Celebrating 5 years of CoderDojo
Today, July 23rd marks the 5th Birthday of CoderDojo! CoderDojo has come a long way since it was started by James Whelton and Bill Liao at the National Software Centre in Co. Cork, Ireland. James and Bill’s dedication to inclusiveness and foresight, to make the model open source, has enabled the movement to grow exponentially. Since that first Dojo, the movement has become truly global with more than 1096 Dojos in 63 countries around the world.
In the last 5 years, CoderDojo has reached more than 45,000 young people, with approximately 35,000 youths currently participating in a Dojo regularly. These ninjas, because of the work of our community of volunteers, have developed programming skills and confidence empowering them to be creators of technology as opposed to solely consumers.
This year’s CoderDojo Coolest Projects was our largest to date with over 13,000 attendees traveling to the RDS, Dublin to see projects completed by 750 youths attending Dojos in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Romania and Italy among others. While seeing these young people present and discuss their ideas with others it was evident that through CoderDojo, they have developed a lot more than coding and technology skills.
Improving Tech Diversity
Technology has itself developed dramatically since 2011, just look at how Snapchat has grown since it was created in the same year! Tech has become intertwined in almost all aspects of our daily lives. Therefore, CoderDojo’s aspirations for every child to have the opportunity to learn the skills for them to be able to create and develop tech projects in a free, creative environment is more important than ever. Despite the growth in the sector, many technology companies and areas still lack diversity, with women and minorities being significantly underrepresented. CoderDojo strives to bridge these gaps. Last year 31% of attendees were girls. Making coding more accessible is still a priority five years on; in terms of Dojos being free, increasing and sustaining the number and spread of Dojos, and its focus on Dojos being fun and youth-led.
The CoderDojo Foundation was formed 18 months after the first Dojo with the core and central mission of supporting and scaling CoderDojo globally. In its lifespan, the team has undertaken large projects such as the redevelopment of our community platform, the re-imagination and expansion of Dojo resources (sushi cards). We’ve maintained an average response time to all community support requests under 30 hour including weekends and out of office hours and even found time to work with Egmont Publishers and Clyde Hatter on our first book CoderDojo Nano.
“Today, the movement enters a new and exciting phase of its life, reflecting on the past five years makes me incredibly proud to be part of this vibrant community. It also makes me very excited for what the future holds for the movement. At the Foundation we are firmly focused on three areas to achieve our vision, enabling the movement through developing and curating tools and resources, engaging the movement through connecting the community with events like DojoCon, Coolest Projects and scaling the movement through partnerships and initiatives so that ultimately every child can have the same opportunity of learning to code, create and have fun in a safe and social environment! A huge thank you to every child, parent, volunteer, host and sponsor who has been involved so far, a giant welcome to all new community members who are going to join us in the next 5 years! ” – Giustina Mizzoni CoderDojo Foundation
Changing Tech; Same Ethos
The original “rules” sheet still hangs in the first Dojo, that children are attending today and continuing to learn new skills and developing websites, apps, games and hardware projects. Bill Liao, CoderDojo Co-founder and Champion of the first Dojo, had this to say:
“In the five years since we started we are still going strong and we are proud that CoderDojo has not just inspired over a thousand other dojos around the world, it has also inspired other coding movements and all from a start in Cork’s NSC and we love that it is all still free to all!”
While all the Dojos run independently in 63 different countries globally, they all have one thing in common and that’s encouraging young people between 7 and 17 years old to learn how to code in a fun, free and inclusive space. This birthday would not have been reached without the Champions, Mentors and other volunteers who are the backbone of CoderDojo. We hope, with all your help, to continue to inspire young coders at their local Dojo.