There was a palpable air of excitement and fun at the launch of the Global CoderDojo Mentor Conference in Slane Castle this week. Swapping strings of code for the strings of a guitar, James Whelton, co founder of CoderDojo joined Henry Mountcharles at his famous rock venue to announce the conference, which aims to bring together the global network of mentors to one space.
Founded as a volunteer-led club for providing free and open learning in programming technology to young people, the global CoderDojo movement now has over 180 CoderDojos in 23 countries where kids can have fun learning to code in a safe environment.
Now, in its second year, DojoCon 2013 will provide mentors from across the globe the opportunity to exchange new ideas, explore cutting-edge technologies and share ideas on sustaining and strengthening the CoderDojo movement when the conference opens on April 12th.
The global conference, which will be held in Drogheda & Slane Castle, at the heart of the Boyne Valley, will be chaired by Una Fox, from CoderDojo Los Angeles
The conference has a number of distinguished keynote speakers. These include Jerry Kennelly, an award-winning entrepreneur who started as a photojournalist in Co. Kerry and sold his company (Stockbyte) when it had grown to over 10 per cent of the market for Royalty free photo’s worldwide. Jerry will share his passion for IT in education and the work he is doing with schools country-wide. .
Another keynote will be Bill Liao, co-founder of CoderDojo and an early investor in the social networking site XING. As Bill recently told the EU Parliament “The World has a shortage of Coders”. Bill will be speaking on how CoderDojo can help fix this, in the process inspiring a new generation of programmers to create apps and websites limited only by their imaginations.
This year’s schedule will feature more than 12 formal and 10 informal sessions with talks covering three main streams. The first stream is Education which will discus new techniques and how CoderDojo differs from the school approach. The second is Technology where mentors will learn about Advanced Scratch, robotics, gaming, audio and more. The third stream is Running a Dojo with tips and ideas on starting and sustaining a Dojo. In addition, there will be a number of panel discussions on mentoring and collaborating both locally and globally.
New for 2013, DojoCon is kickstarting the conference on Friday night with a series of ‘Ignite talks’. These fast paced talks in an informal setting will set the scene for the weekend. Over a dozen thinkers, coders and educators will have 5 minutes to inspire fellow mentors.
DojoCon is quickly becoming a highlight in the calendar for both existing and potential mentors. There is a determination among the conference organisers to make it as successful as possible in terms of all the mentors getting to know each other, looking at firm ways of taking the movement to the next level, and agreeing on further inter-dojo collaboration.
The conference is organised by a core group of volunteers from CoderDojo in Drogheda, Dundalk, Navan, and the Science Gallery, Dublin. Graham O’Rourke explains “Drogheda was only the 4th Dojo in the country back in 2011 and now there are over 180! The whole team of organisers are really excited about having Dojos from California to Belgium and New York City to Sweden in Drogheda for the weekend. We hope it will attract more software professionals in this area and in all towns around the country to volunteer or start a Dojo and help more kids learn how to code.”
Paul Browne, another organiser continues “We’ve come through an amazing growth phase with CoderDojo – it’s really met a need out there. To make it sustainable, we need to share what works, while keeping the buzz that has made it so successful.”
In keeping with the ethos of the movement, the organisers of the DojoCon are all volunteers from CoderDojo Drogheda, Dundalk, Science Gallery, Navan & DkIT. They would like to thank it’s many supporters including Henry Mountcharles of Slane Castle, Dundalk Institute of Technology, RTE Digital, Louth Local Authorities, the Hello World Foundation, Enterprise Ireland and all our volunteers and supporters from across the global movement.
Mentors and potential mentors are invited to register for tickets and further information at http://conference.coderdojo.
For more information contact:
Tel: 087 8342693