Just this past Saturday, I was able to attend my first ever CoderDojo event hosted by Call-Em-All's software engineering team at our office in Frisco, Texas. As one of the newest members of the marketing team, my skill level for coding is, well, very minimal. However, my appreciation for coders and their passion for problem-solving, inquisitive minds, and confidence around a computer is substantial. Regardless, I was very eager to be able to meet the participants and see them get creative, as well as understand their interests and sources of inspiration.
WHAT IS CODERDOJO?
The free, volunteer-led event is held every other Saturday and is an exploration of coding and computers for young people, or "ninjas." We believe that an understanding of programming languages is increasingly important in the modern world and is both better and easier to learn these skill earlier. Kids aged 6-18 can participate and engage with technology in an informal, creative, and social environment.
WHY DOES CALL-EM-ALL HOST THE EVENT?
Started in June 2016, Call-Em-All's founder, Hai Nguyen, wanted to start a CoderDojo as a way to give back to the tech community. He wanted to provide a platform which will help the youth to learn and "test out the waters" of the technology world. Initially, every ninja starts their learning with Scratch as a way to begin understanding programming concepts. It helps them discover what they like and want to pursue.
WHAT ARE THEY BUILDING?
WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR THE YOUNG CODERS?
Free Food. You know, pizza, bagels, etc. Jokes aside, the event is successful because it's an opportunity for the kids to show off their skills and teach one another. CoderDojo Foundation lays down simple rules for the kids to work with. There is only one rule: Be Cool and Ask Three than me being two of them. It implies that the kids collaborate to solve each others' problems without being 'uncool' about it. Basically, the kids should ask at least three of their friends with any questions before asking a mentor. When kids work in groups to build something together, they inspire each other and create a positive environment in which it is okay to explore what areas of tech interests them.