Friday 1:40 p.m.–2:25 p.m.

The Young Coder: Let's Learn Python (or, 'So, You Want to Run a Young Coders Class')

Barbara Shaurette, Katie Cunningham

Audience level:


Since PyCon 2013, interest in the Young Coders class has intensified. Several Python conferences have run their own, and classes outside of conferences - from one-time workshops to after school clubs - have sprung up as well. With more people than ever interested in teaching Python to kids, we're here to address how to organize a class. It takes some effort to set up, but the payoff is enormous.


At 2013's PyCon, the kids stole the show. The Young Coder's workshop, comprised of two 1-day workshops, helped dozens of young and aspiring programmers explore Python for the first time. The teaching materials we used were the same on both days - the same open-ended curriculum worked with varying degrees of success for kids from 10 to 16 years old. The students worked on Raspberry Pis (which they were allowed to keep after the class). We also sent them home with books so that they could continue learning the way so many programmers do: hacking on their own. Since then, Young Coder classes have sprung up at regional and national Python conferences, organized by local user groups around the country, and some put on by individuals who want to see kids in their communities take their first steps in programming. These classes don't quite come together on their own, but with a little bit of effort anyone can do it. This talk aims to go into detail about how to wrangle the supplies and people you'll need to get it done, along with all the little details that will ensure a class goes smoothly. We'll also talk about the most important part of any class - teaching the kids! You'll learn a few strategies for keeping kids engaged and sparking their imaginations so that they get excited about learning more.