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Old 02-04-2018, 05:19 PM
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viscousmemories viscousmemories is offline
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Austin, TX
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Default CoderDojo

When I was working in Atlanta a couple years ago, one of the developers I worked with invited me to be a mentor at a CoderDojo he 'championed'. I did it a couple times and enjoyed it, so about six months ago I decided to start one here in Austin.

The whole spirit of CoderDojo is about providing a safe, casual environment where kids who are interested in learning to code can work with, help and/or learn from other like-minded kids. It's a cool concept on paper.

Unfortunately most of what I've seen so far is parents who think learning to code would be beneficial to their kids bringing them in for what they believe to be a free programming class, then never coming back once they realize that isn't exactly what CoderDojo is about. So even on the occasions when we get kids who are interested, they don't want to come back because a) there aren't any other kids there, b) the other kids who are there are a different age/experience level, or c) they're just not interested enough to be self-directed.

Anyway I haven't given up yet, but I'm getting close. Many weeks the only kids who attend are the children of the woman who manages the facility where we hold the event, and they're not getting a lot out of it.

On the bright side, said woman has scheduled a book launch party to overlap with our dojo in a couple weeks and we expect there to be a lot of curious parents and children in attendance. But now I'm anxious to figure out ways to capture their interest; specifically projects they can work on.

Very little kids seem to be content with Scratch, but even then they tend to focus more on the drawing and playing with sounds then they do with the coding part of the exercises. Most of the other kids just want to build video games right out of the gate without having to learn any of the boring stuff.

Every single kid of every age is obsessed with Minecraft, but modding Minecraft means learning Java, and who would do that to a kid?

Anyway, there are a fair amount of resources/suggestions/etc for things to do on the CoderDojo website but so far I haven't found the magic bullet. So now I turn to you, the good people of :ff:, to ask for help.
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