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What is CoderDojo?
CoderDojo Metuchen began in February 2015 as an idea to get kids and teens together to help encourage them to learn about programming. It grew out of the guidance and inspiration provided by CoderDojo.
CoderDojo is a global volunteer-led community of free programming clubs for young people. These young people, between 7 and 17, learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and explore technology. In addition to learning to code, attendees meet like-minded people and get to show off what they’ve been working on.
There is a focus on community, peer learning, mentor and self-led learning with an emphasis on openness, helping others and showing how coding is a force for change in the world.
Most importantly CoderDojo is about encouraging creativity and having fun with technology in a social environment. CoderDojo makes development and learning to code a fun and sociable experience.
Should parents attend the event?
Yes, if you’re child is under 13 years old! All attendees of CoderDojo Metuchen sessions under 13 years must be accompanied by a parent.
Additionally, parents are encouraged to get involved and help out at the Dojo as volunteers.
Is CoderDojo suitable for my child?
The easiest way to find out is to give it a try. This is a new project for us and we welcome your feedback as we figure out what works best. Our aim is to make this a great place to get some good mentoring in programming that is suitable for all ages from 7 to 17.
What age range is CoderDojo for?
CoderDojo Metuchen is open to kids and teens from the age of 7 to 17.
Do you teach a set course, and when does the next course start?
The Dojo will run in such a way that children can join in at any stage. The structure is designed so that children can learn whether they are completely new or already know a lot.
A great way to find out what’s going on and what’s happening next is to check-out the Dojo’s Facebook page… 🙂
How big are the Dojo sessions?
Right now, we are planning for sessions to take up to 30 coding enthusiasts. All sessions will take place at the Metuchen Public Library in New Jersey.
Does my child need to already know code?
No. We are here to provide mentoring resources for anyone 7 – 17 years of age who wants to learn, or who wants to build on what they already know.
Part of the idea of CoderDojo is that children learn how to teach themselves, by having ideas, trying things on the computer, using online resources, and by teaching each other – with mentors there to help that happen.
As the community builds and everybody learns, one day your child might be the one who helps someone else to get started!
What does my child already need to know?
It’s good, but not necessary, for the child to already know a bit about using a computer (e.g., basics such as browsing the Internet or writing email).
What do I need to bring?
If possible, please bring a laptop to use for programming exercises. But if you don’t have one, we will do our best to provide one or help you share with someone who does.
Should I get my child a new/faster laptop to participate in CoderDojo? What kind?
Tablets, iPads, and smartphones aren’t suitable for learning programming. Laptops with tiny screens 13″ or smaller might be frustrating to use.
Whether it makes sense to get a new laptop depends on the child’s interest. Most of the coding going on in dojos does not need a high-spec laptop with fast graphics. Refurbished laptops that are a few years old will work perfectly well, and we can try to help you work around any problems getting started.
I don’t know anything about computers. Can I help?
Yes. There are many aspects of running the Dojo. The more parents help with making the Dojo work well, the more time mentors have for mentoring.
What topics do you teach? Is there a lesson plan?
This is a new project for us and we are going to have to figure out some things as we go. But we’ve got a lot of great ideas. We aren’t teachers, we are a group of committed and experienced technical professionals who want to help encourage young people to learn and enjoy the same kind of technology we enjoy doing at our day jobs.
We may provide mentoring and exercises which teach web development, programming in Scratch, Python and other languages. Some dojos do electronics projects, game development and app development.
There are endless possibilities, which is part of what makes software and programming so much fun!
The tools for doing all of this can be downloaded for free. How much actual teaching and how much mentoring and whether there is a lesson plan varies from dojo to dojo. For Metuchen CoderDojo, we will do our best to try out our ideas, see what works well, and incorporate your feedback as we go.
More questions, suggestions, feedback? Let us know!