We partner with organisations around the world to bring coding activities to young people in their regions through Code Club and CoderDojo. Currently involving 54 organisations in 43 countries, this Global Clubs Partner network shares our passion for educating kids to create with technology.
We work to connect our Global Clubs Partners to foster a sense of community and encourage collaboration. As part of this, we run in-person meetups to allow our partners to get to know each other better, and to help us understand how we can best support them, and what we can learn from them. Previously held in Penang, Malaysia, and Almere, the Netherlands, our latest meetup took place in Cape Town, South Africa.
Connecting through stories and experiences
Although we’ve seen some surprising points of commonality among all Global Clubs Partners, we also know that our partners find it helpful to connect with organisations based in their region. For the Cape Town meetup, we invited partner organisations from across Africa, hoping to bring together as many people as possible.
Our aim was to give our partners the opportunity to share their work and identify and discuss common questions and issues. We also wanted to mitigate some of the challenges of working internationally, such as time constraints, time zones, and internet connectivity, so that everyone could focus on connecting with each other.
The meetup agenda included time for each Global Clubs Partner organisation to present their work and future plans, as well as time for discussions on growing and sustaining club volunteer and mentor communities, strategy for 2024, and sharing resources.
“If the only thing rural communities have is problems, why are people still living there? … Rural communities have gifts, have skills, they have history that is wasting away right now; nobody is capturing it. They have wisdom and assets.”
Damilola Fasoranti from Prikkle Academy, Nigeria, talking about not making assumptions about rural communities and how this shapes the work his organisation does
A group dinner after the meetup enabled more informal networking. The next day, everyone had the chance to get inspired at Coolest Projects South Africa, a regional Coolest Projects event for young tech creators organised by partner organisation Coder LevelUp.
The meetup gave the Global Clubs Partners time to talk to each other about their work and experiences and understand one another better. It was also very beneficial for our team: we learned more about how we can best support partners to work in their communities, whether through new resources, information about funding applications, or best practice in overcoming challenges.
After attending a previous meetup, two of our partner organisations had decided to create an agreement for future partnership. We were delighted to learn about this collaboration, and to witness the signing of the agreement at this meetup.
By continuing to bring our partner network together, we hope to foster more cross-organisation partnerships like this around the world that will strengthen the global movement for democratising computing education.
Could your organisation become a Global Clubs Partner?
You can find out how your organisation could join our Global Clubs Partner network on the CoderDojo and Code Club websites, or contact us directly with your questions or ideas about a partnership.
Increasing access to computing education is a global challenge, and at the Raspberry Pi Foundation we take a global approach in addressing it. One way we do this is to partner with organisations around the world and support them to introduce Code Clubs and CoderDojos in their local or national communities.
Code Club and CoderDojo are the two global networks of free, volunteer-led coding clubs for young people that we support. They are a great fit for a lot of organisations that share our vision and values and work with young people from backgrounds that are currently under-represented in computing. Right now, our Global Clubs Partner network involves more than 50 organisations in over 40 different countries around the world. Seven new partners have joined us since August.
New members in the Global Clubs Partner network
We send a warm welcome to our seven new partners. Here is some of what they are working on:
CSEd Botswana is training 25 teachers in rural areas to run Code Clubs in their schools
Hacedores in Mexico is working towards establishing CoderDojos in their 80 makerspaces, and Code Clubs in the local schools of their community members.
Code Club Luxembourg is already running several clubs and also hosts a number of workshops each year to encourage children to carry on their coding journey by joining a Code Club or CoderDojo.
Light Into Europe works with the Deaf community in Romania. They plan to open up coding to children with hearing impairments through accessible Code Clubs, supported by interpreters and adults who are also deaf.
KIT Hub in Burundi have plans to establish CoderDojos to support children from underserved areas, including a sizable community of Congolese young people living in refugee camps in Burundi.
Orientations Training Centre in Sudan will be setting up clubs in Khartoum and Darfur, and they are planning a special passion for supporting young people to submit entries to the Coolest Projects online showcase in 2024.
Savanna Developer Network will establish CoderDojos in northern Ghana to narrow the income and infrastructure gap between the north and the south by ensuring that children in the north aren’t left behind in computing education.
We are really excited that these organisations have chosen to join the Global Clubs Partner network.
Benefits of partnering with us
When they join our Global Clubs Partner network, organisations work with us to grow the Code Club and CoderDojo communities around the world. Our Global Clubs Partners share our mission to enable young people to realise their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies, and they commit to working towards this mission with our support.
Our new partners are as glad as we are to have joined our network.
Abdelmoneim Mohammed of Orientations Training Centre in Sudan is excited by the impact Code Club will have on his young coders, telling us:
I expect this can help to make our citizens a global citizen, [by] learning from a well-established and developed educational system.
For Ethel Tshukudu of CSEd Botswana, it is the community focus and available support network that is important. She tells us:
The strong sense of community and the availability of mentorship opportunities are particularly appealing, as they ensure that CSEdBotswana can consistently access the support needed to enhance our coding clubs and create a more significant impact.
Our partner from KIT Hub in Burundi, Ferdinand Alimasi, values how establishing clubs promotes collective learning and engagement in the community. He says:
Education and preparation of [the] future workforce require collective work and responsibilities, so these clubs will bring the change in communities by offering opportunities to learn for kids and teens, as well as opportunities for everyone to be involved in building a better future for all.
What we learn from our partnerships
Our partners work in lots of different circumstances all around the world. A key learning for us is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to computing education. We support our partners to adapt and deliver our resources in a way that they know will best engage their learners. This highlights how important it is to work in a culturally sensitive way, and to prioritise providing opportunities for learners to use digital technology to make things that matter to them. That looks very different depending on where you are in the world, and who you are working with.
Through working with our partners, we also see just how much world events can impact the already unequal access young people have to learning new digital skills. Climate crisis events such as floods and wildfires, and political crises such as war, conflict, and changes in government have affected many of our global partners this year. The resulting closures of schools and other educational venues, electricity blackouts, and funding challenges cause further educational disadvantage to the children in the affected areas. Our partners play a key role in providing additional educational opportunities for young people when it is safe to do so.
The experiences and perspectives we’ve gained through our partnerships with global organisations are extremely important to us and our mission. They help to inform the work we do to make computing education truly accessible for all learners and educators around the globe.
Could your organisation become a Global Clubs Partner?
You can find out more about how your organisation could join our Global Clubs Partner network on the CoderDojo and Code Club websites, or contact us directly with your questions or ideas about a partnership.
A network of more than 40 partner organisations in over 30 countries works with us to grow and sustain the worldwide Code Club and CoderDojo networks of coding clubs for young people. These organisations, our Global Clubs Partners, share our mission to enable young people to realise their potential through the power of computing and digital technologies. We support them in various ways, and recently we invited them to two calls with our researchers to discuss new research findings about computing education in primary schools.
Supporting Global Clubs Partners with research insights
Global Clubs Partners work to train educators and volunteers, provide access to computing equipment, run clubs and events for young people at a local or national level, and much more. Our aim is to provide support that helps the Global Clubs Partners in their work, including tailored resources and regular group calls where we discuss topics such as volunteer engagement and fundraising.
Recently, we were excited to be able to highlight research from our newest seminar series to the network. This ongoing seminar series focuses on teaching and learning in primary (K-5) computing education. Many of the Global Clubs Partners work with schools or local education bodies — some partner representatives even come from a teaching background themselves. That’s why we hoped they would be able to use insights from the seminars in their work, whether with learners and educators directly, or to grow their network of Code Clubs or CoderDojos; we know this is easier for them when they can provide evidence to show why these programmes are so beneficial for young people.
Learning from Global Clubs Partners for our future research
We were also very interested to hear the Global Clubs Partners’ perspectives, as they work in a wide variety of contexts around the world. For example, would the research resonate the same way with an organisation based in Kenya as one based in Nepal? This kind of insight is useful for making decisions about our research work in future.
Each of the two calls featured a speaker from the research seminar series summarising their work and inviting attendees to share their own thoughts. We had some fascinating conversations; with partner representatives from seven countries across four continents, the discussions were a great showcase of the different experiences in our partner network. Dr Bobby Whyte, one of the speakers, noted: “Being able to share and discuss work within a global audience has been a really valuable experience.”
We found the opportunity to connect our partner network with work from other areas of the Foundation really beneficial, and the Global Clubs Partners did too: their feedback from the calls was uniformly positive. Dr Jane Waite, our Senior Research Scientist, commented that “it’s really important for us to share research with people in different contexts and so exciting to hear when findings resonate and can be used in practice.”
On 24 and 25 March, more than 140 members of the Code Club and CoderDojo communities joined us in Cambridge for our first-ever Clubs Conference.
At the Clubs Conference, volunteers and educators came together to celebrate their achievements and explore new ways to support young people to create with technology. The event included community display tables, interactive workshops, discussions,poster sessions, and talks.
Jane Waite from our team offered a taste of the research we do and how you can get insights from it to help you run your own coding club. Watch Jane’s talk to learn about the research that informs our projects for your club.
Rhodri Smith, who runs a Code Club, shared how you can use assistive technologies to open your club experience to more young people. Watch Rhodri’s talk for some fantastic tips on how assistive technology can make Code Club accessible to children of all ages and abilities.
Dave Morley, who volunteers at the CoderDojo at Royal Museums Greenwich, presented his way of using Scratch projects to keep engaging Dojo participants. Watch Dave’s talk for tips on how to create your own coding projects for young people.
Tim Duffey, who is part of the West Sound CoderDojo, shared how his Dojo ran successful online sessions during the coronavirus pandemic. Watch Tim’s talk for great advice on how to run successful coding clubs for young people online.
Steph Burton from our team presented new resources we’re working on to help clubs recruit and train volunteers. Watch Steph’s talk for tips on how to recruit new volunteers for your coding club.
Engaging young people in your club
Sophie Hudson, who runs a Code Club in rural Yorkshire, told us how her school’s Code Club turned taking part in Astro Pi Mission Zero into a cross-curricular activity, and how she partnered older learners with younger ones for peer mentoring that engaged new learners in coding. Watch Sophie’s talk to learn how you can get your school involved in Astro Pi, especially if you don’t have much adult support available.
Helen Gardner from our team shared how you can motivate and inspire your coders by supporting them to share their projects in the Coolest Projects showcase — even their very first Scratch animation. Watch Helen’s talk if you’re looking for something new for your club.
The benefits of Code Club and CoderDojo for your community
Fiona Lindsay, who leads a Code Club, presented her insights into the skills beyond coding that young people learn at Code Club, and she shared some wonderful videos of her coders talking about their experience. Watch Fiona’s talk to hear young girls talk about how to get more girls into coding, and for evidence of why every school should have a Code Club.
Bruce Harms, who is involved in AruCoderDojo, shared how he and his team are making the CoderDojo model part of their wider work to bring digital skills and infrastructure to Aruba. Watch Bruce’s talk to learn how his team has tailored their coding clubs for their local community.
What is volunteering for CoderDojo and Code Club like?
Marcus Davage, who volunteers at a Code Club, shared his journey as a volunteer translator of our resources, and how he engaged colleagues at his workplace in also supporting translations to make coding skills available to more young people across the world. Watch Marcus’s talk if you speak more than one language.
To end the day, we hosted a group of community members onstage to have a chat about their journeys with CoderDojo and Code Club, what they’ve learned, and how they see the future of their clubs. Watch the panel conversation if you want inspiration and advice for getting involved in helping kids create with tech.
Thank you to everyone who gave talks, ran workshops, presented posters, and had conversations to share their questions and insights. It was wonderful to meet all of you, and we came away from the Clubs Conference feeling super inspired by the amazing work Code Club and CoderDojo volunteers all over the world do to help young people learn to create with digital technologies.
We learned so much from listening to you, and we will take the lessons into our work to support you and your clubs in the best way we can.
Welcome to 2023. I hope that you had a fantastic 2022 and that you’re looking forward to an even better year ahead. To help get the year off to a great start, I thought it might be fun to share a few of the things that we’ve got planned for 2023.
Whether you’re a teacher, a mentor, or a young person, if it’s computer science, coding, or digital skills that you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered.
Your code in space
Through our collaboration with the European Space Agency, theAstro Pi, young people can write computer programs that are guaranteed to run on the Raspberry Pi computers on the International Space Station (terms and conditions apply).
Astro Pi Mission Zero is open to participants until 17 March 2023 and is a perfect introduction to programming in Python for beginners. It takes about an hour to complete and we provide step-by-step guides for teachers, mentors, and young people.
Make a cool project and share it with the world
Kids all over the world are already working on their entries to Coolest Projects Global 2023, our international online showcase that will see thousands of young people share their brilliant tech creations with the world. Registration opens on 6 February and it’s super simple to get involved. If you’re looking for inspiration, why not explore the judges’ favourite projects from 2022?
While we all love the Coolest Projects online showcase, I’m also looking forward to attending more in-person Coolest Projects events in 2023. The word on the street is that members of the Raspberry Pi team have been spotted scouting venues in Ireland… Watch this space.
I am sure I wasn’t alone in disappearing down a ChatGPT rabbit hole at the end of last year after OpenAI made their latest AI chatbot available for free. The internet exploded with both incredible examples of what the chatbot can do and furious debates about the limitations and ethics of AI systems.
With the rapid advances being made in AI technology, it’s increasingly important that young people are able to understand how AI is affecting their lives now and the role that it can play in their future. This year we’ll be building on our research into the future of AI and data science education and launching Experience AI in partnership with leading AI company DeepMind. The first wave of resources and learning experiences will be available in March.
The big Code Club and CoderDojo meetup
With pandemic restrictions now almost completely unwound, we’ve seen a huge resurgence in Code Clubs and CoderDojos meeting all over the world. To build on this momentum, we are delighted to be welcoming Code Club and CoderDojo mentors and educators to a big Clubs Conference in Churchill College in Cambridge on 24 and 25 March.
This will be the first time we’re holding a community get-together since 2019 and a great opportunity to share learning and make new connections.
Building partnerships in India, Kenya, and South Africa
As part of our global mission to ensure that every young person is able to learn how to create with digital technologies, we have been focused on building partnerships in India, Kenya, and South Africa, and that work will be expanding in 2023.
In India we will significantly scale up our work with established partners Mo School and Pratham Education Foundation, training 2000 more teachers in government schools in Odisha, and running 2200 Code Clubs across four states. We will also be launching new partnerships with community-based organisations in Kenya and South Africa, helping them set up networks of Code Clubs and co-designing learning experiences that help them bring computing education to their communities of young people.
Exploring computing education for 5- to 11-year-olds
Over the past few years, our research seminar series has covered computing education topics from diversity and inclusion, to AI and data science. This year, we’re focusing on current questions and research in primary computing education for 5- to 11-year-olds.
As ever, we’re providing a platform for some of the world’s leading researchers to share their insights, and convening a community of educators, researchers, and policy makers to engage in the discussion. The first seminar takes place today (Tuesday 10 January) and it’s not too late to sign up.
And much, much more…
That’s just a few of the super cool things that we’ve got planned for 2023. I haven’t even mentioned the new online projects we’re developing with our friends at Unity, the fun we’ve got planned with our very own online text editor, or what’s next for our curriculum and professional development offer for computing teachers.
As part of our mission to enable young people to realise their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies, we work in partnership with organisations around the globe to grow and sustain the Code Club and CoderDojo networks of coding clubs for young people. These organisations are our global clubs partners, and they undertake activities including training educators and volunteers, providing access to equipment, and running clubs and events for young people at a local or national level.
Meeting in the middle
Given that many people at the Raspberry Pi Foundation are based in the UK and Ireland, and that meeting in person has been restricted during the coronavirus pandemic, our work to connect with the global clubs partners network has largely taken place via video calls these last years. We don’t only connect with partners one to one, we also link them to each other so they can share insights, approaches, and resources. Video calls offer a unique opportunity for bringing together partner organisations located all over the world, but they provide a very different experience to building community in person.
With a network of 41 organisations in 35 countries, meeting in person requires careful consideration so we can accommodate as many partners as possible. That’s why we decided to hold several regional meetups in 2022 to make it feasible for all partners to join at least one. In October, a meetup took place in the Netherlands, coinciding with DojoCon Netherlands run by local partners. Our most recent meetup happened in early December, the day before the Coolest Projects Malaysia 2022 event,in Penang on the west coast of Malaysia.
At the December meetup, we welcomed participants from 10 partner organisations across Asia, Oceania, and Africa. This group spent a whole day building connections and sharing their work with each other. Together we covered several areas of interest, including volunteer recruitment, training, and recognition — all crucial topics for organisations that rely on volunteers to support young people. Meet-up participants shared resources, discussed how to sustainably grow networks, and planned for the future. The next day, participants had the chance to visit Coolest Projects Malaysia to find even more inspiration while seeing local young people showcase their own tech creations.
Although it was only one day, the impact of the meetup has been clear. As we had hoped it would, feedback from the partner organisations was very positive and revolved around community and learning, with participants expressing “feeling better connected” and “interconnectedness”, as well as “learning a lot” and “sharing best practices”. One participant even volunteered to host a future meetup, saying “Next year I would like to run this in my country.”
Here at the Foundation, we very much share these sentiments. Ellie Proffitt, Code Club Global Partnerships Manager, said: “It was great to see our partners sharing how they support their clubs with each other and bouncing new ideas around. I think we all left feeling very inspired.”
Looking to the future
After the success of these in-person meetups in 2022, we and our global clubs partners are looking forward to future opportunities to work together. Planning for 2023 is of course well underway, with creative, ambitious projects and new partnerships in the pipeline. We all feel renewed in our commitment to our work and mission, and excited for what’s on the horizon. In the words of Sonja Bienert, Senior Community Manager: “Through this collaboration, we’ve reached a new level of trust that will positively influence our work for a long time to come.”
You may have heard a lot about coding and how important it is for children to start learning about coding as early as possible. Computers have become part of our lives, and we’re not just talking about the laptop or desktop computer you might have in your home or on your desk at work. Your phone, your microwave, and your car are all controlled by computers, and those computers need instructions to tell them what to do. Coding, or computer programming, involves writing those instructions.
If children discover a love for coding, they will have an avenue to make the things they want to make; to write programs and build projects that they find useful, fun, or interesting. So how do you give your child the opportunity to learn about coding? We’ve listed some free resources and suggested activities below.
If you have a young child under about 7 years of age, then a great place to begin is with ScratchJr. This is an app available on Android and iOS phones and tablets, that lets children learn the basics of programming, without having to worry about making mistakes.
Code Club World
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has developed a series of activities for young learners, on their journey to developing their computing skills. Code Club World provides a platform for children to play with code to design their own avatar, make it dance, and play music. Plus they can share their creations with other learners.
“You could have a go too and discover Scratch together. The platform is designed for complete beginners and it is great fun to play with.”
Carol Thornhill, Engineering Science MA, Mathematics teacher
For 7- to 11-year-old children, Scratch is a good way to begin their journey in coding, or to progress from ScratchJr. Like ScratchJr, Scratch is a block-based language, allowing children to assemble code to produce games, animations, stories, or even use some of the add-ons to interact with electronic devices and explore physical computing.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has hundreds of Scratch projects that your child can try out, but the best place to begin is with our Introduction to Scratch path, which will provide your child with the basic skills they need, and then encourage them to build projects that are relevant to them, culminating in their creation of their own interactive ebook.
Your child may never tire of Scratch, and that is absolutely fine — it is a fully functioning programming language that is surprisingly powerful, when you learn to understand everything it can do. Another advantage of Scratch is that it provides easy access to graphics, sounds, and interactivity that can be trickier to achieve in other programming languages.
Our Python resources cover the basics of using the language, and then progress from there. Python is one of the most widely used languages when it comes to the fields of artificial intelligence and data science, and we have resources to support your child in learning about these fascinating aspects of technology. Our projects can even introduce your child to the world of electronics and physical computing with activities that use the inexpensive Raspberry Pi Pico, and a handful of electronic components, enabling your kids to create a wide variety of art installations and useful gadgets.
“Trying Python doesn’t mean you can’t go back to Scratch or switch between Scratch and Python for different purposes. I still use Scratch for some projects myself!”
Tracy Gardner, Computer Science PhD, former IBM Software Architect and currently a project writer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation
“Our new project paths can be tackled by young creators on their own, without adult intervention. Paths are structured so that they build skills and confidence in the early stages, and then provide more open-ended tasks and inspirational ideas that creators can adapt or work from.”
Rik Cross, BSc (Hons), PGCE, former teacher and Director of Informal Learning at the Raspberry Pi Foundation
The Web is integral to many of our lives, and we believe that it is important for children to have an understanding of the technology that drives it. That is why we have an Introduction to the Web path that allows children to develop their own web pages, focusing on the kinds of webpages that they want to build, be that sending a greeting card, telling a story, or creating a showcase of their projects.
Coding clubs are a great place for children to have fun and become more confident with coding, where they can learn through making and share their creations with each other. The Raspberry Pi Foundation operates the world’s largest network of coding clubs — CoderDojo and Code Club.
“I have a new group of creators at my Code Club every year and my favourite part is when they realise they really can let their imagination run wild. You want to make an animation where a talking pineapple chases a snowman — absolutely. You want to make a piece of scalable art out of 1000 pixelated cartoon musical instruments — go right ahead. If you can code it, you can make it ”
Liz Smart, Code Club and CoderDojo mentor, former Solutions Architect and project writer for the Raspberry Pi Foundation
Once your child has learnt some of the basics, they may enjoy entering a coding challenge! The European Astro Pi Challenge programme allows young people to write code and actually have it run on the International Space Station, and Coolest Projects gives children a chance to showcase their projects from across the globe.
No matter what technology your child wants to engage with, there is a wealth of free resources and materials available from organisations such as the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Scratch Foundation, that prepare young people for 21st century life. Whether they want to become professional software engineers, tinker with some electronics, or just have a play around … encourage them to explore some coding projects, and see what they can learn, make, and do!
Author: Marc Scott, BSc (Hons) is a former Science, Computer Science, and Engineering teacher and the Content Lead for Projects at the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
We love being able to share how young people across the world are getting creative with technology and solving problems that matter to them. That’s why we put together a series of films that celebrate the personal stories of young tech creators.
For our next story, we met up with young digital maker Jay in Preston, UK, who wants to share what coding and robotics mean to him.
Watch Jay’s video to see how Jay created a homemade ventilator, Oxy-Pi, and how he’s making sure people in his local community also have the opportunity to create with technology.
Jay (11) wants everyone to learn about programming. At a young age, Jay started to experiment with code to make his own games. He attended free coding groups in his area, such as CoderDojo, and was introduced to the block-based programming language Scratch. Soon Jay was combining his interests in programming with robotics to make his own inventions.
“My mission is to spread the word of computing and programming, because not many people know about these subjects.”
When he found out about Coolest Projects, our global tech showcase where young creators share their projects, Jay decided to channel his creativity into making something to exhibit there. He brought along a security alarm he had built, and he left Coolest Projects having made lots of new friends who were young tech creators just like himself.
“With robotics and coding, what Jay has learned is to think outside of the box and without any limits.”
Biren, Jay’s dad
While Jay has made many different tech projects, all of his ideas involve materials that are easily accessible and low-cost. Lots of his creations start out made with cardboard, and repurposed household items often feature in his final projects. Jay says, “I don’t want to spend much money, because it’s not necessary when you actually have an alternative that works perfectly fine.”
One of Jay’s recent projects, which he made from repurposed materials, is called Oxy-Pi. It’s a portable ventilator for use at home. Jay was inspired to make Oxy-Pi during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this project is especially important to him as his dad was hospitalised during this time. With his digital making approach, Jay is an example to everyone that you can use anything you have to hand to create something important to you.
Digital making has helped Jay express himself creatively, test his skills, and make new friends, which is why he is motivated to help others learn about digital making too. In his local community, Jay has been teaching children, teenagers, and adults about coding and robotics for the last few years. He says that he and the people around him get a lot from the experience.
“When I go out and teach, I love it so much because it’s really accessible. It helps me build my confidence, it helps them to discover, to learn, to create. And it’s really fun.”
Using tech to create things and solve problems, and helping others to learn to do the same, is incredibly important to Jay, and he wants it to be important to you too!
Help us celebrate Jay and inspire other young people to discover coding and digital making as a passion,by sharing his story on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Today we bring you the sixth film in our series of inspirational community stories. It’s wonderful to share how people all across the world are getting creative with tech and solving problems that matter to them.
Our next community story comes from Drogheda, Ireland, where a group of programmers set up the second ever CoderDojo coding club for young people. One of that Dojo’s attendees was Cian Martin Bohan, whose story we’re sharing today.
“I can’t create anything I want in real life, but I can create anything I want on a computer.”
Cian Martin Bohan
Watch Cian’s video to find out how this keen programmer went from his first experience with coding at his local CoderDojo as an 11-year-old, to landing a Software Engineering apprenticeship at Google.
Cian (20) vividly remembers the first time he heard about CoderDojo as a shy 11-year-old: he initially told his dad he felt too nervous to attend. What Cian couldn’t have known back then was that attending CoderDojo would set him on an exciting journey of creative digital making and finding life-long friends.
Right from the beginning, the CoderDojo gave Cian space to make friends and develop his coding skills and his curiosity about creating things with technology. He started to attend the Dojo regularly, and before long he had created his own website about the planets in our solar system with basic CSS and HTML.
“I made a website that talked about the planets, and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. In fact, I actually still have that website.”
Cian Martin Bohan
In over 6 years of being part of his CoderDojo community, Cian was able to share his passion for programming with others and grow his confidence.
From meeting like-minded peers and developing apps and websites, to serving as a youth member on the Digital Youth Council, Cian embraced the many experiences that CoderDojo opened up for him. They were all of great benefit when he decided to apply for an apprenticeship at Google.
As someone who didn’t follow the university route of education, Cian’s time at CoderDojo and the mentors he met there had a profound impact on his life and his career path. His CoderDojo mentors always encouraged Cian to learn new skills and follow his interests, and in this way they not only helped him reach his current position at Google, but also instilled in him a steady desire to always keep learning.
The future is limitless for Cian, and we cannot wait to hear what he does next.
Help us celebrate Cian, and inspire other young people to discover coding and digital making as a passion, by liking and sharing his story on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
As so many CoderDojos around the world, our office-based CoderDojo hadn’t been able to bring learners together in person since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. So we decided that our first time back in the Raspberry Pi Foundation headquarters should be something special. Having literally just launched the new Raspberry Pi Build HAT for programming LEGO® projects with Raspberry Pi computers, we wanted to celebrate our Dojo’s triumphant return to in-person session by offering a ‘LEGO bricks and Raspberry Pi’ activity!
Back in person, with new ways to create with code
The Raspberry Pi Build HAT allows learners to build and program projects with Raspberry Pi computers and LEGO® Technic™ motors and sensors from the LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Portfolio.
What better way could there be to get the more experienced coders among our Dojo’s young people (Ninjas) properly excited to be back? We knew they were fond of building things with LEGO bricks, as so many young people are, so we were sure they would have great fun with this activity!
For our beginners, we set up Raspberry Pi workstations and got them coding the projects on the Home island on our brand-new Code Club World platform, which they absolutely loved, so their jealousy was mitigated somewhat.
Being able to rely on your learners’ existing skills in making the physical build leaves you a lot more time to support them with what they’re actually here to learn: the coding and digital making skills.
We wanted to keep our first Dojo back small, so for the ‘LEGO bricks and Raspberry Pi’ activity, we set up just four workstations, each with a Raspberry Pi 4, with 4GB RAM and a Raspberry Pi Build HAT on top, and a LEGO Education SPIKE Prime set. We put eight participants into teams of two, and made sure that all of them brought a little experience with text-based coding, because we wanted them to be able to focus on making projects in their own style, rather than first learning the basics of coding in Python. Then we offered our Ninjas the choice of the first two projects in the Introduction to the Raspberry Pi Build HAT and LEGO path: make Pong game controllers, or make a remote-controlled robot buggy. As I had predicted, all the teams chose to make a robot buggy!
Teamwork and design
The teams of Ninjas were immediately off and making — in fact, they couldn’t wait to get the lids off the boxes of brightly coloured bricks and beams!
Our project instructions focus primarily on supporting learners through coding and testing the mechanics of their creations, leaving the design and build totally up to them. This was evidenced by the variety of buggy designs we saw at the project showcase at the end of the two-hour Dojo session!
One of the amazing things Raspberry Pi makes possible when you use it with the Raspberry Pi Build HAT and SPIKE™ Prime set: it’s simple to make the Raspberry Pi at the heart of the creation talk to a mobile device via Bluetooth, and off you go controlling what you’ve created via a phone or tablet.
While beginner-friendly, the projects in the Introduction path involve a mix of coding, testing, designing, and building. So it required focus and solid teamwork for the Ninjas to finish their buggies in time for the project showcase. And this is where building with LEGO pieces was really helpful.
Coding front and centre, thanks to the Raspberry Pi Build HAT
Having LEGO bricks and the Build HAT available to create their Raspberry Pi–powered robot buggies made it easy for our Ninjas to focus on writing the code to get their buggies to work. They weren’t relying on crafting skills or duct tape and glue guns to make a chassis in the relatively short time they had, and the coding could be front and centre for them.
The most exciting part for the Ninjas was that they were building remote-controlled robot buggies. This is one of the amazing things Raspberry Pi makes possible when you use it with the Build HAT and SPIKE™ Prime set: it’s simple to make the Raspberry Pi at the heart of the creation talk to a mobile device via Bluetooth, and off you go controlling what you’ve created via a phone or tablet.
The LEGO Technic motors that are part of the LEGO Education SPIKE Prime set are of really high quality, and they’re super easy to program with the Build HAT and its Python library! You can change the motors’ speed by setting a single parameter in your code. You can also easily write code to set or read the motors’ exact angle (their absolute position). That allows you to finely control the motors’ movements, or to use them as sensors.
Some of our teams, inspired by everything the SPIKE Prime set has to offer, tried out programming the set’s sensors, to switch their robot buggy on or help it avoid obstacles. Because we only had about 90 minutes of digital making, not all teams managed to finish adding the extra features they wanted — but next time for sure!
With a little more time (or another Dojo session), it would have been possible for the Ninjas to make some veryadvanced remote-controlled buggies indeed, complete with headlights, brake lights, sensors, and sound.
Learning with LEGO® elements and Raspberry Pi computers
If you have access to LEGO Education SPIKE Prime sets for your learners, then the Raspberry Pi Build HAT is a great addition that allows them to build complex robotics projects with very simple code — but I think that’s not its main benefit.
Because the Build HAT allows your learners to work with LEGO elements, you know that many of them already understand one aspect of the creation process: they’ve got experience of using LEGO bricks to solve a problem. In a coding or STEM club session, or in a classroom lesson, you can only give your learners limited amount of time to complete a project, or get their project prototype to a stable point. So being able to rely on your learners’ existing skills in making the physical build leaves you a lot more time to support them with what they’re actually here to learn: the coding and digital making skills.
You and your young people next!
The projects using the Raspberry Pi Build HATs were such a hit, we’ll be getting them and the LEGO Education SPIKE Prime sets out at every Dojo session from now on! We’re excited to see what young people around the world will be creating thanks to our new collaboration with LEGO Education.
Have you used the Raspberry Pi Build HAT with your learners or young people at home yet? Share their stories and creations in the comments here, or on social media using #BuildHAT.
We are inviting you all to a very special event this week: the CoderDojo team is hosting a 10th birthday livestream to celebrate the CoderDojo community and all that they have achieved over the last ten years.
Everyone is welcome, so mark your diary and make sure you and your favourite young coders join us for all the fun at 18:00 BST this Thursday, 28 October!
Together we will hear stories from young people and volunteers around the world, and from James Whelton and Bill Liao, the co-founders of CoderDojo.
Ten years of community spirit
In July 2011, James Whelton and Bill Liao held the first-ever CoderDojo session in Cork, Ireland. They created a space for young people to learn how to create a website, design a game, or write their first program. The session was also a chance for volunteers to share their experience and time with a younger generation and their peers. It was here that the CoderDojo grassroots community came into existence, built on the values of ‘being cool’: creativity, collaboration, openness, and fun.
These values continue to inspire young people (Ninjas) and volunteers around the world to be part of their local Dojos. In 2017, the CoderDojo Foundation, which was founded to support the CoderDojo movement, and the Raspberry Pi Foundation joined forces to better support the community to bring opportunities to more young people worldwide.
The tenth year of the movement is an especially important time for us to celebrate the volunteers who have put so much into CoderDojo. As well as the livestream celebration on 28 October, the CoderDojo team has put together free digital assets to get volunteers and Ninjas in the birthday spirit, and a special birthday giveaway for Ninjas who are coding projects to mark this momentous anniversary.
Ten things we love about you
In celebration of the CoderDojo movement’s 10th birthday, here’s a list of some of our favourite things about the CoderDojo community.
1. You are always having so much fun!
Whether you’re working together in person or online, you are always having a blast!
2. You are resilient and committed to your club
The pandemic has been an extremely difficult time for Dojos. It has also been a time of adaptation. We have been so impressed by how community members have switched their ways of running with positivity and commitment to 6. do what is best for their clubs.
Filling in surveys, emailing the CoderDojo team here, attending webinars, sharing your insights — these are all the ways you’re great at communicating your Dojo’s needs. We love supporting you!
5. You help young people create positive change in their community
We love to hear about how CoderDojo volunteers help young people to create and learn with technology, and to become mentors for their peers. Recently we shared the stories of Avye, Laura, and Toshan, three incredible digital makers who, thanks to CoderDojo, are using technology to shape the world around them.
CoderDojo is a space for everyone to create and learn with technology. We love that Dojos get involved in projects such as the ‘Empowering the future’ guide to getting more girls involved in coding, and the CoderDojo Accessibility Guide to making Dojo sessions accessible for young people of all abilities and neurodiversity.
9. You are a community that continues to grow stronger
Over the last ten years, more than 3900 Dojos in 115 countries have run sessions for over 270000 young people and have been regularly supporting 100000 young coders! You’ve certainly brought the movement a long way from that very first session in Cork.
10. You are simply the best grassroots community on the planet!
All the volunteers who have put their time and energy into CoderDojo have made the movement what it is today, and we’d like to say a massive thank you to each and every one of you.
Let’s celebrate together!
So prepare your favourite celebratory food and join us for the birthday livestream on Thursday 28 October at 18:00 BST! Take this chance to say hi to community members and celebrate everything that they have achieved in the last ten years.
Set a reminder for the livestream, and tell us how you are celebrating CoderDojo’s 10th birthday using the hashtag #10YearsOfCoderDojo on Twitter.
Today we bring you the fourth film in our series of inspirational community stories! Incredible young people from the community have collaborated with us to create these videos, where they tell their tech stories in their own words.
Watch the new film to meet a “mischievous” tech creator who is helping other young people in his community to use technology to bring their ideas to life.
This is Toshan
Toshan’s story takes place in his hometown of Bangalore, India, where his love for electronics and computing sent him on a journey of tech discovery!
Toshan (16) first encountered coding aged 12, thanks to his computing teacher Miss Sonya. Describing his teacher, he says: “The unique thing is, she just doesn’t stop where the syllabus ends.” The world of digital making and Raspberry Pi computers that Miss Sonya introduced him to offered Toshan “limitless opportunities”, and he felt inspired to throw himself into learning.
“If we help people with their ideas, they might bring something new into the world.”
Having found help in his local community and the online Raspberry Pi Foundation community that enabled him to start his tech journey, Toshan decided to pass on his skills: he set up a CoderDojo for other young people in Bangalore when he was 14. Toshan says, “I wanted to give something back.” Mentoring others as they learn coding and digital making helped his confidence grow. Toshan loves supporting the learners at his Dojo with problem-solving because “if we help people with their ideas, they might bring something new into the world.”
Supported by his mum and dad, Toshan’s commitment to helping others create with technology is leading him to extend his community beyond the city he calls home. Through his YouTube channel, he reaches people outside of Bangalore, and he has connected with a worldwide community of like-minded young tech creators by taking part in Coolest Projects online 2020 with an automated hand sanitiser he built.
Toshan’s enthusiasm and love for tech are already motivating him to empower others, and he has only just begun! We are delighted to be a part of his journey and can’t wait to see what he does next.
We love seeing all the wonderful things people are doing in the community — that’s why we’re sharing our new series of short films documenting some of the incredible journeys of community members in all corners of the globe!
Today we bring you the third wonderful film in this series of community stories. For the series, we’ve been super lucky to collaborate with digital makers all over the world, and today’s story exemplifies how truly global the community is.
Watch our video to find out how this ambitious young digital maker’s passion for creating with technology has propelled her around the world!
Say hi to Laura
Laura’s journey began in her hometown of Timișoara, Romania. In Laura’s words: “I joined my local CoderDojo, and it changed my life.”
Laura (17) started attending her CoderDojo coding club four years ago because she loves problem-solving and wanted to learn more about how digital technology works. Her biggest discovery at CoderDojo, however, was the other young people there, who were just as passionate about technology as she was. Laura says, “I had the opportunity to meet people with the same interests. Everybody was working, exchanging ideas, having fun!”
Laura and the new friends she made worked together to solve problems in their local community: they built an autonomous waste-collecting robot and a drone-mounted air pollution monitor.
“I want to bring a change to the world.”
But Laura’s tech journey did not stop there. In 2017, she travelled to Dublin to present her latest project — a Raspberry Pi-powered, mind-controlled robot! — at Coolest Projects International, which introduced her to a global community of digital makers. And since then she’s even taken part in a robotics competition at MIT!
Working alongside like-minded peers and connecting with a global community of young tech creators has had a profound impact on Laura. She says, “I never imagined that I would have so many opportunities to travel, expand my horizons, and meet so many people. It’s thanks to CoderDojo and Coolest Projects that I’ve been able to build an amazing network of friends, and together we’re ready to take on the world.”
We are so excited to see what Laura will do next. Help us celebrate Laura by liking and sharing her story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!
We’re excited to share another incredible story from the community — the second in our new series of inspirational short films that celebrate young tech creators across the world.
These stories showcase some of the wonderful things that young people are empowered to do when they learn how to create with technology. We hope that they will inspire many more young people to get creative with technology too!
This time, you will meet an accomplished, young community member who is on a quest to encourage more girls to join her and get into digital making.
For as long as she can remember, Avye (13) has enjoyed creating things. It was at her local CoderDojo that seven-year-old Avye was introduced to the world of robotics. Avye’s second-ever robot, the Raspberry Pi–powered Voice O’Tronik Bot, went on to win the Hardware category at our Coolest Projects UK event in 2018.
Coding and digital making have become an integral part of Avye’s life, and she wants to help other girls discover these skills too. She says, “I believe that it’s important for girls and women to see and be aware of ordinary girls and women doing cool things in the STEM world.” Avye started running her own workshops for girls in their community and in 2018 founded Girls Into Coding. She has now teamed up with her mum Helene, who is committed to helping to drive the Girls Into Coding mission forwards.
I want to get other girls like me interested in tech.
Avye has received multiple awards to celebrate her achievements, including the Princess Diana Award and Legacy Award in 2019. Most recently, in 2020, Avye won the TechWomen100 Award, the Women in Tech’s Aspiring Teen Award, and the FDM Everywoman in Tech Award!
We cannot wait to see what the future has in store for her. Help us celebrate Avye and inspire others by liking and sharing her story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!
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