Highlights of our #ChatDojo Discussion – October
On 22 October, we held a two-hour #ChatDojo Twitter Chat. This was a lively session where community members had the opportunity to share feedback and answer questions. We’d like to thank everyone who took part and also share some key findings from the discussion.
Topics of interest
We conducted a poll on Twitter and in our Facebook group in advance in order to find out what topics would be of interest. The most popular suggestions were:
- Increasing the percentage of girls in Dojos
- Online courses and training
- Fundraising and sponsorship
Questions and responses
Q1. Tell us about your Dojo
We always kick off our Twitter Chats with a general question, so that everyone involved can get to know each other. There was a great mix of older and newer Dojos represented, including five clubs that have been running for 6+ years! Volunteers also shared how their Dojo group sizes ranged from 6 to 85 Ninjas — wow!
Q3. What type of learning resources do you use in your Dojo?
Many volunteers reported using the Raspberry Pi projects site, while others shared how they create their own resources such as this example by CoderDojo Dingle. David from Cape Town also shared an awesome progression pathway that he has developed for his Dojos.
— :David Campey (@davidcampey) October 22, 2019
Q6. What skills do volunteers learn at your Dojo that they don’t in other places?
This question earned the most engagement. Amanda from Ireland shared how the parents at her Dojo become involved over time, and end up gathering skills of their own. “Accidental networking” and connecting over shared goals was also mentioned as a positive side-effect of running a Dojo.
A6. Our volunteers mainly parents, learn stuff unbeknownst to them. They have become dab hands at connecting to the wifi using hotspots when there are issues, something they would never had done. Connecting to projectors, figuring out how to save pictures from internet etc
— Amanda O'Keeffe (@MandieOK) October 22, 2019
One of the by products of mentoring is the accidental networking that occurs – parents from diverse backgrounds and skills come along and we all get to interact where everyone is on the same level – no hierarchy- CoderDojo is a great leveler and really sociable #chatdojo
— CoderDojoClon (@CoderDojoClon) October 22, 2019
Sanneke from the Netherlands shared how learning news skills needn’t be scary. This is something that many non-tech mentors are faced with when trying coding for the first time!
A6. I'll ask them! I can only say that I've learned that learning new skills that seemed scary at first is not scary at all#ChatDojo
— Sanneke (@angelonmychest) October 22, 2019
CoderDojo Clon highlighted how their team have made strides in making their Dojo more accessible, as a result of supporting young people with disabilities. Our Accessibility Guide is also available to support the CoderDojo community in this mission.
CoderDojo is a great place for kids with different challenges – at @CoderDojoClon we are proud to be Autism Friendly Champions with @AsIAmIreland. Teaches us to be aware of different needs of our young coders & provide a space to chill when needed and shine when ready #chatdojo
— CoderDojoClon (@CoderDojoClon) October 22, 2019
Nadia from Iraq shared how some mentors at her Dojo have gained confidence so much that they now receive invitations to host training sessions! You can read more about upskilling your Dojo volunteers here.
A6: #ChatDojo technical skills including programming and using hardware. Soft skills including team work, presentation and build their confidence. I had female trainers who couldn’t even speak in public, now they got invitations to give training outside our clubs.
— Nadia (@nadiaali3000) October 22, 2019
Q9. Do you do anything special at your Dojo to ensure that girls feel included?
Many volunteers cited using role models as a way to keep girls coming back. Chinedum from Nigeria mentioned a female youth mentor at his Dojo who taught herself HTML and continues to inspire the younger girls.
Jessica developed herself in HTML and we made her youth mentor, we allow her to lead sessions. Others #girls are inspired by her leadership qualities.
— Chinedum Ugorji (@UgorjiChinedum) October 22, 2019
Brian — who runs a Dojo in Russia — shared how his Dojo use gender-neutral themes in their projects. Making sure girls’ voices are heard, and having female role models in place, are also themes he spoke of.
A9. When we have girls we make sure they get priority for help and encouragement and one of our regulars is doing a great job as a junior mentor with the new girls. But we're trying to avoid having girl-themed or boy-themed activities. #ChatDojo
— Brian Matthews (Браин Мэттьюс) 🇮🇪🇷🇺 (@bmatthews68) October 22, 2019
You can find more information about how we are increasing the percentage of girls in CoderDojo here.
Q11. Has your Dojo taken part in any competitions or events? What have Ninjas or mentors learned by taking part?
Several volunteers mentioned how their Ninjas have taken part in Coolest Projects in the past, and hope to do so again! The event is open to children of all levels and abilities and the dates for Coolest Projects 2020 can be found here. Peter from Ireland also shared that he’s been encouraging his Ninjas to get involved in the CoderDojo Boo Challenge — the deadline is 12 November, so hurry!
We haven't really taken part in external competitions/events yet. We are only about 2 years old so I am hoping its just early days. I've been encouraging/talking about @coolestprojects whenever I can in sessions & we tried to encourage taking part in #BOOChallenge
— Peter Heylin (@pheylin) October 22, 2019
Thanks to all of those who took part in our Twitter Chat on 22 October. It was wonderful to see so much discussion amongst participants and insights shared. Our next #ChatDojo will take place in the new year — so watch this space!