On Saturday 19th September, I attended a different type of event – a CoderDojo hosted at the Central Institute of Technology. It was being run by someone I have been in contact with recently, who invited me along to the event.
What I saw was incredible. The talent of some of the children today, aged between 7-17, as they use programs to help them develop computer games and code for web applications. For children who deviate from the norm; in terms of maybe they are not sports or music like I wasn’t as a child, this gives them the ability to do something they are more passionate about.
As our lives become increasingly overrun with technology, children are increasingly exposed, and the Coderdojo gives them the ability to learn something new. A number of children were starting on an application called Scratch – developed by MIT.
Scratch has a great concept of prebuilt code to help the children learn, which they can drag and drop to then help simulate what they are wanting to do.
Moving on from Scratch the next level is to Codecademy. Code Academy is another great tool as things can be built in sandboxes meaning they don’t do anything outside of what they are built in. Codecademy is similar to Code.org which has been backed by Facebook and Bill Gates.
Why do I think this is good? Simply allowing children to do extra learning like this will help better their future. Fundamentally the more we introduce technology into our lives the more we will need programs and applications developed. Children getting a grasp of this from an early age means they are helping shape their career.
From a recruitment perspective there are fundamental skill shortages in regards to programmers and this children are shaping up to be the next level of talent.
Coderdojo’s are run free of charge and people are allowed on a sign up basis. Coderdojo’s also have a large waiting list (over 800) of people wanting to attend. If you have space, including computers that people could use to help put on more dojos, I am sure the team at Coderdojo would be more than happy to hear about it, in order to help more people attend.
For more information please see http://www.coderdojowa.org.au/ and maybe see how you could help support your local dojo. They actively seek new venues, and mentors – so if you have a coding background you could help out. If you are interested in having your children attend one you can also get in touch and as a parent you can go along too. The Coderdojo program is a global initative.