Unleashing Innovation: The launch of CoderDojo Annecy
Annecy CoderDojo in France, recently held its very first Dojo session. There were 18 attendees and 8 mentors participating in the Dojo. It was a dynamic community of bi-lingual French / English speakers with 6 Australians, 3 English and 9 French kids all collaborating together to discover how they can bring their ideas to life. Ideas that these innovative creative thinkers worked on ranged from building a strategic video game, an event app, a music app and how to make moving images.
Below, Sylvia Andre, the Champion of Annecy CoderDojo, tells us about how she initially decided to set up a Dojo in her local area, and the range of benefits starting a Dojo has had for the wider community in Annecy.
Annecy CoderDojo was started by 4 working mums (2 Australians, 1 English and 1 American) who had children really interested in technology and were looking for a way to learn more. Annecy is the world capital for film animation where blockbuster films are traded, released globally and celebrated with a week long festival. So from a young age, kids here are exposed to animation, stop motion and creativity in a digital environment. The four of us mums came together because we were all searching at the same time for a way to help our kids learn more about coding and how they could bring their digital ideas to life.
By pure coincidence – I had read an article about CoderDojo and went to the website to find a CoderDojo in the region. When I discovered there was none already started here in Annecy, I decided to start one based on the information I read on the website. It was relatively simple to get the programme up and running by just following the guide to starting a CoderDojo. I was at a Christmas lunch explaining to a colleague that I was about to start CoderDojo annecy. He informed me that his wife was also planning the same thing. So after a phone conversation with his wife, we set up a meeting and began planning out what we would need to launch. Given that we are both working mums, we brought in two other working mums and the team of four of us used our local connections to get the venue, technical mentors and kids.
The process from starting to discuss and launch took about 5 months and given that we are all expats with no family support, building this community to help our children has really formed some strong bonds between the local french and the expat community. It has been really interesting for the children and adults to experience the benefits of cultural diversity, working together and supporting each other to make these kids dreams happen and give them confidence and excitement on their ideas. This buzz is spreading locally…I am getting contacted for other kids and mentors to join. We are going to run as we are until the end of June and re-assess what our needs will be over the summer and then in September we are looking to expand the group.
Coderdojo Annecy will continue to meet every Friday evening at the highly creative and technical co-working space, Les Papeteries which promotes and supports tech start-ups in the region.