A couple of weeks ago, myself and Lord Geekus, went along to the Coder Dojo in Athenry (East of Galway, Ireland).
The fellow that runs it, Michael and his wonderful team of volunteers completely blew me away.
I attend these sorts of events just as support to Lord Geekus, being completely inept at any sort of computing wootsitz myself.
He had been asked to go along and just maybe talk to a few kids about what it is that he does as a developer on a Minecraft server, and maybe give a tutorial to a group- I wasn’t sure what to expect….
But still there were a lot more kids than we expected!
But it was fantastic, the kids and parents were engaged, asked lots of questions and actually really well behaved!
All that is well and good, but why write a post about it? Well, like I said, I was totally blown away by the whole organisation.
They teach kids aged 7-15 years old all different aspects of coding- splitting into smaller groups targeted towards age or just ability level. The younger ones are required to have a parent or guardian attend with them (They aren’t running a day care facility!) and what was amazing to me was how many parents were there with their children! Some parents who clearly didn’t know too much about coding or the games that their kids play but were there, assisting them, encouraging them, giving up their Saturday to help their kids develop skills which they are really interested in learning!
Some parents were volunteers to help, as they had various coding skills themselves, other volunteers were just that- friends of the organisers, fellow programmers who think it’s a great cause!
These kids are getting to learn skills that, as Michael, (who teaches Computer Science) said, his second year students are only just getting to grips with.
Our future is constantly changing landscape, jobs never dreamed of 10 years ago will be a requirement, these are skills a lot of people will find invaluable.
And these guys are teaching it to kids for free!
They give up their time, they organise the venue (Thanks to the local school!) they offer small groups to give the kids an interactive learning environment.
We’ve always had dancing classes, drama classes, guitar classes, art classes, football, tennis, so why not learning how to code? As much as me and computers don’t always get on, it’s undeniable that knowing how to use them, knowing how to code, is the equivalent of getting a degree 20 years ago!
There was also a really great mix of genders there at the session- something which is a serious problem at the moment in the gaming/programming world….only made harder from the likes of sites such as codebabes.com *sigh* It was great to see really young girls not caring about how the gaming world currently is- they love the games, the coding, so why would it stop them *hurrah*
Thanks for reading 🙂 See below for links to these guys!
@michaelgmadden (Michael/Athenry Co-Ordinator)
@Vladtobehere (Lord Geekus/codename_B)