CoderDojo @ Barclays Technology Centre

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On the 8th October I travelled to Barclays Technology Centre at Radbroke in Knutsford just south of Manchester. I had the pleasure of a nice and early flight and arrived at the venue just after 9am with loads of time to setup. I was really impressed with the space as we had 3 large display walls, a full sound system and loads of tables for kids.

Attending were Over 80 children from local schools and children of Barclay’s staff. I took the younger group and ran through a simple shark chasing a fish game with them for the first hour.  Jacob Clark from the Manchester Dojo took the older group to create a webpage in HTML5. After the mentor lead session I left the kids off to work there magic and see how they could customise either the game we had started or some other more advanced games we had on handouts. They had guidance  from Barclays staff, parents and CoderDojo Manchester mentor Lisa and her husband.

3/4 way through we broke for food and Braclays just kept bring out Pizza  and the kids (big ones and all) just kept eating it.

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Even before all the food was gone I want back into the main room to find some kids back working on there games. I had said to the Barclays staff at the start that we would get kids up to present and they were aperiensive that we would have many volunteers however we had to limit it to 10 in the end as we could have been there all day otherwise.

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We had some very entertaining demonstrations and a few kids learnt the hard way not to make last second “Feature Improvements” to working code.

Here are a few words from the main organisers of the event:

Danielle Ramsbottom, Director at Hays Information Technology, who organised the event, said:

“It was fantastic to see how much the children enjoyed learning about coding, and how proud they were to show off the games and websites they had developed at the end of the session. As recruiters we see that skill shortages in IT are a real issue, and we hope that through events like these we can encourage more young people to try out coding and go on to consider studying and working in technology.”

Julian Bucknall, Service Development Manager, Barclays Technology Centre Radbroke said:

“This was a great opportunity to promote the importance of technology to the children in a fun and creative way.  The event provided an opportunity for parents and their children to work together through the challenges. Some of the children weren’t even phased by presenting their ideas back to everyone at the end – a skill many adults would admit to struggling with”.

I have to admit that the “Once off” event for me was a way to get Barclay’s interested in running there own Dojo. No mater how much you explain what it is like the best way to get a company or organisation hooked on CoderDojo is by getting them to see how much the kids enjoy it and how much energy there is in the room on an Dojo day. Julian has committed to running a quarterly event to start off with however I think there were a few parents in the room that will ramp that up quickly.


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