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Canada Coding Week event: Canadarm2

By | blog, classes
Thank you for volunteering your time for code education.
Our event is on Saturday, June 3rd 217 from 2 – 4pm and we are holding a mentor/volunteer training session beforehand at 1:30 – to ensure that mentors are somewhat prepared for the 2 hour coding session to follow.
Lesson of the day – CANADARM2:
In this activity, students will imagine that they are Chris Hadfield remotely controlling the Canadarm 2 from on board the International Space Station. Students will use computational thinking processes (breaking down a problem, looking for patterns, developing algorithms) and their prior coding experience with Scratch to create a simulation in which they become the controller of Canadarm2 to put a new module on the International Space Station.
Video lesson here:

Printable teachers guide:
Starter Scratch:
Final Scratch:
 
Lesson plan found here:

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.

Thank you 2016

By | blog
Children's Literary Festival hosted Bi-annually by Toronto Public Library. This year held at Toronto Harbourfront, Queens Quay. With various Childrens authors, illustrators, and musical talent.

CoderDojoTo did a drop-in coding session at Children’s Literary Festival hosted Bi-annually by Toronto Public Library. This year held at Toronto Harbourfront, Queens Quay. With various Children’s authors, illustrators, and musical talent.

We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to all who mentored, volunteered, and contributed to our 2016 fundraising campaign which helped make all of our events possible throughout the year!

As we rely on donations of resources, food and financial means to operate each of our events – we are truly grateful to have such an incredible network of support and simply cannot express our appreciation for your time and contributions in all forms. Thanks to your time and donation, we were able to expand our program by offering a variety of new workshops and curriculum content this past year aimed at promoting digital literacy and STEAM education amongst youth. Some of our highlights from 2016 include:

Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to seeing you out at our events in the new year!

CoderDojo Toronto Team

Community Members

Full Stack Toronto, Maker Festival, Microsoft Toronto, #Ridi6ulo.us Hackthon, Toronto Public Library, Stemca,Hive Toronto, Get Yer Bot On!, Markham Coders

Numbers and Stats for 2016

By the Numbers By the Cost Travelled from By Skill
300+ Students $3000+ on pizza, snacks, coffee Toronto HTML, CSS
150+ Mentors $1000+ on printing Markham GIMP for graphic editing
100+ Computers Loaned $300+ on hardware Scarborough JavaScript
90 TTC Tokens $2500+ on event costs Mississauga Scratch
Bowmanville Node
Georgetown Arduino
Thornhill Networking
North York Podcast (Audio)
Sharon RFID
Burlington
Vaughan
Hamilton
Etobicoke
Dundas
Pickering

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:

CoderDojo has won the prestigious European Citizen’s Prize

By | blog, News

CoderDojo has won the prestigious European Citizen’s Prize. CoderDojo is the only Irish based organisation to win the award this year. Our non-profit network of free coding clubs for young people, which originated in Cork, is now in 63 countries worldwide. Since 2008 the Parliament awards the European Citizen’s Prize every year to projects and initiatives that facilitate cross-border cooperation and promote understanding within the EU. CoderDojo was nominated by Seán Kelly MEP (Ireland South).

21695784998_b049fff3dc_zMary Moloney, CoderDojo’s CEO had this to say on receiving the news: “With more than 600 CoderDojo clubs active in European countries, it’s great recognition for the amazing, kind & talented community of volunteers and kids to receive this award. We hope that this will inspire others to get involved in supporting the movement and in helping to launch more Dojos.”

Read more about it at: https://coderdojo.com/news/2016/06/02/coderdojo-wins-european-citizens-prize/

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.

Programming: Languages, Timeline, and Guides

By | blog

programming resources

Computer programs are often described as “sets of instructions”,and computer languages are thought of by many as merely the syntax and vocabulary for providing these instructions.

From this point of view, different programming languages may have different grammars, or different vocabularies. Each may treat semi-colons a particular way, or require capitalization — but they are sort of the same underneath all that.

The reality of programming is much more complicated than that.

Learn more about computer languages and their history.

Learn just about anything you want to know about computers and the internet here: http://www.whoishostingthis.com/resources/

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.

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