New CoderDojo a hit with Dublin 15 kids

14 May 2012

Pictured, from left at the first CoderDojo at ITB were: Joshua Richardson, Diarmuid Fallon, Keelynn O'Brien, Katie Sheehan, Ailish O'Brien, Maliya Tadjine and Luca Ursache. Image credit: Andres Poveda

Kids from Dublin 15 were out in force on Saturday for the latest CoderDojo coding club at Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB).

The club is now into its third week at the institute.

Ivo Brett from Telefónica Ireland and Colm Ahern from Enterprise Registry Solutions decided to start the ITB club.

It was just last summer that teen programmer James Whelton came up with the idea for CoderDojo after he finished his Leaving Cert. The movement grew from there when he set up the clubs with internet entrepreneur Bill Liao.

Ahern said that there are three more weeks to run at the current ITB CoderDojo but he said that the aim is to start another Dojo in the near future.

At such Saturday morning clubs kids come each Saturday for two and a half hours to get mentoring on learning how to code and develop websites, apps, programs and games.

Ahern said that he had three eight year olds learning to code in his room.

“The average age would be 12, and about a third of the participants are girls. They’re getting really excited about learning about special effects and understanding things such as cascading style sheets (CSS),” said Ahern.

“Some of the kids are so imaginative, deciding to do their geography projects online. They’re really starting to show off their HTML skills, despite having only started the classes three weeks ago.”

He said that on the first Saturday morning class there were 17 mentors to 43 aspiring coders.

“That was a great ratio to have, but we’re also on the lookout for more mentors to volunteer of their time,” said Ahern.

Callan Steffesan from Blanchardstown pictured at the first CoderDojo at ITB. Image credit: Andres Poveda   
Callan Steffesan from Blanchardstown pictured at the first CoderDojo at ITB


Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic