What is CoderDojo?
CoderDojo is a volunteer led movement orientated around running regular and free coding clubs for young people.
At the Brighton Dojo, young people between 6 and 16 can learn how to code and apply their existing skills to develop websites, apps, programs, games and more. In addition to learning to code, members meet like minded people, have the chance to work on group projects, and get to show off what they’ve been working on. CoderDojo makes programming and learning to code a fun, sociable, kick ass experience.
CoderDojo Brighton is run entirely by volunteers, and we have a collection of mentors from the local software development and digital media industries who love sharing their knowledge and experience. Unlike other coding clubs, there is no curriculum at CoderDojo: members choose what they work on and can follow their own interests, with our mentors on hand to help with any questions.
CoderDojo also puts a strong emphasis on open source and free software, and has a strong network of members and volunteers globally. CoderDojo has just one rule: “Above All: Be Cool” – bullying, lying, wasting people’s time and so on is uncool.
A bit of history
CoderDojo is a non profit global movement founded by James Whelton and Bill Liao in Cork, Ireland.
It was first started in James Whelton’s school in early 2011 when James received some publicity after hacking the iPod Nano and some younger students expressed an interest in learning how to code. He setup a computer club in his school (PBC Cork) where he started teaching basic HTML and CSS. Later that year he met Bill Liao, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, who was interested in growing the project into something bigger.
In June 2011 the first CoderDojo was launched in the National Software Centre in Cork, which saw extreme success. The Cork Dojo saw people travelling from Dublin frequently to attend sessions. Owing to this popularity a Dublin Dojo was launched soon after in Google’s Montevetro building. By making the movement open source it has led to hundreds of dedicated champions setting up more Dojos around Ireland and subsequently around the world.
CoderDojo Brighton was launched on Thursday 17th September 2013 at St Paul’s Primary School, Brighton with years 3 & 4, with one of the global founders of CoderDojo, Bill Liao. We were assisted and owe gratitude to the Brighton Japan Festival for supporting our launch, and the Brighton Digital Festival for including this event in their 2013 programme. CoderDojo Brighton then moved to the Creativity Suite of the University of Brighton for its first session on Saturday 21st September. We are also indebted to the University of Brighton for encouraging us to use their wonderful premises.
CoderDojo Brighton is organised and run by volunteers: ‘champions’, who organise the events and do the admin; and the really important ones, the ‘mentors’ who are programmers. We are not formed into a company and do not have a bank account.
We are encouraging all our mentors to become STEM Ambassadors, which includes DBS accreditation for working with young people.