Global Mentors Rock Up for DojoCon 2013 - 2nd Annual Conference to Exchange Ideas to Sustain Youth Coding Movement
Swapping strings of code for the strings of a guitar, James Whelton, co founder of CoderDojo, joined Slane Castle owner, Henry Mountcharles, in a palpable air of excitement and fun at the launch of the Global CoderDojo Mentor Conference, DojoCon 2013, in Slane Castle this week.
Now, in its second year, the conference aims to bring together the global network of mentors, California to Belgium and New York City to Sweden, to one space to explore cutting-edge technologies and exchange new ideas to help sustain and strengthen the CoderDojo movement, a volunteer-led club for providing free and open learning in programming technology to young people. There are now over 180 CoderDojos in 23 countries.
The conference, chaired by Una Fox from CoderDojo Los Angeles, has a number of distinguished keynote speakers including the Kerry entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly of Stockbyte fame, who 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", and Bill will be speaking on how CoderDojo can help fix this by inspiring a new generation of programmers to create apps and websites limited only by their imaginations.
According to the organisers, DojoCon is quickly becoming a highlight in the calendar for both existing and potential mentors, and there is a determination 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.
This year's schedule, which opens 12th April, 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, and the third stream is 'Running a Dojo' with tips and ideas on starting and sustaining a Dojo.
Additionally, there will be a number of panel discussions on mentoring and collaborating both locally and globally, and new for 2013, DojoCon is kickstarting the conference on Friday night with a series of 'Ignite talks'. These fast paced talks will set the scene for over a dozen thinkers, coders and educators who will have 5 minutes to inspire fellow mentors.
The conference is being organised by a group of volunteers from CoderDojo in Drogheda, Dundalk, Navan, and Dublin. Graham O'Rourke, who runs Drogheda based web designed agency, MOR Solutions, explained; "Drogheda was only the 4th Dojo in the country back in 2011 and now there are over 180 worldwide! The whole team of organisers are really excited about attracting more software professionals in towns all around the country to volunteer or start a Dojo and help more kids learn how to code."
Fellow organiser, Paul Browne, who started his career as a software developer before joining Enterprise Ireland, also continued; "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."
Mentors and potential mentors are invited to register for tickets and further information at http://conference.coderdojo.com
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