April CoderDojo Community Committee meeting minutes now available!

The minutes of the most recent CoderDojo Community Committee are now available!

April 2nd Community Committee Meeting

Date: April 2nd 2015 Time: 21:00 – 22:00 IST


  • Giustina Mizzoni – CDF, Docklands Dojo
  • Laura Ivers – CDF, Docklands Dojo
  • Eugene McDonagh – CDF, Killaloe and Limerick Dojos IE
  • John Harrington – CMX (Carrickmacross) Dojo IE
  • Michael Madden – Athenry Dojo IE
  • Craig Steele – Glasgow Coderdojo, CoderDojo Scotland UK
  • Carmelo Presicce – Bologna CoderDojo, CoderDojo Italia IT
  • David Welch – Iowa City Dojo US
  • Frank & Josh Westguard, Washington DC Dojo US
  • Yohei Yasukawa, Tokyo Dojo JP


Time Topic Who
21:00 CoderDojo Foundation Project Update (Strategy, Main Projects) CDF
21:10 The Role of the CoderDojo Community Committee and Improving Engagement All
21:25 Ensuring fair geographical representation on the Community Committee All
21:40 65% of Community Members know nothing about the Committee, how do we improve this? All


The below Q&A are not exact transcripts and in some instances have been summarised.


CoderDojo Update

Giustina gave an update of the new strategy that is being developed by the CoderDojo Foundation (CDF), she briefly touched on the 5 pillars of priority; Engagement with young people, Relationships with all volunteers, Enriched content & offerings, Partnerships and Alliances, Global Community Growth. She notes that the strategy will be published once complete.

John: How did you arrive at those 5 pillars as the most tactical to put together?

Giustina: It was a long process of refinement. We took a step back and looked at what the work is that we are actually doing, what impact is it having and then we looked at the evidence we have from champions and mentors and Dojos on a daily basis to see what are they asking for that we’re not delivering on. It was a combination of a community feedback from individual members, from general members, the annual survey, and  topics that came up on the community committee calls and then it all went through a process of refinement.


Community Platform

Eugene gave overview of new community platform. Replacing Zen with better functionality to make it easier for Dojos. The registration process and onboarding is next section. Use for Mentors as well. Make ticketing easier. Workshops on ticketing and open badges in new platform.

More information on the CoderDojo Community Platform: https://coderdojo.com/news/2015/03/19/announcing-the-new-coderdojo-community-platform/

John: How does this cater for retrospective attendance?

Eugene: Let’s try and build something into it where by mentors can make the call and award kids those badges. If you have a child that has been coming to your Dojo all along you can put them up at a certain level straight away. We’ll get that back into the badge workshop. We will be issuing documents over the next few days where people can put in notes of things that they’re thinking about in terms of feedback.


Open Badges

Eugene: Explained open badges and how they would work in Dojos. Mentors can choose to award them and program the badges to have the evidence of their achievement. Want to make better use of forums with one login.



Eugene: Working with SAS who are willing to give free access to software. Hope to have a Masters student to work on our data to come up with ways to make it better. Aim is to enable CDF to run  reports at higher level and for Dojo to build reports. Give access to kids in Dojos to anonymous CoderDojo data and see what they can generate from it.

John – My experience with SAS is that it is a very specialised tool set to use and for mentors or champions in various Dojos, how are they going to get up to a level of proficiency where they are comfortable enough to use it to run their analysis on their own Dojo?

Eugene: We’ll have pre built reports in there that they can access and run. Secondly, the SAS people are involved in Dojos around Dublin and the aim is for them to write tutorials on using it. They eventually want to make tutorials to get kids using it too. We’ll make sure there are ongoing training sessions online where champions etc can come in and help each other.

Eugene: Eventually want to have Kata as an OAUTH plugin for the new Zen so once you are approved by a champion and vetted you automatically get access to edit Kata. Slack could be a good idea.

Laura: Anyone who is interested in having an input in the community platform I’m going to send an email around with the details of the workshops that we’re having on the 15th April and whether or not you can attend. There will be documents for anyone to add their thoughts or suggestions to before the workshop.


Kata Redevelopment

Laura: To finish with the CDF updates, we are also doing a Kata redevelopment at the moment. We’re working with some volunteers in IBM and they’re redesigning the skin for the media wiki. We are categorising content  and we’re also focusing on Sushi card development. If anyone is interested in contributing or sharing any content that they think might work please get in touch.


The Role of the CoderDojo Community Committee and Improving Engagement

Laura: From our understanding of the community committee the role is two fold;

  • To provide guidance to the CoderDojo Foundation on projects of strategic importance
  • To feed information, challenges and successes from their local community to the CoderDojo Foundation

Laura: In terms of engagement there are a few people not on the call today who are not communicating with us and we’re interested in what your understanding of your roles are and what you want them to be.

John: There is no way of going to a central spot to see what your tasks are and so you can get them back in a timely fashion.

Laura: We can use teamwork now for the community committee which will give everyone the ability to see tasks, to suggest tasks and also to log time on tasks. Would people be interested in setting up something in teamwork and adding the committee to it? We also have always used the Google Group for these purposes. See Google Group here>>>.

Josh: This is the first I’m hearing of the community committee having tasks to do.

John: It’s mostly just things that people volunteer for and then perhaps are guilty of not producing so it would be good to have them all in the same place where they can be recorded.

Action: Laura to send on information on getting involved in sushi and platform

Dave: I have been helping new Dojos that start close to me in America. Being on the committee gives us the opportunity to help Dojos in our area and answer questions etc.

Laura: Having people in different areas giving us information is really important to us and that is what we want the role of the committee to be. How do others feel about this side of it?

Michael: Representing Dojos in the regions around you is very important.

John: I haven’t been making myself known to Dojos in my area

Dave: It used to be easier to find these things out. About 6 months ago we used to get emails when new Dojos were set up in our area. I think in the shuffle that stopped happening and I’d like the see that come back at some point.

Eugene: That was hard to keep as some people didn’t want to be receiving as many updates as others.  This is something that in the original spec I talked about for the platform and it’s something that the community might be able to add in later on. It was an idea whereby when a new Champion came on board, they would register their Dojo and pick a geographical location then the system automatically notifies the three closest Dojos so maybe we’ll get someone to build a module that can do that.

John: All we’ve wanted from the beginning is for tools to be put up that we can download to use for the kids but if that automated system was to come back and tell people who their local committee member is and that they will assist you in getting your Dojo kicked off.

Eugene: This isn’t something that we have in this draft of the platform but it is definitely something we have to add in. We do need to have that automated notification system setup.

Action: Log this issue

John: How do 4 people become the community members of the US?

Eugene: Explaining how they divided up a certain amount of Dojos per community committee member. We need to have it so that it’s broken down in relation to the geographical spread.

Action: Laura to edit macros to link to community committee

John: Why not instead of having people volunteer for geographical locations have them volunteer for expert areas? Committee members could be go to people for specific areas. Have it divided into strands.

Dave: How do we want to ensure fair geographical representation?

Dave: How does that work with a denser population like Ireland?

Eugene: With the forums (in new Community Platform) that should work. You can have those subject matters in sections in the forum and the community committee member can watch and if someone posts something there they can respond. That is something that we have been looking at and we’re trying to do an overflow channel as well.

Action: Forums divided into different sections and topics.

Laura: If there are certain expertise levels on the committee,  until we have the forums in place,  a good way to deal with expertise levels would be to add content to Kata or add to content already there that could help new community members. Then they could be linked directly to that instead of having to repeat the same things all the time. One of our strategies is to really flesh out Kata and have those content offerings.

Eugene: If you take the US as an example we had someone in West, East, South and North East. But we probably never exactly agreed with people what the boundaries were.

Dave: That was my proposal but I don’t think we ever had an official vote on it from the US Dojos so  that’s just what I’ve been going by because no one objected. That was a year ago and the number of Dojos has changed so those boundaries might need to be changed.

Eugene: The most important change when the new version of Zen comes out will be that you type in your address line by line and pick your state and be able to see how many Dojos you have within your state. This will make it easier to actually work out which Dojos each person covers.

Eugene: When I was doing it for Ireland I broke it down by counties. The counties are an awful lot smaller.

Dave: In the US I represent about 30 Dojos so what does it look like for John in terms of how many he represents?

John: I’m not sure how many I represent but I have responded to Dojos in places like Canada so I don’t know who I’m supposed to be representing but I’ll help anybody if I can. I don’t know formally what list of Dojos I’m responsible for.

Overall all members were in agreement that the Committee was there to to provide guidance to the CoderDojo Foundation on projects of strategic importance, to feed information, challenges and successes from their local community to the CoderDojo Foundation and lastly to connect with local Dojos if possible.

Action: Reconsider the numbers and how we approached it and keep an open communication with committee while we do this. Better reflect what the Dojos around the world need. (Laura)



Laura: Giustina recently did a transparency consultation with the community and she got a response that 65% of community members know nothing about the committee. We would like suggestions on how we can improve this. One of the ways that we would like to suggest improving this is by mixing the coderdojo website with the .com website and on the Who Are We page we’d like to include the community committee as well as the team and the board. We would potentially have a picture and a little bit about them. How would people feel about that?

Josh: Queried the tasks/expectations of him as a member of the Committee..

Giustina: That is the main purpose of the committee and we don’t mean for it to sound burdensome or anything like that. The main purpose for us is to have a space where we are being fed information about  Dojos on the ground and where we can legitimately think that the people involved are representing their Dojos opinions (rather than an individual opinion).

Action: Giustina to write a brief paragraph summarising the Committee and post in Google group and all public places where the Committee is mentioned.


Participate in the Sushi development and in the Platform Workshop

Laura: I’ll send an email about all of that to you very soon.


Any Other Business

John: Request for help. We’re doing Minecraft but we’re Minecrafting our town and we’re using it as a way to get kids to work together and get them to go out and do measuring of buildings etc. We’ve got different groups taking different parts of the town and eventually with those servers that we’re getting we will publicly host not just the town but the county as well. Commercially what people can do is drop their buildings into that world and that can then be a fun advertising piece to draw people into the county and maybe start using things like Google Maps in conjunction with overlays from Minecraft. We’re looking at the international people that we met at Minevention to  help us or even advertise what we’re doing. Does anybody here have any contact or anyone with serious Minecraft experience?

John: Requested a business template for Dojos starting up so that they know what to say and where to go for funding etc.

Laura: Wicklow are also working on some stuff to do with this in CoderDojo Bray and they managed to get some data from the Ordnance Survey Ireland people. They have also in the UK developed Britain using ordnance survey data  in Minecraft and you can see the videos on YouTube. I’m in talks with Tony in Ordnance Survey Ireland about getting all of their data released for Dojos around Ireland so that they can create their local area.  Can I suggest that we connect on this and we have a conversation to see how this progresses and I can connect you to the Dojo in Bray who was working on this as well because they were going to pilot the whole thing. We have a meeting in the OSI office in two weeks to get the data. To other community members as well, I’m in talks with them about seeing if international Dojos can use the data too so anyone who is interested in building Ireland’s landscape etc or anything in Minecraft we might be able to provide you with the data to do that.

Michael: I would be interested in that too.

Laura: I will invite all of you into piloting it then maybe as well. We can connect about that.

Eugene: If this starts taking off we’ll look at trying to get a cloud server and have everyone connect in onto that.

Craig: Has documents/proposals that he has used in the past

Action: Craig to send on template proposal (removing any sensitive information) for the Foundation to share with anyone interested.

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