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Send Your Kid for Free Coding Classes at the CoderDojo

By - Source: GitHub | B 22 comments
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A place where kids can learn to code for free.

Our children are the leaders of tomorrow. Whether that excites you, or terrifies you, we need to prepare them for the big, bad world they'll soon be commanding. With technology starting to affect nearly every aspect of our lives, it's necessary to ensure they know how to use computers and the internet. However, one non-profit in Ireland recently took things a step further with free classes that teach children to code. Now, thanks to a partnership with GitHub, the organization will soon take on North America.

GitHub today announced that it had teamed up with CoderDojo to open their first Dojo in the United States. The Dojo will teach children between the ages of 7- and 18-years-old to code and develop websites, apps, programs, games and more, and will be located in the GitHub offices. The first session is scheduled for 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on February 25 and GitHub is encouraging kids to sign up on CoderDojo's website. As with all of CoderDojo's clubs, each class is taught by a professional in the given topic and if your kid doesn't have a laptop to use during the session, one will be provided for him or her.

CoderDojo was started by an Irish student James Whelton. Sometime in early 2011, while Whelton was still in high school, he garnered some publicity for hacking his iPad Nano. As a result, some of his classmates expressed an interest in learning how to code, so Whelton started teaching people basic HTML and CSS. A few months later, he met Bill Liao, an entrepreneur and philanthropist that wanted to grow the project beyond after-school sessions in a school computer lab. Liao and Whelton founded CoderDojo and opened up their first Dojo in June 2011, in the National Software Centre in Cork. A huge success, the Dojo had regular attendees that were traveling from Dublin (well over 100 miles) just to participate in classes. Soon, additional Dojos were opened up around Ireland, including one in Google Europe's office in Dublin.

You can learn more about CoderDojo, including how to join, volunteer, or start one, here

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    mesab66 , February 12, 2012 1:36 PM
    Well done, a great concept!! It's great that they are including such a young age!! Hope it resurrects the extremely high skill levels and total (obsessive?) passion once found in the 80's - 'bedroom programmers' of the C64/Spectrum/BBC Electron/Amiga/ST/etc. These guys knew how to program - particularly in assembly - the CPU (and GPU's...remember the blitter anyone??) HAD to be programmed efficiently - no sloppy programming here if you wanted smooth saleable gameplay. This era also encouraged - by default - thinking outside the box in order to efficiently optimise EVERY subroutine / programming challenge. You'll correctly guess this is an era I have very fond memories of :) 
  • 16 Hide
    NuclearShadow , February 12, 2012 1:31 PM
    This is nothing short of awesome. This will not only be teaching kids a skill but give them something to do that is productive. Sadly it doesn't seem they accept donations through their website. I would have gladly supported this.

    Quote:
    Whether that excites you, or terrifies you


    After reading this it certainly helps it lean a little more towards excitement.
  • 10 Hide
    SoiledBottom , February 12, 2012 5:15 PM
    Opening up just across the street from CoderDojo is the new Cobra Kai Coderdojo, things could get ugly.

    Where are you Mr. Miyagi ?
Other Comments
    Display all 22 comments.
  • 16 Hide
    NuclearShadow , February 12, 2012 1:31 PM
    This is nothing short of awesome. This will not only be teaching kids a skill but give them something to do that is productive. Sadly it doesn't seem they accept donations through their website. I would have gladly supported this.

    Quote:
    Whether that excites you, or terrifies you


    After reading this it certainly helps it lean a little more towards excitement.
  • 19 Hide
    mesab66 , February 12, 2012 1:36 PM
    Well done, a great concept!! It's great that they are including such a young age!! Hope it resurrects the extremely high skill levels and total (obsessive?) passion once found in the 80's - 'bedroom programmers' of the C64/Spectrum/BBC Electron/Amiga/ST/etc. These guys knew how to program - particularly in assembly - the CPU (and GPU's...remember the blitter anyone??) HAD to be programmed efficiently - no sloppy programming here if you wanted smooth saleable gameplay. This era also encouraged - by default - thinking outside the box in order to efficiently optimise EVERY subroutine / programming challenge. You'll correctly guess this is an era I have very fond memories of :) 
  • 5 Hide
    Novulux , February 12, 2012 3:54 PM
    Not exactly my kid, but I thought about asking my parents to send my younger brother. He's always wanted to program,but unlike me, he can't stay focused while reading programming books.
    San Francisco is a little too far though, so I guess we will follow this for a while.
  • 7 Hide
    11796pcs , February 12, 2012 4:35 PM
    ZingamWhen I have kids I will have 3. One will be a politician and it will pass laws to regulate the software industry, the second will be a lawyer and will sue the coders and the third will be a psychiatrist to cure broke coders. My kids will never touch a computer!!!

    Why do you not want your kids to touch a computer? Realize as well that your entire statement makes you sound a bit like a hypocrite. A computer (by extension I am including the Internet) is one of the best ways to be empowered by having access to the truth in the world. By blocking access to a computer, you are censoring information. Why don't you just send your kids to North Korea?
  • -4 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , February 12, 2012 4:47 PM
    coderdojo aka nerdcamp
  • 10 Hide
    SoiledBottom , February 12, 2012 5:15 PM
    Opening up just across the street from CoderDojo is the new Cobra Kai Coderdojo, things could get ugly.

    Where are you Mr. Miyagi ?
  • 2 Hide
    egidem , February 12, 2012 5:33 PM
    I know some guy who had a different career path that had nothing to do with programming or coding. This guy had a quick, sharp and logical mind. I gave him one of my Intro. to Computing books and he loved it. His career is now changed towards a different path, and is well majoring into this field. He tells me that had he discovered this sooner at a young age, he wouldn't have wasted any time doing anything else.

    I think this idea of exposing kids to the innards of programming at such young ages is brilliant. Not only does it give these young kids basic fundamentals of what goes inside the computer in terms of software, but it could also easily help discover/channel some of these kids' interest into something that would be an awesome skill to have at a young age. Amazing talent could easily come out of CoderDojo.
  • 1 Hide
    Pawessum16 , February 12, 2012 6:38 PM
    egidemI know some guy who had a different career path that had nothing to do with programming or coding. This guy had a quick, sharp and logical mind. I gave him one of my Intro. to Computing books and he loved it. His career is now changed towards a different path, and is well majoring into this field. He tells me that had he discovered this sooner at a young age, he wouldn't have wasted any time doing anything else.I think this idea of exposing kids to the innards of programming at such young ages is brilliant. Not only does it give these young kids basic fundamentals of what goes inside the computer in terms of software, but it could also easily help discover/channel some of these kids' interest into something that would be an awesome skill to have at a young age. Amazing talent could easily come out of CoderDojo.

    I've had a similar experience happen personally to me. I came to college only having a rough idea of what I wanted to major in. I saw one of my EE friends taking an intro CptS course, and I decided I wanted to take it the next spring. After taking that intro course, next thing I know I'm teaching myself PHP, CSS, HTML, sql queries, a dash of javascript, and I'm reading up on how to set up a linux server. Now a year later after seeing the first bit of code in my life, I'm engaging with Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook about possibly getting an internship this summer. It's been great!
  • 1 Hide
    ericburnby , February 12, 2012 7:16 PM
    Great idea. My 8 year old daughter is programming PIC Micros (the PICAXE version) to do simple things like turn LED's on/off in patterns or in response to switches.

    Simple stuff for sure, but a good start.
  • 5 Hide
    mcd023 , February 12, 2012 7:34 PM
    Awesome! I wish I coulda done this when I was a kid! Now I'm teaching myself, but this is great!
  • 0 Hide
    acerace , February 12, 2012 8:23 PM
    What a great classes! I want to learn programming so bad, but it's in the US and the age limit until 18, and I'm 16. So, I have to learn coding somewhere else. :cry: 
  • 6 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , February 13, 2012 12:53 AM
    ZingamWhen I have kids I will have 3. One will be a politician and it will pass laws to regulate the software industry, the second will be a lawyer and will sue the coders and the third will be a psychiatrist to cure broke coders. My kids will never touch a computer!!!

    For the love of God, and the human race, PLEASE do not reproduce. But, if you must...

    1. Obama has a Blackberry. SmartPhones are computers....
    2. A lawyer will need a computer to hold client database and manage finances...
    3. A psychiatrist...by time you have kids, and they get to school, they might not have textbooks anymore, due to rising costs. They might have to depend on tablets for college education...

    Sorry, I guess your anti-computer rant is lost.
  • 0 Hide
    acerace , February 13, 2012 4:20 AM
    @JOHNSKORN Oh please, he does know that. /sarcasm
  • 0 Hide
    coderdojo edmonton , February 13, 2012 4:56 AM
    CoderDojo Edmonton is starting up! #yeg

    http://groups.google.com/group/coderdojo-edmonton
    Twitter: @CoderDojoEdmAB
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , February 13, 2012 8:40 AM
    @ people who are bashing and downvoting Zingam,
    why do you need /sarcasm to understand it?

    Reminds me of that old joke
    wife: go to the market, get 6 eggs, and if they have milk, get one;
    husband gets one egg, because they had milk at the market.
  • -4 Hide
    Phoenixlight , February 13, 2012 10:48 AM
    This is pretty annoying, programming shouldn't be a common skill available to EVERYONE. Not that many people will choose to work in the IT industry when they're older so they don't need to be given the skills that those of us who've specialised have.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 13, 2012 2:34 PM
    Pheonixlight, you're misunderstanding. They aren't sending everyone to this school, just the people that want to learn. They are like you and want to specialize in something like this. They are given a chance to begin learning at a younger age. I do understand your concern wanting to have job stability in the future, when most people will be at least computer savy enough to not need a 'geek squad' type of service anymore.
  • 0 Hide
    redeye , February 13, 2012 3:29 PM
    so how fast can i be up and running and write video games? lol

    well, on here is seems people hate apple/istuff, but the apple system is great for seeing your results in action after and the hard work.... of course selling it is a different story... like alll things.
  • 0 Hide
    HellaRedwoodz , February 13, 2012 4:37 PM
    Would I trade the ability to buy beer anytime for the chance at free coding classes? HellNAW! But if I were under 18, I'd jump on it. Sounds like a great program.
  • 2 Hide
    gm0n3y , February 13, 2012 5:15 PM
    I wish this was around when I was in school. The 'coding' we learned in school was horrible (mostly HTML). I ended up having to teach myself C/C++. This should be extremely useful to the kids that take advantage of it.
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