Mitchelstown's Coder Dojo creating the IT minds of the future
With all of the technology available to people, it is hard not to get caught up in it and for children growing up with things like apps, tablets, smart phones and smart TV's, it is only natural that some of them will develop a strong interest in the world of computing.
A local group for Coder Dojo was set up in Mitchelstown on a pilot basis this summer, so that young people who had an interest in computing, programming, software and gaming could meet up with each other, share ideas and learn more.
Supervised by a group of local volunteers in Bright Sparks in Mitchelstown on Saturday mornings between 9am and 11am, the children aged between 7 and 16 can come along with their laptop and get lost in the digital world for two blissful hours.
Every week, there would have between ten and twenty people and so far and the group has proven to be very popular as a different outlet for young people.
Walking around the group on Saturday morning last, it was clear that each of them was passionate about what they were doing, but interestingly, they were all doing very different things.
Having studied New Media in college personally, I didn't learn how to build a website until my final year, but in Coder Dojo, there were kids working on html, creating cartoons, drawing buildings and playing games. One of the great things I saw, was when someone discovered something new or interesting, they all flocked around that person's computer to see what this exciting new thing was, so there is a strong shared learning environment being nurtured.
While there are a number of potential careers in the IT sector, this is just something fun for them to do on a Saturday, but what they learn in Coder Dojo will stand to them for the rest of their lives and from my brief tour of their computer screens, it was clear that there were some budding architects, animators and game designers present.
One of the supervisors, Des McCarthy said that some of the people from CORE Software have been really helpful and he said that the group is a great way for the young people to meet others with similar interests and it's a good way to make new friends.
There is a charge of €2 per person and this simply covers costs with €1 towards treats and snacks and €1 towards the heating.
Des explained that they didn't want to hold the group in a school, as they wanted it to be informal and fun and with wi-fi in Bright Sparks, it proved to be the perfect location.
With interest growing in Coder Dojo, the supervisors are hoping to get speakers in to talk about different topics of interest and show the kids how to do different things.
For those who are not sure what Coder Dojo is about, the supervisors are urging them to come along some Saturday morning, chat to them about what they do and just get a sense for the group.
Coder Dojo takes place in Bright Sparks in Mitchelstown on Saturday mornings between 9am and 11am to coincide with the school year.
Friday 13th December 10:02am