Rob Curran (Wilmslow CoderDojo Champion and England Ambassador for CoderDojo)
Being a CoderDojo “Champion” means that I happen to be somebody who is so keen to support my local community and the development of digital skills in our children that I voluntarily set up and run some of the hopefully most inspirational settings (Dojos) for helping kids (Ninjas!) learn how to code.
To be absolutely honest most Dojos are simply there to allow a bunch of kids, their parents, and some willing volunteers to have some seemingly chaotic fun – usually in a deliberately “non-school” setting – whilst learning to develop tech-based projects and in doing so develop some wider life skills.
Most Dojo Champions would tell you that there are 3 key ingredients needed to get a Dojo up and running; space, power, and connectivity. Once you’ve got those then all you really need is a date to get going and some willing volunteers …
Having had the privilege of running a mini-Dojo at the recent CodeGreen event at Clapham Library – “mini” because we had a handful of novice coder librarians but still a “Dojo” since a whole load of learning took place – I’ve think we’ve now identified a 4th ingredient to add to the magic startup recipe; passion!
So libraries are definitely good as spaces. They tend to be at the hub of a local community and range from the traditional view of what a library might look like, right through to funky spiral architecture with a sense of fun and a load of noise! Regardless, libraries are also almost all blessed with power and increasingly good connectivity – and if not yet then most soon will have.
So there are 3 ticks in our boxes for the logistics of setting up a regular CoderDojo session where kids and parents can come along and explore what this wonderful world of “coding” and “tinkering” and “digital making” is all about.
But in addition to that, and from what I’ve seen so far, libraries are also staffed by incredibly enthusiastic and passionate people who are proud of the services they can offer and who are keen to embrace the changes in our increasingly tech-powered world. If this 4th ingredient brings a new flavor to our search for some tech-inspiring magic and feeding our appetite for learning then it looks like it’s there in abundance. So here’s a call to all librarians … grab a laptop, grab one of those great coding books we know you’ve got on those shelves, get onto the UKSCL Code Green website … and get started!
CoderDojo is a global movement of free, volunteer led, community based programming clubs for young people. At a Dojo, young people, between 7 and 17, learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and explore technology in an informal and creative environment. Within the CoderDojo Movement there is a focus on community, peer learning, youth mentoring and self led learning, with an emphasis on showing how coding is a force for change in the world. Find out more at: https://coderdojo.com