Together with three other volunteers I run a Code Club for teaching New Zealand year 5 and 6 students (9-10 years old) to code. We have up to 23 students coming this term once a week after school. Luckily I was chosen to be one of the winners of the Great micro:bit Education Giveaway, so during the school holidays I got delivery of 10 shiny new micro:bits that we are going to use this term:

micro:bit Club pack

And thanks to the nice people at element14 I also got a dancing robot (my kids loved it):

Dancing robot

I thought I'd describe the equipment we are using to run this club; perhaps it may be of some help to others who are thinking of setting up something similar!

 

The school owns a few laptops / tablets per class and students are able to bring their own computers. Most of the students bring in a Chromebook, which works great with the micro:bit (using Chrome). For those who don't have one (or forget their charger that day ) we have five laptops the school was donated. They initially had Windows set up on them but with the permission of the school I was able to reinstall them with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Being able to install our own software has been super helpful as it allowed us to set them up to automatically log in (no confusion with passwords) and only have the software we wanted (Chrome and nothing else to distract). They are faster and more reliable than when they ran Windows and Ubuntu is free of charge so this was a great solution to get the most out of some old hardware.

Access Point and laptop.

You may also recognise the white box beside the laptop. We had issues with the quality of the WiFi coverage at the school and we found computers couldn't connect to eachother. To solve this I asked around friends and family if they had an old ISP provided "modem" lying around in their house. With a bit of configuration (and the school approval) I re-configured it to act as a WiFi access point. This meant we could plug it into the Ethernet and give everyone reliable network access with our own WiFi password. The access point is only powered on during the club.

 

The final piece of hardware is chairs! We run the club in the combined library / staff room. I was initially concerned there weren't enough tables for the kids to work on but what we've found that works well is lots of chairs. The kids like to work with the laptops in their laps and rearrange the chairs as necessary.

Library

I hope this helps anyone who is looking to set up something like this. One of the great things about the micro:bit is you don't need a lot of equipment to get coding!