A CoderDojo is a global movement of free, volunteer-led and community-based coding and digital making meetups for youth. Students visiting a Dojo can learn to code, build a website, create an app or a game, program a robot, create media or simply explore technology in a less-structured, creative and social environment.
In July 2011, the first CoderDojo was launched at the National Software Centre in Cork, Ireland. The inaugural sessions were immensely popular, with people traveling from as far away as Dublin on a regular basis to attend. Due to making the Dojo format open source, a global phenomenon started with thousands of dedicated champions and mentors setting up Dojos across the world. Today there are more than 2,100 Dojos in 93 countries, with new Dojos starting almost every day. Visit coderdojo.com for more information.
The CoderDojo Ethos
CoderDojo participation is always free and open to all
CoderDojos are always 100% free for those attending and their parents. A CoderDojo does not discriminate based on gender, race, religion, culture or sexual orientation.
CoderDojos are open source
A CoderDojo will be a place where everyone is free to share and contribute to building an awesome social space for everyone participating. We not only encourage the use of open source software to learn, but the CoderDojo model itself is open source and community driven, allowing the autonomous nature of each individual local Dojo to feed back into the community and evolve it’s growth.
CoderDojos encourage collaborative creativity through peer mentoring
Different people have different strengths and this is the benefit of collaborating together and working in groups or teams. At a CoderDojo, young people of different abilities are encouraged to work together on projects and to learn from and mentor each other.
CoderDojos facilitate discovery learning through project work
Instead of focusing on a curriculum model, a CoderDojo encourages that, once a student has learned the basics of coding, he/she can then focus attention on creating projects of interest and presenting their work to their Dojo. This method is much more conducive for successful and enjoyable learning than a strict curriculum path. CoderDojos focus on project work which allows young people to motivate themselves towards finding the necessary solutions to their problems, just like actual computer programmers!
Projects focused on coding as a tool for positive change
CoderDojos encourage young people to see coding as a force for good in the world and to develop projects with their new found skills that can have a positive impact. Dojo attendees often develop apps, websites and games around themes such as bullying, environmental activism, aiding underserved groups in their communities and educational games and resources.
Youth participation and mentoring makes the Dojo
We desire youth to grow and be given responsibility as youth mentors in the Dojo as soon as is reasonable. One way of enabling this is to let young people who have mastered the basics give back to their Dojo by mentoring new students.
Parents participate and pitch in!
As CoderDojo founder Bill Liao often says, “CoderDojo is free, but it’s not a free ride!” Most parents or guardians are asked to stay for the duration of the Dojo and are encouraged to help out in anyway they can. If the adult doesn’t have any programming or technical skills, parents are encouraged to help out doing other tasks such as helping with registration, check in, social media or even other local outreach activities. Additionally, parents and guardians are asked to keep fingers off the keyboards in order to enable students’ full creative freedom and learning potential.