Community spotlight: Milos from the Microsoft Dublin Dojo

Please meet Milos, he is the CoderDojo champion of the Dublin Microsoft Dojo! Milos has been involved in the CoderDojo movement for the last 4 years as a mentor in the Dublin Microsoft Dojo. We asked him to tell us about hosting the Dojo at Microsoft and what the kids are learning.

“I was involved in the Microsoft Dublin Dojo from its inception, and am currently a Champion for this year. In my day-to-day job I work as a software development engineer in the Microsoft Office team in Dublin. I started to volunteer because I believe that we need to promote coding as a skill to young people. Seeing kids getting excited about different projects they work on and showing me what they have developed is always a learning and rewarding experience for me. Helping them advance their ideas can be a challenging as well as a rewarding task.

We host sessions every 2 weeks in Microsoft Ireland, South County Business Park, Leopardstown. The events are hosted in different breakout rooms where we cover different technologies. Average attendance is around 30 kids (with parents). We have mentors from Microsoft’s European Development Center, EMEA Operations and Irish Subsidiary. One of our previous Ninjas, who is now in college, has started mentoring at the Dojo.

In the Dojo our biggest group of Ninjas develop projects in Scratch. Our older and more experienced Ninjas learn how to create websites using HTML/CSS/JavaScript, learn Python. We try to support kids learning about any coding language they are interested in. We are looking to introduce development on devices in the near future.

Our group of Ninjas are not only made up of children of Microsoft employees , but also kids from the local community.

Microsoft event to mark EU Code Week of Coder Dojo.
Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2016

We run our dojos during the school term. At the beginning of the term we try to have a special event where we showcase some cool technologies, introduce Dojo to the new Ninjas. At the end of each term we try to have a presentation of all the different projects with healthy refreshments and free goodies for the kids. We also try to create a “buzz” around other events like “EU Code week”, “Hour of Code” and “Coolest Projects” competition.

Microsoft event to mark EU Code Week of Coder Dojo. Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2016

All the events are free for kids and parents and they can start at any point during the school term. Different groups within Microsoft have generously supported over the years by providing free goodies for the kids, organizing special events, or even sponsoring our trip to European Parliament in Brussels where we took our Ninjas for Special EU Code Week event.”

“I volunteer at the Microsoft Dojo because it’s such a rewarding experience and no two weeks are the same! I never leave the Dojo without learning something new and I get to see, first hand, how creative and persistence the next generation is!” says mentor Jessica Mahone.

Many Dojos are set-up, run and supported by companies across Ireland. Larger organisations often  have spaces and resources to sustain a Dojo. Engaging your staff and encouraging them to get involved is a great place to start.

If you are interested in learning more about starting a Dojo in your office please contact us:

[email protected]

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