Today I volunteered my time at a local CoderDojo as a Mentor. The basic premise of a CoderDojo is it’s a place where children between 7 and 17 can learn programming, robotics or basically any technology that might inspire them. The kids are called ‘ninjas’ whilst the program co-ordinators are known as champions, and people who help out in their area of expertise are the mentors.
What did we do?
There was around 10-15 kids there and an almost fifty percent split between boys and girls. Most of them were coding away on their laptops using Scratch. Some of them had pretty good little programs; games, stories and creative landscapes being the general theme. They also had a Makeblock robot which the kids could build into ten different configurations. It reminded me of the K’nex toys I had as a kid only way cooler.
Windows sucks… when licences expire
It was great to see that the library (where this dojo is housed) were
able to secure some retired laptops from the local government. But also
so painful to be a part of because they, as expected, were all Windows
based. Almost all had expired licences, missing product keys, or were
locked down with administrator access for which no password was
supplied. Thankfully, they will all now become the proud new emissaries
of linux - although one old laptop was struggling to run with Ubuntu 16.
Also, I tip my hat to those who donate to charitable causes such as CoderDojo and give away their old laptops. Especially in suburbs where being gifted a functional laptop can be like winning the lottery.
CoderDojo’s one rule: Be Cool!
Click the link for a few minute video that summarises the ethos and idea’s behind the program.