CoderDojo

Promoters: 
James Welthon.
Country: 
Ireland
A global community of free, open, volunteer-led, local programming clubs for children and young people aged 7-17 to explore technology in an informal, collaborative, practical, creative and social environment.
What solution does the innovation propose?

Change in technology moves so fast that schools and universities are incapable of keeping pace and have a limited ability to keep up with a field that is defining the present and future of work. Children and young people have no access to systemic educational tools to learn how technology works or to create it themselves.

The movement believes that an understanding of programming languages is increasingly important in the modern world, that everyone should have the right to learn these skills, and that these should be acquired as early as possible. Through peer-learning, youth mentoring and self-led learning, children are equipped with skills and exposed proactively to the creative possibilities of technology. Additionally, children are not only skilled, but prone to teaching others and promote collaboration contributing to create a more open and accepting atmosphere, especially for those traditionally excluded from the tech field.

The solution is collaborative and has an open source approach to scale and spread fast to any place.

Recognitions

Ben & Jerrys Join Our Core Winner (2013). James Welthon is an Ashoka Fellow (2012). Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Impact (2012).

Impact evidence

Outputs
  • 2,287 Dojos in 112 countries.
  • 58,000 young people have participated.
  • 12,000 volunteers have been mobilized.
  • About 33% of CoderDojo attendees around the world are girls.
Outcomes

Taking part in CoderDojo has an impact on the skills and attitudes of the young people involved:

  • 92% of participants have improved their programming skills.
  • 90% of participants are more confident in their computer skills.
How does it work?

A Dojo is an independent volunteer club, created in a local community, which is part of the CoderDojo network. Dojos are championed by individuals all around the world who are passionate about giving young people the opportunity to learn to code and are accompanied by other volunteers that help them organize sessions and mentor participants. Potential champions, register, are vetted, and then supported to build and grow a Dojo. These are held in public venues such as libraries or community centers. The central event system assists them to schedule the first event and to use some of over 200 projects to run a session. 

CoderDojo youth, aged 7 to 17, also called Ninjas, learn progressively how to code, develop websites, apps, games, and more. The principles of martial arts are woven into the clubs, whereby students receive badges and belts for progressing through levels of expertise. Badges are awarded for achievements as diverse as building an app, attending a certain number of sessions, mastering HTML, or helping an elderly person learn computing. In order to advance to the next level, each student must have mastered designated coding skills as well as acquired a set number of badges. There is a Social Good focus, encouraging participants to use their new skills to contribute to their communities or provide services to citizen organizations.

The strong emphasis on open source and free software, facilitates meeting like-minded people and encourages participants to share and grow the knowledge database online. The global online network allows new innovations created by members to be uploaded and used as examples or curriculum worldwide—immediate knowledge sharing that inspires young people to create their own curriculum and spread it around the world. 

There is no typical Dojo and guided activities vary by club, but it is mandatory to agree to the CoderDojo Charter of Ethics.

Geographical scope

Where was initially developed
Cork (Ireland).
Where has been implemented so far
112 countries, including Europe, America, Asia and Africa.
Last updated: 
September 2020

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