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All Creative Computer Club Resources created by Matthew C. Applegate are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Please note that some of these resources also contain images of software that is protected by copyright and are used under special agreement with these software companies, they are therefore are not covered by the Creative Commons License. The text is free to download, use, edit and redistribute, the images are free to download and use as is, unfortunately they are not available to edit and redistribute. You can find the resources page here.←

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


I am a bit upset, the successful after-school computer club I run has been turned down for funding, again (4th time), it is apparently too exclusive and only for the students I teach.

I teach kids, adults and teachers creative computing (programming, game design, animation, sound and electronics) all over the UK for both public and private companies, but this is what I do in Suffolk, for Suffolk (but if you can make it to the sessions and live outside of Suffolk that is ok too).

Earlier this year we were able to raise a £1000 pounds through and get sponsors like YoYo Games, O'Reilly, Rapid Electronics, I Love Electronics, and Young Rewired State. This gave us enough funds to buy the insurance, electronic components, the LEGO and the animation cameras we needed to run the 8 week pilot course. It was a success, it was picked up by the BBC Radio and within hours we had a waiting list. We went from 8 kids to 20, and we now have a waiting list of over 80 kids. Kids are simply cueing to get in to these lessons.

We needed to expand, so I contacted a school I have worked with locally and cut a deal whereby I would come in and teach every now and then for free and they would let me use the room after school for the computer club. And it is perfect, it is safe, warm, well lit and it has computers that work, which now means students who don't have a laptop can also join in, making it more inclusive.

It is a success, so much so the parents have asked for schedule so they can plan their holidays around the club, students rarely miss a session and some travel up to 40 minutes to get to the one and a half hour sessions because they enjoy them so much. Feedback from the parents and teachers has shown me the work they do in the club impacts positively both on their school work and their sociability, with some of the quietest introverted students suddenly becoming mentors and helping others. Many of the students are now taking pride in their work because they can see their school work in more of a context of things they are interested in. Maths is now cool, we don't say that, but we know if we learn more about it our games, our robots, or hardware will become better.

These students are being prepared to be creative with computers these are the makers of the future, they are well beyond ICT/IT or whatever you want to call it, their level of understanding computers has taken them to the point of designing and thinking about prototyping new hardware. Making games instead of playing them all day, being creators of technology instead of just consumers of technology.

What the hell is it I am doing wrong? Why is something that is so successful and showing positive results, constantly being refused funding?

I don't want to charge the parents, I want it to be as inclusive as possible and many have to travel quite far to get to the sessions as it is.

These 90 minute sessions have to be explosive, they have to be fantastic, they have to be so good that the students are so enthusiastic about them that they interested enough to take part and they take a lot of planning. As it is, I have to give up Tuesdays (my entire Tuesday 8am to 8pm) to prepare and organize the club, and this is unpaid work.  I don't mind that, but having a some funding would mean I could do more, take time off to plan out more of the club, fill out more ridiculously huge funding applications.

In addition to this I am planning to set up 7 to 11-year-old computing club because, THERE IS A NEED FOR IT, so things are about to get even more hectic very shortly, but that is ok, because I know it is the right thing to do.

This year we plan to launch a weather balloon and collect data, and do a few fields trips to technology based companies to see the things they are learning and interested in, in action. I don't know how but I know we will.

I just don't know what I am doing wrong. If you do, please let me know.

***EDIT January 6th, 2013***

I have now setup a Paypal donate button in the right hand sidebar, anything you can donate will be greatly received to help these kids keep doing these sessions.

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