Over the years, technology has revolutionized our world becoming prevalent in all aspects of our lives. Today, we constantly interact with technology —from the digital alarm clock wake-up, to using our smartphones, from online shopping to your car GPS system. What’s more, technology is constantly evolving, with new innovations that further integrate it into all aspects of our lives. We need more people who understand coding languages and the different technologies that will power our tomorrow. This is where CoderDojo comes in.
The CoderDojo movement believes that an understanding of programming languages is increasingly important in the modern world, that it’s both better and easier to learn these skills early, and that nobody should be denied the opportunity to do so. To that end, they’ve built a global network of free, volunteer-led, community-based programming clubs for young people. Anyone aged seven to seventeen can visit a Dojo where they can learn to code, build a website, create an app or a game, and explore technology in an informal, creative, and social environment.
Here at Zendesk, we partner with CoderDojo in our Dublin office every two weeks with 15 students aged seven to seventeen coming to our office to work with our engineering staff. Typically the students start with Scratch, a visual coding language and a platform for building games, stories and visual characters. Often a student won’t know where to start, so we guide them through CoderDojo's resources page, encouraging them to start with anything that interests them. As one engineer mentioned, ‘to start, my primary objective is to create a fun environment and stimulate than to learn basic concepts in computer programming.”
As students familiarize themselves with Zendesk, computers and technology, they natural grow and become more comfortable. It becomes an opportunity for students to learn a different subject, learn the basics of computer programming and put themselves as the creator of technology rather than the consumer. One engineer noted, “Computers are ubiquitous in our lives and learning what it can do transforms how the kids observe the world and find solutions for problems they face. Algorithmic thinking gives the students the ability to break down problems into small parts and create abstractions important enough to manage complexity. It is a basic problem-solving skill that could be applied on any career to help them to build a better world.”
Our world in increasingly dependent on technology making imperative that we help young people shape a positive future through coding and community. By what is exciting is their is such an opportunity in teaching youth. Kids don’t see the limitations of the tools they have on their hands. They ask questions you never thought before, they create interesting programs out of simple concepts and they expand your narrow view of the world. If the future is full of CoderDojo students, it looks to be pretty bright.
If you are interesting in getting involved with CoderDojo in your own workplace, visit their site here.