“It’s not structured like a class, rather an open workshop based on what the kids themselves indicate they want to explore as they go along.”
Together with Code Savvy founder Rebecca Schatz, they launched the first CoderDojo in Minnesota to provide free and open computer programming education for kids ages 10 – 16. As part of a global movement, the aim is to proactively to eliminate gender and socioeconomic barriers to computer science by providing a no-cost way for young people to experience programming early on in their lives.
Gray, Schatz, and over a dozen volunteers spent the better half of Saturday afternoon hands on at Clockwork Interactive Media Systems with 24 local kids. Spread across three categories — Python/Minecraft, Scratch and front-end — the group informally taught the basics of computer programming for hours.
It marked the first of four sequential Saturday’s as the official Coder Dojo Twin Cities kickoff.
“We plan to get this first chapter off the ground here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you started to see them pop-up in other cities and locations across the state,” Gray said.
“There are teachers, parents, and curious onlookers here…already conspiring.”
But in order to accommodate that demand, their mentor roster, 32 currently, is going to need to stay ahead. “We can attract all the kids we want, but mentors are the limiting factor,” Shatz says, “We’re ensuring that there’s no more than a 3:1 participant to mentor relationship.”
“Matching technology professionals with kids from the community through CoderDojo is incredibly rewarding to see in action,” expressed Gray. “Once we get through this first pilot, I expect that we’ll be doing one in the summer and again in the fall,” Schatz projects.