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Troy was the latest to present at our fSpace Talks series, but he took his presentation in a different direction.

Troy is an IT consultant, software developer and web developer. He’s worked in and consulted for a variety of businesses, NGOs, as well as in the health & education sectors. Troy recently started his own company, Structable, but instead chose to focus his talk on some interesting volunteer work he’s involved in.

CoderDojo is a grass-roots charitable organization that was created to provide free mentoring to children aged 7-17 on how to code software. CoderDojo was founded in 2011 by a teenager, James Whelton. In 2010, young James enjoyed 5 minutes of fame for successfully hacking an iPod he’d won.

Just a few years after opening the first CoderDojo, there are now over 1000 locations spread across 63 countries. CoderDojo has a goal of 1500 locations teaching coding to 100,000 children.

Each Dojo club operates independently and while there are some structures, there are no curriculums or strict frameworks. Kids can (and are encouraged to) create whatever they want, including games, apps, music, and websites.

Troy volunteers at the Fremantle Dojo and he shared how he applies the fundamentals to coding (steps, loops & decisions) in helping kids learn how to code. Troy showed that unlike the typical black screen with all the lines that professional coders live in, CoderDojos use Scratch – a visual and intuitive coding program created by some very smart people at MIT.

Some good reasons for kids to learn coding include:

  • It helps opens doors
  • Much like our smartphones, technology is becoming simpler
  • It provides an endlessly creative outlet
  • It promotes systematic thinking
  • Lots of kids love it

Another good reason is the surprising prediction that by the year 2025, roughly 50% of all jobs are likely to be obsolete. Creative thinking and the ability to break down steps to work out options and processes will be critical skills as new jobs emerge.

Troy showed us that coding with Scratch is much like playing with Lego – you can select options, move things around and create a lot of different things.

With our input, Troy created a basic spaceship game from a blank screen in about 10 minutes. As he would with a kid at the Fremantle Dojo, he described each step in creating the game as he used the intuitive drag-and-drop blocks the Scratch programming tool provides.

Visit coderdojo.com for more information or visit the Fremantle Dojo, which meets every Wednesday from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm at the Fremantle City Library. Anyone interested in becoming a mentor or enrolling a child can stop by during these hours.

Thanks Troy for the presentation!

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