Blog Article

A global movement of free coding clubs for young people

A global movement of free coding clubs for young people

January 30 2015

By Charlotte Knight
  • Education

With thanks to Mary Moloney, Global CEO of CoderDojo, for writing this blog post.

CoderDojo is an open source, global volunteer led community, of free of charge coding clubs for young people. CoderDojo clubs (Dojos) run all over the world on a weekly basis, giving young people between the ages of 7 and 17 the opportunity to learn how to develop computer code, websites, apps, programs, games, digital media and to explore technology in a meaningful & empowering way. 

In addition to technology skills, all participants, both young people and the adults that accompany them, enjoy the opportunity of being involved in a highly social community and experience a fun, collaborative, high energy learning environment. Young people also build complementary skills of creativity, innovation, communication, collaboration, team work and leadership.

The CoderDojo movement was founded by James Whelton and Bill Liao. It all started in James Whelton’s school in early 2011 when James (then 18 year-old coder) received some publicity after hacking the iPod Nano and as a result some younger students expressed an interest in learning how to code. He set up a computer club in his school (PBC Cork) where he started teaching students basic HTML and CSS. Later that year he met Bill Liao, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, who was interested in growing the project into something bigger.

In June 2011 the first CoderDojo was launched in the National Software Centre in Cork which saw extreme success. The Cork Dojo even saw people travelling from Dublin frequently to attend sessions. Owing to this popularity a Dublin Dojo was launched soon after.
Since 2011, hundreds of dedicated Champions have been starting up more Dojos, firstly in Ireland and then around the world. The CoderDojo movement has even grown to become a Global phenomenon. As of January 2015 there are over 550+ verified Dojos in 55 countries with this number growing every day.

CoderDojo is truly based on a club model; young people (supported by adults) spend time together in a safe, collaborative learning environment where they self direct their own learning while supporting each other in developing coding and technology skills. Within CoderDojo there is a focus on developing creativity, a sense of community, peer learning, mentoring and self led learning with an emphasis on openness and showing how coding can be a force to deliver positive change. Dojos are built on community spirit, which encourages all involved to collaborate and learn from each other. ‘’For me CoderDojo is the place where young people can learn to be creative’’ Werner Vogles, CTO Amazon.

CoderDojo is also a truly networked and connected global community, all involved are very supportive of each other and encourage sharing of learning and co-working in a borderless way.

At CoderDojo we encourage all of our participants to explore coding related content, services and tools outside of our own repository of content. It was great to see Codecademy featured in the 2014 NT100 as well, as it provides great resources used frequently by the members of our Global Community: all the way from beginners building interactive websites to the more advanced Coders developing skills in Python or etc. Codecademy's content is always noted for its accessibility, ease of use and high quality.

It was also inspiring to see Minecraft Edu on the last year’s NT100 list, as we believe that learning through your interests is of critical importance when engaging youth. Minecraft is extremely popular across the entire demographic of CoderDojo attendees. We know of Dojos globally that have used Minecraft EDU software to learn through gaming to outstanding success!

Our vision is a world where every child and young person has the opportunity to build technology skills, learn to code and to be creative in a safe and social environment. Empowering and opening up opportunities to young people is at the core of what we do.

Our volunteers are heroes, they give their time and resources generously to enable and empower the next generation. Our kids and young people are amazing, what they achieve on a weekly basis is incredible, they are truly changing their own lives and in many cases helping to change the world already.

Mary is the Global CEO of CoderDojo, with responsibility for all of CoderDojo’s Operations and for delivering growth worldwide. CoderDojo currently operates 550 free of charge coding clubs in 56 countries around the world reaching approximately 35,000 kids & young people aged from 7 to 17 on a weekly basis.

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