For any visionary, dreamer or hapless idiot trying to drive societal change, there can be few things more vindicating than the sight of school-age kids teaching adults how to do things. I wandered into our Raspberry Jam event on Saturday and felt the status bar on my Hope Drive stretch out a little, maybe from orange into green. Raspberry Jams are open to anyone and this time we had people from zero years-old (yes, actually) up to, well, I wouldn’t like to say but put it this way: they’d remember Belfast before The Troubles.
This time the regular Farset crowd got a big boost by having the running of the event taken off our hands by the irrepressible AndrewMulholland, who finds time amidst schoolwork to make and teach technology (we hear his latest project with his school robotics club is a cardboard quadcopter; turns out the sky isn’t the limit!). Andrew is one of a line of Dalriada acolytes to find their way to Farset somehow, setting a high bar for the involvement of NI’s schools in the maker revolution.
UPDATE: This post is now very old and is possibly out of date, see here for the latest CoderDojo Updates
Farset Labs is playing host to the Weavers Court CoderDojo, kicking things off with a ‘soft launch’ next Thursday the 21st from 17:30-20:00. With mentors (and kids) hopefully coming from all over the park and from the community of Sandy Row, we think that this will be a great addition to our growing outreach activities.
We’ll be running the Dojo on the First and Third Thursday’s of the month (we know this makes for a strange end-of-May, but it’s the lesser of two evils…)
CoderDojo is a movement orientated around running free not-for-profit coding clubs and regular sessions for young people.
At a CoderDojo, young people learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and more. Dojos are set up, run by and taught at by volunteers. In addition to learning to code, members meet like minded people, show off what they’ve been working on and so on. CoderDojo makes development and learning to code a fun, sociable, kick ass experience.
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.
It also provides essential teaching and mentorship experience for budding software developers; after all, to teach is to learn twice! And you don’t have to be a hardcore code-hacker to mentor; anyone can help to guide these kids through the processes of problem solving, breaking down tasks, thinking in a stepwise fashion, or just picking out the killer-spelling-mistakes like variable names or missing semi-colons!
CoderDojo is aimed loosely at the under 18’s, but any child younger than 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian
What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?
We’re 5 minutes walk from Europa Bus Centre, and Parking is available all across the Weavers Court Campus
What should I bring to the event?
We don’t have the resources available to provide everyone with a machine, so if you can help us out by bringing your own device, be it laptop/tablet/smartphone, that’d be great.
I can’t make it, what can I do to help?
If you can’t make it to our Dojo, consider some of the other Dojos in Northern Ireland, like at BMC in Belfast, Ballymena, or the brand new Dojo in Newry.
If you just want to support our event here at Farset Labs, please consider making a donation to the charity and mention in your donation that you wish it to go to fund refreshments, resources, materials, and equipment for the Dojo.
This is going to sound old hat, but here at Farset, we’re all about cultivating an environment where the next generation of technologists can come into their own, but as the old saying goes, to teach is to learn twice.
That’s why we are always encouraging not only peer-teaching within the space and at Farset events, but also try and encourage our members to take part in STEM outreach to local schools.
I bet they didn’t (obviously replace those with temporally relevant technologies…).
As an aside, we’re trying to find someone to fund travel expenses for such outreach, because we definitely can’t! But if you’re free at any of the listed times, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or the listed contact points on the wiki and give back to the education system.