The purpose is to provide a safe and fun learning program for girls (ages 8‐16) to explore coding.
The brainchild of Margaret Mahan, Program Director for Rebecca CoderDojo, the idea was conceived at the memorial service for former executive director of Code Savvy, Rebecca Shatz, who passed away in July.
Named in her honor, this Code Savvy initiative is to commemorate her lasting inspiration for encouraging kids to explore technology and become innovators.
CoderDojoTC, Code Savvy’s first CoderDojo initiative, has continued to grow since its launch in 2013. Last year CoderDojoTC held 18 events with 1,531 student registrations and 857 unique students, 34% of which were new. The program also had 634 mentor registrations with 239 unique mentors, 20% of which were new.
The students wrote code for 3,000 hours and volunteers donated 1200 hours of their time — while a mere 28% of participants (mentors & students alike) identified as female.
According to Jean Weiss, Executive Director of Code Savvy, “We recognized a need for a CoderDojo just for young women because the level of engagement of young women has been lower than we expected. The girls need an environment where they feel confident and can really dig into the material without fear of being judged by the boys.”
Planning to hold one event per month beginning on 2/27, Code Savvy is anticipating that the events will fill up quickly and there may be waiting lists until they are able to expand from the two classrooms at MCTC. Each room will host 25 girls where they’ll be learning Scratch and AppInventor. They are planning to include additional programming languages and be able to accept more coders possibly as early as this summer.
Currently one of the restrictions to expanding is the number of mentors available. Having received a high level of interest from the students of MCTC to help with mentoring, Rebecca CoderDojo expects to have a ratio of one mentor to every five girls, hoping to eventually reach a ratio of one mentor for every three coders.
She explains that mentors can be at any level of programming experience or no experience at all; so you don’t need to be an expert programmer to be a great mentor. They can volunteer for the events they are available for, but are required to participate in the entirety of the events they do sign up for.