls who code club- pros and cons?

Kelly shared that he chose not to create a girls club, because he had both boys and girls interested, and he wanted to be sure that everyone who was interested was welcome. BUT if you do think there are girls that are uncomfortable, you can try girls only. He finds that girls are often more engaged in the clubs he works with.


19 July 2016


3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Eastern Daylight Time, North America [UTC -4]



Webinar presenter Kelly Smith