Last weekend’s Coder Dojo at GitHub was fun. 15 students were in attendance, with many younger students, including several under 10 years of age. There was an excellent and engaging teacher to lead the 2 hour session on Ruby Shoes. Everyone had a good time and learned a little about programming!
The Coder Dojo approach to getting kids programming is quite different than the Hack the Future event for which I also previously volunteered. At Hack the Future there was less instruction – they provided projects that students could tinker with and learn on their own, with mentors there to help if the student got stuck or had a question. At this Coder Dojo event an instructor walked students through making an app together and showed off what is possible.
Since the same students don’t necessarily come to every session, it is difficult to pick up where they left off. In previous Coder Dojo sessions they introduced other types of programming in a similar way – showing what is possible and generating the kid’s excitement. One off events are not able to provide a depth in programming knowledge, but do provide an excellent introduction and get kids excited about learning more.