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CoderDojo is an international community of free, volunteer-led coding clubs for young people. The focus is on peer-to-peer learning, tutoring and self-motivated learning.

EDUCATIONAL LEVEL (age)

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ANALYSIS OF INNOVATION

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1. PROBLEM THAT THE INNOVATION TRIES TO SOLVE

At a time when Europe is suffering mass unemployment, technology companies are facing a critical shortage of talented ICT experts. This contradictory picture highlights the mismatch between the skills offered and the demand. According to the European Commission, there will be a shortage of up to 900,000 ICT professionals by 2020.

The aim of CoderDojo is to provide young people with the knowledge of ICT that they need to become confident creators of their own digital future. 

CoderDojo also takes away the feeling of isolation of many young programmers, who tend to be self-taught and self-employed. The clubs, named Dojos, making coding fun and a social, collaborative activity.  

2. WHAT SOLUTION IS PROPOSED?

Since the first Dojo was set up in Cork in 2011, CoderDojo has been working to facilitate the creation of free coding clubs for young people and to promote a self-motivation system, peer-to-peer learning of ICT skills and the autonomous creation of digital media all over the world. 

One of the main goals of the Hello World Foundation  (http://helloworldfoundation.com) is to support the CoderDojo community. Since 2013, it has implemented, among other things:

  • Zendesk e-mail support and customer communication service.
  • Forum administration, such as the CoderDojo Google Organisers Group.
  • Community support, by sharing learning and information resources through the Kata knowledge base.
  • Social media support on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
  • Administration of Zen, the Dojo database.
  • Support for individual members of the community.
  • Creation of a CoderDojo Community Committee.

3. HOW DOES THIS SOLUTION WORK?

CoderDojo is a worldwide community of free, volunteer-led coding clubs for young people. Its focus is on peer-to-peer learning, tutoring and self-driven learning, with an emphasis on open-source and helping others. 

Its aim is to show how coding can be a force for change in the world.

An important aspect of CoderDojo is promoting creativity and having fun in a social setting. CoderDojo makes learning to program and developing programs a fun, positive experience.

A Dojo is an independent, volunteer-led club created in a local community that is part of the CoderDojo network. It is organised by a CoderDojo master and his team of mentors and volunteers. In the Dojos, youngsters from seven to 17 learn how to code, develop websites, applications, programs and games and explore technology.

As well as learning to program, the members meet like-minded people and can show off what they are working on. There is no standard Dojo and the activities vary by club, generally based on the skills of the mentors who are helping there. However, each Dojo shares the CoderDojo ethos and focuses on showing young people how to code, develop software and explore technology by working with others and showing off their work.

To become a registered Dojo, the Dojo Master must agree to the CoderDojo Ethics Charter.

4. IMPACT INDICATORS AND RESULTS

As this is a new, rapidly growing organisation, it is difficult to measure the impact that it will have when the CoderDojo students become adults. However, the impact of CoderDojo can be measured in a variety of ways.

First, there are 380 Dojos, all over the world. This clearly shows that there is a huge demand for the initiative. On average, 30 young people regularly attend Dojos for weekly or monthly sessions. In Ireland, CoderDojo currently has more than 100 Dojos, in which some 3,000 children take part each month.

Second, the scope of the project can be seen from the inter-annual growth of the annual CoderDojo competition, which displays the most interesting projects. In 2011, 20 participants demonstrated their projects; in 2012 there were 63 projects. This year 150 projects are expected to be entered.

Another way of measuring the impact of CoderDojo is from its growth on social media. It currently has 10,800 followers on Twitter, an average growth of 250 followers a week, and an estimated 284,670 views. Last month it received 1,400 tweets on Twitter. There are also 5,000 followers on Facebook, with an average growth of 150 a week.

5. INNOVATION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Rapid international growth.
  • Strong international brand recognition.
  • Strong presence on global media (BBC International, The Guardian, EuroNews, Wall Street Journal and so on).
  • Driven by a dedicated support community.
  • Open Source: free to everyone.
  • Focus on inclusion and strengthening social skills.
  • Network of volunteers.
  • Promotes peer-to-peer learning and self-driven learning.
  • Emphasis on learning code that is applicable to solving real-world problems.

6. GEOGRAPHICAL AREA

The first Dojo opened in Cork, Ireland in June 2011. Since then more Dojos have opened in Ireland and there are 380 dojos in 43 countries. See map.

There are now networks all over the world, including Europe, USA, Canada, Haiti, Japan, Hong Kong and Africa, where the first AfriCoderDojos were recently launched in association with the US State Department.

Regional networks have been formed, such as CoderDojo Italy  and CoderDojo Belgium.

In Spain there are six Dojos and it is hoped to build up and expand the Spanish network.

7. INCOME MODEL

The revenue comes from payments for services by users, government subsidies and philanthropic donations. The foundation that supports it depends on philanthropic and corporate donations. This foundation focuses on support, scale and empowerment for CoderDojo around the world.

Most Dojos require a zero budget or very little funding to operate. The meeting places are donated free of charge and the volunteers offer their time to guide the members; donations of equipment are received frequently. Where a Dojo has needed funding, the amounts have been small (€300 per annum for insurance or similar).