New Years Resolution: Start a Dojo!

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to feel motivated and set goals to not only improve your own life but also empower those around you. CoderDojo is a volunteer led movement with people, just like you, setting up fun, creative technology clubs to inspire and support young people in their local area. You don’t even need any experience with technology to start a CoderDojo club. So what are you waiting for?

Make 2018 the year you organise a fun, free coding club to enable children you know to be creators of technology and not just consumers!


A lot of study has gone into what makes people more likely to achieve their new year’s resolution. See how you can make sure you successfully start and run a CoderDojo club (Dojo) this year with these useful tips:

1) Include others

We are much more likely to keep a resolution if we recognise it as being important to others. Commit to starting a Dojo with someone you know can strengthen this effect. Co-championing a Dojo with a friend or colleague ensures you have each other for support and to share out tasks to see it through!

Starting a Dojo is a great way to help young people gain confidence in such an important skill for the future. You along with one or more volunteers is the perfect way to start helping children create their own websites, apps, games, while learning how to work in a team and present their ideas! What could be more motivating than seeing children light up as they type their first line of code or create their first program and knowing you played a pivotal role in it?

2) Spread the word

Making your resolution to start a Dojo public will keep you motivated and add to your resolve. It will also highlight your efforts to others in your area who might want to get involved and support the CoderDojo club by volunteering or donating equipment. Why not share your goal to start a Dojo on Twitter or Facebook?

“I am pledging to start a fun, free @CoderDojo club in my local area to help young people to #createwithcode this January. Join me! http://dojo.soy/NewYearDojo #PledgeADojo ”

Tweet: I am pledging to start a fun, free @CoderDojo club in my local area to help young people to #createwithcode this January. Find out more and join me: http://dojo.soy/NewYearDojo #PledgeADojo

3) Break down into steps

Making detailed resolutions is important. Even more so is setting out steps to implement your goal. As part of the Start a Dojo process on the CoderDojo website we’ve set out all the steps to get you started, such as selecting a time to run your Dojo, finding a venue and organising some people in your area to help volunteer at the club.

 

4) Make your resolution part of your long-term plan

The best resolutions are the ones that are part of longer-term plans. So if you’ve a long-term plan to learn a programming language, why not use running a Dojo as an opportunity to start by helping beginners with Scratch or HTML and meeting people involved in the sector through your team of volunteers?

Start a CoderDojo club in your area!

Finally, making sure you avail of all the learning resources, eLearning modules and Foundation support you need will enable your Dojo to develop and grow into something really empowering for yourself and beneficial to your local area. We are here to support you, so if you have any questions you can ask on our community forums or directly by emailing [email protected]

 

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Fiona moylan says

Would like to start a club in my school but i haven't a clue about programming. Help!

Amy O'Meara says

Hi Fiona

Thanks for getting in touch and for your interest in CoderDojo! It’s great to hear your enthusiasm and eagerness to start a Dojo in your school.

Firstly, the main thing you need to start a Dojo is a suitable venue in a public space, such as a library, community centre or office. A space within the school would be perfect.You will also need laptops/computers, tables, chairs and power outlets as well as number of young people who are eager to learn!

Regarding your concerns about not being familiar with coding, don’t worry!There are a number of things you can do to remedy this:

-It is possible for you and your team of volunteers (if you have some other adults on board) to learn a little code, which you can then teach to your Ninjas! We have a wealth of free, comprehensive resources on our website including a basic introduction to Scratch, Python and Javascript among others. All of these resources are designed for beginner level and upwards. Many Champions and Mentors in our community familiarise themselves with these resources in advance of their Dojo to Beginner’s level and then apply this knowledge to their sessions. I would recommend starting off with Scratch, which is a fun, visual programming language. Naturally we appreciate that time is of the essence with our volunteer community, but you’d be surprised what you can pick up after a few short exercises! What we also find is that the young people progress very quickly and often end up teaching themselves (and each other) after a few sessions. You can find all of our online resources, including coding exercises, tutorials and guides for Champions/Mentors on our wiki Kata page here: http://kata.coderdojo.com/wiki/Home_Page

-Another thing you can do is to actively seek volunteers (Mentors) with some knowledge of coding to support you in your Dojo. This can be an adult or indeed, a young person. Try asking around the parents or guardians of prospective Ninjas, some of them may already be keen to get involved, but aren’t sure how. We also have a guide on how to look for Mentors here: http://kata.coderdojo.com/wiki/Find_Mentors_and_Volunteers

The best thing to do when planning the content of a Dojo is to keep it quite simple in the beginning. It’s amazing what you can pick up after a few exercises. So I’m sure you will be fine ?

Here is the page to start a new coding club (Dojo) for whenever you are ready: https://coderdojo.com/start-a-dojo/

I will be here to help you with any support queries you may have, you can get in touch at [email protected]

I hope that this has been helpful!

Best wishes,

Amy