Meet your Champions
“I have no coding experience myself, I am just a facilitator of opportunities”
This month, Rostrata Primary School opened its doors to 95 Ninjas!! Because of the huge demand, they had to split their Dojo into three separate sessions! I caught up with Champion Terry Keesing to ask some questions about his Dojo experience:
What has been the best part of setting up your Dojo?
The best part of setting up a Dojo is seeing the excitement generated by the children while working on their projects. The ninjas are very focused and love the interaction amongst themselves and the free choice they have to work on whatever they want. Is also great to see the girls getting involved in large numbers, and being involved in projects such as robotics. The parent mentors have been helpful and the Dojo has a nice warm community feel about it.
What has been the most unexpected part of the Dojo experience so far?
The most unexpected part was the large number of children wanting to be involved. We didn’t want to turn anyone away, so with 95 Ninjas enrolled, the number of Dojos increased to three. The Dojos run before school from 7.30 to 8.30 three mornings a week.
Any advice for new Champions?
My advice to Champions is: don’t worry about starting a Dojo! I have no coding experience myself, I am just a facilitator of opportunities. I think a little bit of structure is good, but have plenty of opportunities to explore available. For example, I have a web page with hyperlinks to different coding sites. This gives Ninjas an idea of what’s available to them. Mbot robots are fantastic for construction and purposeful coding, and Raspberry Pi and Raspbian are a cheap and great way to encourage coding projects.
You don’t have to know about these things though! The Ninjas work together to solve their own problems, and that is the real value of running a Coder Dojo.
Parent mentors can be a great addition to your Dojo. At CoderDojo WA we strongly recommend appealing to your parent/grandparent/guardian community through newsletters, emails and notes home. Many Dojos make BYO adult obligatory, with fantastic results 🙂
Congratulations Karen! (Again!)
Earlier this year, our very own Karen Wellington was the recipient of a Westpac Social Change Fellowship from the Westpac Foundation on the basis of her work for CoderDojo WA and the Fogarty Foundation, helping the WA community to form computer programming clubs for children.
The fellowship supports people from all sectors with the drive to create better lives for all Australians, and is designed to give recipients “time and space to develop the skills, knowledge and networks they will need to bring their idea to life. This may involve travel study tours, work experience, research or building stronger connections that will directly enhance their ability to lead their project” www.bicentennial.westpacgroup.com.au.
For the fellowship, Karen hopes to travel to various locations around the world to learn about other cross-sector digital literacy programs, how they achieve results and how they scale; all with the intention of bringing her learning back to Perth to improve WA’s own digital landscapes.BACK TO BLOG