All Posts By

M. Leslie Bent

Session Debrief Minutes: May 14th

By | blog, Volunteers

After each session, we hold a quick (<10min) mentor debrief to see what wins were made that day, introduce any new ideas to work on, and examine what didn’t work.

BIG WINS:
The greatest take away from this session was not a coding win, but a breakthrough with a smarter than average student. This young coder had been to 3 sessions, and brought his C++ coding manual to work through. His heart was already committed to the language, but he was having a struggle advancing quickly. His friends, family, and teachers were not equipped to teach him the language – and likewise – he was having little luck finding his coding community, unable to convince his friends to take on the task of hard-core coding. That few mentors were able to help in meaningful ways was getting the team down – how do we support this coder before he loses interest? The solution was in asking what they wanted to do. The answer was surprising. This young person felt they were letting people down by not having a project that was showing progress. We unpacked, over cake, how important it is to find your coding peers, as they will help push you along in projects – but we also unpacked that C++ is daunting for many programmers – and that even though Scratch might seem like a step backward, that learning to use the programming functions there can help communicate progress to others much more quickly. From beginning to end, we can make a game that people can play in an hour. After a big sigh about what it meant to take that step to a more junior programming language we went back to the computer and got programming. Looking forward to big things from this keen and altruistic learner who wants to learn code to improve his life, and to share it with friends and loved ones.

Other notes from mentors to keep improving our events and program:

BEFORE THE EVENT:
☐ Have a formalized “setup” and “teardown” list to ensure we don’t miss anything when setting up
☐ Update the table layouts guide with the correct layouts
☐ Add question about coding interest area to Eventbrite registration
☐ Print out attendee info from Eventbrite
☐ Convert Scratch activities to Python

DURING THE EVENT:
☐ Have “Activity of the Day” table fully set up and demoing before learners arrive
☐ Have lessons folders set out on the pods before learners arrive

 

By: M. Leslie Bent

Lessons from the field: Curriculum kits have been converted into topics

By | blog, News

Based on feedback from mentors and parents we’ve changed our curriculum to allow students and mentors to easily find projects suitable to their interests and skills. We’ve also changed our seating structure from front-of-room facing desk rows. Instead, we arrange tables in clusters to allow mentors better access to walk around, and encouraging more interaction of students. This new layout ties in nicely with color-coded duo tangs: Scratch, Web, Programming, and Hardware.

Lessons from CoderDojoTo at TPL Annette Branch

By | blog
Annette Street Library Toronto

Annette Street Library Toronto (TPL)

On March 25th, Toronto Public Library Annette Street Branch held it’s first CoderDojoTo event. Branch Head Jeffery Toste spearheaded the in-branch initiative and was on-site as a mentor at well attended event. We welcomed 23 new coders, and their parents. We also provided 7 laptops (2 from the library and 5 from CoderDojo Toronto) to students who did not have their own.

Our mentor group was the core team (Ming, Yousif, Tyler, Les) and Jeffery. As we ran the Making A Basic Game in Scratch workshop at the front, it was just enough to cover a table of 4 for each mentor. We made a change to our seating arrangement – switching from row seating looking forward, to pod seating clustering 4 students around a table. Mentors were able to provide better support for more students by spending time with each side of the table, and it encouraged pairs to work together when a mentor was busy with others. Parents were also more engaged as a result of the pod seating allowing them to sit with their learners, and mentors could still get around to everyone.

To continue to run successfully though, we will need to have more mentor training sessions in different neighbourhoods of the city. A West end training session will be booked in early May at the Annette Street Library.

Kids coding workshop at Book Bash

By | blog

CoderDojo is will run a drop-in kids coding workshop learning material. Families are invited to join us at Book Bash @ Harbourfront Centre on Saturday, October 22 from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. The day is a free, fun-filled afternoon of storytelling, music, writing and illustrating workshops and demos, tech fun, puppet shows, theatre, magic, and author signings. CoderDojoTo will be holding a drop-in computer workshop for kids.Book Bash is a celebration of children’s literacy and the joy of reading, and we’re thrilled to welcome some of Canada’s most renowned children’s authors, illustrators, storytellers and musicians.

All Day in The Bays & Lobby:

  • Drop-in coding workshop with Coderdojo
  • Toronto Public Library’s Pop-Up Learning Lab with Mini 3D Printer
  • Hands-on demos with Toronto Public Library’s Sun Life Musical Instrument Lending Library
  • Roaming magician
  • Face painting
  • Photobooth Fun! and pick up your free book courtesy of Scholastic Canada (while quantities last)
  • All are welcome to come dressed in costume!
  • Meet characters from your favourite books

The Ben McNally Bookstore at Habourfront Centre will host author signings and sell books by our guest authors throughout the day.

Toronto Public Library Bookmobile will be parked outside Harbourfront Centre for you to borrow library materials. Don’t forget your library card!

For more information about the event, including where you can find us – see the posting here:

Launching the first CoderDojo E-Learning Modules

By | blog, News, tutorial

Modules for mentors to improve their knowledge of the CoderDojo Ethos.

by Rosa Langhammer

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. – Henry Ford

Learning isn’t just for the young. At CoderDojo we fully believe in lifelong learning which is why we are launching our first E-Learning modules. These two pilot modules are made for volunteers to improve their knowledge of the CoderDojo Ethos and how to mentor at CoderDojo.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 14.53.47

The CoderDojo Ethos module is great to learn about what the core principles of CoderDojo are and how to put them into practice. It gives learners an insight in best practices for setting up and running a Dojo to encourage key principles such as youth-led learning, and peer mentoring.61

What’s cool? Once you complete and evaluate either of the two modules you will receive a badge for your efforts which will be automatically added to your profile!

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 14.51.20

The CoderDojo Mentoring module give top tips from other mentors around the world and introduces you to some mentoring styles used at Dojos as well as scenarios in which you should adopt these styles. It also gives you an overview of the content available to mentors and how to plan content for your Dojo!

How do I take the modules!?

Just log in or register on the CoderDojo Community Platform. You can find the E-Learning module button on your profile menu.

If you are registering for the first time, make sure you have joined your Dojo – remember the Champion will have to approve your request to join which may not be instant!

Who should take the modules?

All volunteers – from Champions to technical mentors to non-technical volunteers. We especially encourage Champions to get new volunteers to take these modules so they get a flavour of what CoderDojo is and keep it fresh in their mind when they start to mentor.

Thank you!

We want to take this opportunity to thank our partners for this project without whom we could not have delivered such amazing results!

Lions @africa – our funding partners as part of the AfriCoderDojo initiative

LearnUpon – our LMS partners

Designed for Learning – our content partners

If you have feedback on the E-Learning Modules please add it to the survey at the end of the module or get in touch with CoderDojo on info@coderdojo.org.

For more resources and advice see the CoderDojo Foundation’s #BackToDojo post.

ScratchEd and Harvard research teams guide to Introduction to Computing Using Scratch

By | blog, Scratch, tips & tricks, tutorial

CoderDojos across the world use Scratch as a way to introduce young people to fundamental coding concepts. The Scratch team have created AN INTRODUCTORY COMPUTING CURRICULUM USING SCRATCH. It consists of a teaching guide and student workbook. It was developed by members of the ScratchEd research team at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

WHAT IS CREATIVE COMPUTING?

Creative computing is… creativity.

Computer science and computing-related fields have long been introduced to young people in a way that is disconnected from their interests and values – emphasizing technical detail over creative potential. Creative computing supports the development of personal connections to computing, by drawing upon creativity, imagination, and interests.

Creative computing is… empowerment.

Many young people with access to computers participate as consumers, rather than designers or creators. Creative computing emphasizes the knowledge, practices, and fundamental literacies that young people need to create the types of dynamic and interactive computational media that they enjoy in their daily lives.

Creative computing is… computing.

Engaging in the creation of computational artifacts prepares young people for more than careers as computer scientists or programmers. It supports young people’s development as computational thinkers – individuals who can draw on computational concepts, practices, and perspectives in all aspects of their lives, across disciplines and contexts.

Download

CoderDojoTo & STEMCA’s robotics event (part of Toronto Maker Festival)

By | blog, classes

CoderDojoToSTEMCA_Robotics_June19

On Sunday, June 19th 2016 at Bitmaker in Toronto, CoderDojoTo will be partnering with STEMCA to provide a fun introduction to robotics. This event is a Maker Festival Toronto satellite event.

Easy Robotics Essentials

The main requirement to use STEMCA Inventor is a laptop with Firefox or Chrome (OS doesn’t matter) and Android tablet/phone (Bluetooth is also required on the Android device, for controlling the robots).

Extra fun

We will have robots for participants that choose to do the robotics projects can try them on the spot. There would be also voice and image recognition based projects that will not require a robot, so the participants can continue to work on them at home after the event.

We will also have robotics demos to inspire future projects, and an Oculus VR for VR applications (which is growing very fast in popularity).

ABOUT STEMCA Inventor

STEMCA Inventor platform combines open source + commercial hardware components based on Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Lego Mindstorms EV3/NXT, Neato, MBot, etc (more coming) with powerful Android mobile development in an advanced and easy to use form with affordable components to empower anyone age 8+ to become inventors and/or teachers and contribute to the advance of science, technology and engineering for a brighter future.

ABOUT CoderDojo Toronto

CoderDojo is a free computer club for kids, which started in Ireland in 2011 and grew quickly into a global community of over 875 clubs operating in 65 countries. Starting 2013, CoderDojoTo remains the only consistently active CoderDojo group in Canada. We work within communities to provide free computer workshops in fun learning environments – breaking down barriers, challenging social and economic stereotypes, and empowering youth to shape their world through code.

Why is this important?
Computing is an increasingly important form of literacy. Code is part of a booming industry, with a growing skills gap. There are more tech jobs in Canada than there are qualified candidates to fill them. Code will be used to help solve global problems. Unforeseen employment opportunities will continue to be created with code. Code is good for your brain – whether it’s solving a problem for a personal indie game or building the next big industry.

90% of Canadian firms surveyed said they have some form of IT skills gap. (CompTIA survey)

55% of Canadian Chief Information Officers (CIOs) say it’s difficult to find skilled tech professionals today. (Robert Half Technology)

2%-3% The unemployment rate in the Information and Communications Technology and Digital Media industries, statistically viewed as full employment. (Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) White Paper)

2.7 million Canadians are self-employed entrepreneurs or 8% of the total population. (Statistics Canada)

How can we fix this gap?
It is our vision that every young Canadian has the opportunity to learn to code. We hear from teachers, students, and community organizations who want to start a code program but lack resources and training. To combat this, we have packaged our full-colour paper lesson plans into curriculum kits and are working with schools and libraries across the GTA to support their goals of starting their own computer literacy programs.

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EVENT DETAILS:

This special event is part of Toronto’s Maker Festival. We will be working with STEMCA to bring students a guided robotics workshop. YOU MUST REGISTER AT EVENTBRITE TO BE GUARANTEED A TICKET TO THIS EVENT.

CoderDojoTo’s mission is to introduce young people to the joy of computing. We provide a fun learning environment for students and parents alike, breaking down barriers, challenging social and economic stereotypes, and empowering youth to shape their world through code.

Not technical? You can still help out! Get in touch to see where you can lend your talents to join the community supporting the CoderDojo initiative!

See you at the Dojo!

*CoderDojoTo is held at Bitmaker Labs, a code academy for adults. It is located up a small flight of stairs. Wheelchair access is unfortunately not available at this time.

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