Community Committee Meeting Minutes – 6th September

6th of September Community Committee Meeting            

Date: September 6th 2016 Time: 19:00 – 20:00 IST

 

Attendees:

  • Pete O’Shea – CDF, Docklands Dojo (IE)
  • Giustina Mizonni – CDF, Docklands Dojo (IE)
  • Ross O’Neill – CDF, Docklands Dojo (IE)
  • Eugene McDonagh – CoderDojo Ireland
  • Josh Westguard, Washington DC Dojo US
  • John Harrington – CoderDojo CMX
  • Carmelo Presicce – Bologna CoderDojo, CoderDojo Italia (IT)
  • Bettina – CoderDojo Belgium
  • Rob Curran – CoderDojo England & Wales

 

Agenda:  

Time Topic Who
19:00 – 19:30 Review of CoderDojo Foundation strategy CDF – Giustina
19:30 – 20:00 Structure & Future of Community Committee CDI – Eugene

 

 

Agenda Item 1:

Review of CoderDojo Foundation Strategy

Giustina: Giustina welcomes all members of the committee to the call. Giustina presents the CoderDojo interim strategy; and how based on feedback this year’s version is more refined and streamlined in comparison to the previous strategies released to the community.

 

Three core areas have been defined:

 

  1. Enablement – equipping and empowering all volunteers to ensure that they have the necessary tools, supports and knowledge to start, join and sustain Dojos and that all ninjas have access to the best tools available.
  2. Engagement  –  cultivating a global connected community by creating opportunities to share and learn from each other.
  3. Scaling – Growing the movement through a number of interventions to deliver the CoderDojo vision of every child in the world having the opportunity to learn about technology and how to code in a safe, free, fun and social club-based environment.

 

**Giustina opens the floor for feedback on the strategy.**

 

Rob: Stated he felt it was a nice fresh approach, and likes how the strategy also looks after the Dojo’s who are already on the ground/established. He stated that it addresses both the new Dojos and regions, but also focuses on producing the content that targets the Dojos who are already running, that are quite mature and who want to know what they can expect next. Overall he felt it was a good strategy.

 

Giustina: Thanks Rob for his thoughts, and stated the goal was to keep it conscience, clear and easily understandable by all community members.  It was iterated that enablement was clear, it focused on tools such as zen and content, required to start, but to also sustain Dojos. Engagement is really centred on the global community, how we can make a volunteer in Madagascar feel as much a part of the community as a Dojo in Dublin, as they are close to the Foundation base. It also centers on the two main events (DojoCon and Coolest Projects). The aim is to focus more on ninja engagement and to create that Alumni feeling of people who want to give back to CoderDojo. Who have gained something from CoderDojo. Mentioned a survey conducted of ninjas from the first 10 Dojos, where the overwhelming majority stated their perceptions of STEM changed because of the opportunities they gained from the movement.

 

Scaling, sustaining and scaling, as Rob rightfully said “you can go and have thousands of volunteers set up thousands of Dojos, but if they all drop off after 6 months that’s no use to anyone”, not to the ninjas in the area, or to the community or the partners involved, I think everyone here wants CoderDojo to be sustainable in the long term and of course still get succession in Dojo’s which is normal, but how we can support that.

 

Carmelo: Stated he liked the framing of the strategy.  The enabling , engaging and scaling are three really good ways to frame the support that the community expects from the foundations.  

 

Carmelo: Questioned what 3 areas are priority for the Foundation.

 

Giustina:  Explained they were ranked in terms of priority. For example within enablement there are probably thousands of things that we could do, so these 3 areas are the 3 areas within enablement. For us the big priority for us, for this last quarter of the year is better integration and user experience of the platform. Our ultimate aim is by the Summer next year, someone in the community won’t know if they are on Zen, or Kata, they don’t really care. they can just go and find whatever they need. It’s about more integration of everything, rather than having multiple sites duplicated.

 

John: Questioned on where communication fits into the strategy.

 

Giustina: Explains the broad communication strategy. Our work to the community and to stakeholders is within all pillars. But communications to the community is centred on engagement, its maintain a multifaceted communications strategy. Weather that’s social media, online, or whatever tools we do use. We do cover that in depth in the document we break people down by stakeholder group.

 

John: Requests more information on the current communication plan.

 

Giustina: Explains she will send on the communications table along with the strategy document when it is finalised (end of September). She explained the focus has been and will continue to be, to be able to communicate with everyone but to make sure that everyone knows how to communicate with us. To make everything seamless and straightforward.

 

John: Questioned about regionalisation and direct comms to parents and how these differentiate.

 

Giustina: It is based on multi faceted channels, so we have our strategy with each different stakeholder. So CoderDojo is in 63 counties, we have community members who follow us across multiple channels across those countries. So what we then also have is regional bodies, and regionalisation is hugely important, they serve to provide localised support and knowledge to local Dojos in those regions. But what we also don’t want to do is over-burden the regional bodies, for them to have to disseminate also and as a result of this we do have  a specific strategy for them. For example every month regional bodies will get an email rounding up core CoderDojo news, events, content and it will go to regional leads. They will then be asked to disseminate that through their channels at an appropriate time, because they might also have one newsletter that they send every month, but we’ll also continue to disseminate everything through the global channels as well. So they kinda run side by side it’s not either or.

 

John: Ok, great.

 

Carmelo: Question on the core challenges that the foundation is currently facing in each of the 3 pillars? How can the committee help these defined needs.

 

Giustina: the core challenges are:

 

  • Where to find the info and making that easy to find – Kata and UI/UX update.
  • Communications – Community platform Zen, working regional bodies.
  • Scaling: keeping the Coderdojo ethos and model pure while scaling – the E-learning modules are focusing on this.

 

Carmelo: Agrees with the scaling issues, quality of the content is also important.

 

Giustina: Slides will be be email to the group after the board meeting next week with the .  So, if anyone has any additional feedback a that comes to them after this settles please come to us, we are always open to feedback.

 

Agenda Item 2:

Structure & Future of Community Committee

 

Giustina: Gave a brief overview of the history of the community committee, started three years ago with terms of reference agreed on 2.5 years ago. Since then significant growth has occurred in CoderDojo (320%). Engagement of the Committee has been sporadic, and there have been four calls during the time (excluding this call) discussing the structure of the committee. Regionalisation was unknown at the time of the terms of reference. Now 6 regional Licences signed with groups with an additional 7 in the pipeline.

 

The outcome that we are seeking is ending the call with a clear vision of what the committee looks like.

Covered 4 suggested structures for the committee:

  • Fully open committee: Runs a set amount of times a year covering timezones, e.g 4 calls each completed twice to cover EMEA & non EMEA.
  • Regional Body Committee: Committee made up of representatives from regional bodies (formal and informal) globally. Individuals from regions w/o regional bodies can nominate representatives.
  • Annually Elected Committee; Open nominations and surveyed elections based on geographical region.
  • Global Feedback: Include the global community in determining the future of Community Committee through conducting a survey.

 

Asked for an open discussion from the floor.

 

Eugene: Covers why the committee was originally established; to run ideas via the group and get feedback before making any changes to the way CoderDojo has been run. We haven’t seen that to date. Eugene enquired where the content for the e-learning came from. Eugene also agreed with yearly elections, but felt membership should remain at 20 based on numbers of Dojos globally and an increase email engagement within the committee was encouraged.

 

John: Expressed that he previously asked for a formal answer around if the community calls decided on what the priority, should become a for the foundation, would that become a priority for the foundation? Also expressed that he struggled  with its meaningfulness as an entity, why are we here? to do what? what is our purpose?

 

Giustina: Stated that there was previously a number of calls for feedback on E-learning, it was discussed on the last call, and a number of committee members had given feedback (Carmelo, David), additional community members had tested it and given feedback during Summer after open calls on social media, forums etc.  Guistina also stated that increased engagement on email was initially sought but never achieved over the past three years.

 

Giustina:  Requested if other members of the community committee on the call had any feedback.

 

Rob: Expressed that when the committee was first started there was a clear purpose and how there was talk on how the group would scale as a result. As a member of a regional group we have regular calls with the Foundation in terms with what we are trying to achieve. Regional groups have a role to play in terms of the growth in the region. I feel that I definitely have a closer relationship with the foundation as a regional group. The committee call should be for those members of the movement that don’t have a voice as a region. We need to open it up for them to have a chance to do this. Going forward this body has to add value over what we get out of the foundation as a region.

 

John: At one stage we looked at an open door policy for others to join and an open agenda. I don’t know where that one went. And another thing is you’re gonna find that once you have a consensus around the subject matter and it’s driven by the grassroots and through regions you’re not gonna get the attendance because people have no interest in a 3 person point of interest rather than that majority.

 

Giustina: So far this year, Pete, Rosa or Ross have had over 300+ calls 1-1 calls with new and existing Dojos. We don’t dictate calls to Dojos, it’s done on a need basis if someone feels they want to talk through an issue or needs support or guidance.

 

John: How many Regions are there and where?

 

Giustina: Gives update on the regional licences signed (CoderDojo Turkey, CoderDojo Netherlands, CoderDojo Western Australia, CoderDojo Indiana and CoderDojo Japan, an MOU with Spain and the ones in the pipeline are Romania, Belgium, Germany, New South Wales, Canada and Ireland.

 

**Giustina Open up the floor again**

 

Carmelo: Expressed how he understands the frustration of members of this committee, as there are some who would like to impact the direction of the foundation, and understand the Foundation need to work in an agile manner. The way I use the committee is to give my personal opinion on that needs to be done. There are two issues that Carmelo that are currently present:

 

  • One, how can we improve the role of the community in the strategy making it a really open movement?
  • Two, what the structure of the committee should be to be fully representative.

 

Having something open, gives people the opportunity to participate, I think it can be a better open model, I avoid formalities as it is on me and others feel like that they cannot get involved. I am also frustrated in talking about the community committee, for example let’s talk about a pillar at a time to vote for eg. Communication, it is a way for the foundation to reach out, Then we can decide on an action/actions at the end of these calls/meetings.

 

Giustina: Agreed and mentioned that there have been members that do not wish to engage in discussions on the structure of the committee and won’t join if its an agenda item. Everyone wants to be on these calls to be able to contribute to the community at large rather than discuss structure and formalities.

 

Josh Westguard: A lot of my thoughts have been said, there is tension in it being a representative or an advisory body. I view it as a channel to provide feedback, where I can give back.  It should not control the foundation but to provide feedback and guidance. He noted his view was just his and did not represent a group of Dojos.   

 

**Rob had to leave the call but he agrees with Carmello, that we need more defined calls/discussions. Nesen joins, Giustina runs through the minutes.**

 

Nesen: Discusses Zen from a Turkish perspective and notes some improvements that can be made.

 

Eugene: Stated that now he understands that members of the group don’t feel they represent groups of Dojos rather just themselves. So the structure and purpose can be viewed differently.  It should be a place to get honest feedback from the community about contentious issues. We need to look at the breakdown at the moment.

 

Giustina: Talked through the committee attendance document, stating that there has never been more than 7 on a call. We can have an open call and facilitate it better. There are actions that can make that happen to keep the committee inclusive ect.

 

John: Expressed that he was not in favour of a voting system, expressed he would wish to know is expected from members and what is going to be discussed. Not sure of the progress we made, we spent a lot of time talking about the committee itself. I look forward to seeing more tangible actions/take aways from these meetings.

 

Giustina: Asks what should the proposed next steps be?

 

Eugene: Suggests we write up the options and vote on it and expressed that based on today’s call that the original vision he had for the committee is not what exists currently where the members are representing their region.

 

**ACTION**- Giustina to share a document with the committee outlining options.  Documents to be sent to the committee by tomorrow closing of business on the 7th of September.

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Seamus O'Neill says

EU Code Meeting in Brussels: Seamus O'Neill, founder in 2012 of CoderDojo Navan and soon to retire from CDojo Mentoring. I'm also driven to see Irish mainstream education use 21st century methodology. I have met members of the Foundation from time to time both in Dublin and at READY STEADY CODE workshops for teachers in Navan Education Centre, so I don't need to go in to detail.

CodeWeek will soon be upon us and I'm delighted that Navan Education Centre has at last received the small boost of a 3000 euro Google (EU CodeWeek grant) to advance the cause of teacher training in 18 education centres. We also have submitted an application for a much larger grant with SFI . Fingers crossed.

The following story of my trip to Brussels last Tuesday should be of interest to you. The readysteadycode.ie web site has a link to the web cast of the debate. Your representative spoke and in my tuppence worth, I mentioned my involvement with CoderDojo and how it plays a part in driving my ambition for kids' learning.

I arrived back from Brussels on Tuesday evening after a day trip at my own expense to hear the views of EU CodeWeek Ambassadors, among them a CoderDojo representative, the Irish CodeWeek Ambassador (Mags Amond CESI) and two other Irish attendees. It was a debate entitled 'Make every week a CodeWeek'. It was great to open the mind and hear the view points of broad-minded professionals. For my part, it meant that I travelled out and back same day to Brussels for a two hour event consisting of about 40 people. I really enjoyed it and it was well worth the trip. The participants are voluntary, highly motivated, positive, determined, actively engaged etc. As one Italian participant put it in his summary, we need to define what we mean by 'Coding' (and it's not computer programming.)

I spoke about Ready Steady Code (comparing it to a 21st century pen and paper - an alternative,
complementary way to do maths, using Scratch code to correlate Scratch with the normal way we do maths. Teachers have no problems with pencils, pens and copybooks in the classroom. Neither should they have a problem with Coding a.k.a RSC. If teachers don't want it, it's optional! There's nothing else like RSC and it's easy once we risk taking a look at what it is. What's not easy is trying to get the right attention from people who believe that they can do something about it!

I was very happy at the positivity toward RSC in Tuesday's gathering, and that's what made the day worthwhile. CoderDojo is running into problems with parent turn-over after 5 years (our Dojo is and so are many more Dojos). It would be wise of the Foundation to know and your active support for RSC would benefit all kids (girls, boys and special needs) and consequently CoderDojo kids.

Navan Education Centre is running both a 5-night course and an information workshop on Moday 17th October at 7:00 pm. Go to http://goo.gl/wzDCvM or go to https://goo.gl/NiGzgo for updated info. CodeWeek is your opportunity!