CoderDojo Dún Laoghaire ninjas have made the most of this unusually short term – curtailed by an unusual amount of snow which prevented some of our normal sessions taking place. Nevertheless, we expect to have a high participation in Coolest Projects (as in previous years), and with a bit of luck, lots of hard work, and support of our fantastic mentors, hopefully we might have yet another winner this year, which would make a 4th straight year of a CoderDojo Dún Laoghaire ninja walking away from Coolest Projects with a prize!
This would be no mean achievement given that there are in excess of 750 entries from over 15 countries at Coolest Projects, which this year is on the slightly earlier date of 26th May in Simmonscourt at the RDS. At the original event in 2012 there were 19 entries, so we have come a long way!
The CoderDojo movement has grown from strength to strength from the early dojos of 2011; the significance of this idea was picked up in 2012 by founder Sandra Maguire, and with the help of founding mentors Francis Reed and Harold Perez, along with the important support of IADT, CoderDojo Dún Laoghaire started off in January 2013. To date we have introduced several hundred children in the area to coding.
CoderDojo Dún Laoghaire has played, and continues to play a big part in CoderDojo nationally and internationally; we hosted DojoCon, the annual global CoderDojo community conference in Dun Laoghaire in 2016; also mentor Toby Mole (who has recently moved to Athlone) was awarded a prize at the DLR Community Volunteer Awards in December 2016; Harold Perez was one of 3 people shortlisted nationally in 2016 for his work with young people; Sandra Maguire is on the board of CoderDojo Ireland and on the Implementation team of Coolest Projects, and Francis Reed has also recently joined the Coolest Projects Implementation team. Toby has been one of the Coolest Projects team managers so we hope he’ll make his way back from Athlone this year! Ger Cregan also deserves credit having given time for the last few years as a Coolest Projects Volunteer as well as being a committed CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire mentor. We have several other wonderful mentors, and whilst we encourage the children to mentor each other, realistically we could not run our Dojo sessions without our great adult mentors!
In CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire we put a strong emphasis on equality of females in technology, and we have a fantastic example of this in Vanessa Greene, who has been studying Creative Computing in IADT and is yet another member of the Coolest Projects Implementation Team. It is so important for our young ninjas to see females as “normal” in technology, and Vanessa is a wonderful role model for them. We are delighted to have had Ella, another IADT student, join us recently, and would encourage other would-be mentors to apply to work with us via www.coderdojodo.com
Tickets for Coolest Projects on Saturday 26th May are available at www.coolestprojects.org – free for ninjas entering projects plus a free ticket for their accompanying parent, €11.15 for other adults; free for other under 18s general admission – possibly the most inspiring day anyone interested in technology will see all year!