Giustina Mizzoni is unequivocal when she says CoderDojo’s aim is to bring coding to every child in every school – and, with a growing worldwide presence, this cool project is well underway.
Mizzoni has been working with the CoderDojo Foundation for two-and-a-half years now, having been approached by co-founder James Whelton while he was based in Dublin’s Dogpatch Labs. As development lead, she cultivates relationships with the foundation’s global partners and alliance members — the perfect role for a woman passionate about social entrepreneurship, and reaching out to both children and businesses.
Mizzoni also helped to set up the Docklands Dojo, which welcomes children from around the Dublin docklands area and Sheriff Street to the CHQ building every Wednesday to learn coding in a fun, informal environment.
One thing she would like to see is more girls attending the Docklands Dojo, and this has been on the agenda across the Dojo network, which averages about 30pc participation from girls worldwide.
A fun, social, informal way to learn
The dream of bringing CoderDojo sessions like this to young people around the world may sound ambitious, but Mizzoni sees little difference between this and the establishment of sports clubs in school environments.
“It’s important that every child is exposed to coding in some shape or form at school,” she said.
“It’s like [the way] you might learn football in your PE class in school and, if you got a real interest for it, you’re going to go and join a football club, and that’s what CoderDojo is. It’s fun, it’s social, it’s informal learning. There’s no curriculum. It’s about kids learning what they want to learn and building what they want to build, so it’s entirely different to a school environment.”
CoderDojo Coolest Projects
To date, CoderDojo has established 700 clubs in 57 countries, reaching a grand total of 30,000 kids. But the vision for this foundation is for thousands of clubs and, potentially, millions of kids learning to code.
Mizzoni is also part of the implementation team behind the 2015 CoderDojo Coolest Projects Awards, which will be held in the RDS, Dublin, on 13 June. Each year, this awards ceremony celebrates the best projects created by the talented young CoderDojo coders, with previous winners including Niamh Scanlon and Lauren Boyle.
CoderDojo will be running a workshop on the closing day of Inspirefest 2015, Silicon Republic’s international event running 18-20 June in Dublin, connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.