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What is CoderDojo?

Learn what CoderDojo is and get your first look at a Dojo in action!
Too much structure and rigid organisation can stifle creativity. Most Dojos have a feel of organised chaos that’s an energetic blend of creativity, experimentation, and learner-led skill development. We went along to the first class,
and I thought I wasn’t really interested at first: I thought it might just be something where you had to do this and do that, but it was actually really fun and I coded a few things for the first time.
It’s really fun CoderDojo because, like, you meet loads of friends and all. And then, like, sometimes you can do teamwork and all, but then sometimes you can make your own projects and it’s really fun. At a Dojo, attendees learn by working on projects in an informal atmosphere. This includes talking among themselves and working together. Chatting and making friends is encouraged. Mentors help out when attendees can’t find the solution on their own or with the help of their peers. I know that we’re working with technology, and you might feel that you need to be a tech whizz to come and set up a Dojo or mentoring a Dojo. That’s absolutely not the case. We are all pretty much the same.
The only difference that we have from the kids is that we can mentor them. As long as you can drive the kids through the steps and teach them how to learn and be self-sufficient, that’s all you need.
CoderDojo is a global movement of free, open coding clubs (Dojos) for young people aged 7 to 17 (Ninjas), where they can explore technology with the support of their fellow Ninjas and volunteer mentors. CoderDojo’s mission is to give young people around the world the opportunity to learn to code in a social and safe environment.
I first started coding when I was eight, but I didn’t do much with that knowledge until I was sixteen, because nobody else I knew was interested in it. For young people, having a CoderDojo as a place to come together and share their passion for technology is great: it’s a way to sustain that passion and develop skills by working together on projects that interest them.
“A Dojo provides a unique, informal, and collaborative environment for our youth to learn to code for free and interact with tech professionals. It benefits the kids, the mentors, and the parents, and it ensures that there is a safe, fun place for young people to be exposed to coding and tech skills, whether they choose to specialise in it or not. It is a wonderful service to the community and our youth, so I would highly encourage anyone to set up one of their own.”
Garima Singh, Dojo champion, Round Rock, Texas, USA

The story of CoderDojo

The movement was founded by James Whelton and Bill Liao. James was an 18-year-old coder who was running a coding club in his school, and Bill was an entrepreneur and philanthropist who saw the positive impact James was having and wanted to grow his project. Working together, they founded CoderDojo and ran the first Dojo on 23 July 2011 in Co. Cork, Ireland. This Dojo is still running, and it’s actually the one Ina is attending today!
Now, ten years later, CoderDojo’s open-source model has helped the movement spread around the world: there are more than 2000 Dojos spread across 110 countries, and people start new Dojos every day!
In what way has learning in a group been beneficial to you in the past? What skills has it helped you develop?
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