Aiming to teach kids code, CoderDojo returns Saturday to Des Moines
Plenty of parents want their kids to grow up to be doctors and lawyers, but what about programmers and developers? CoderDojo Des Moines is ready to train the next generation of techies, from middle school on up.
CoderDojo started in Ireland and is popular in Europe, but Des Moines and Iowa City are among the first cities to bring it to the United States. Sam Khawase once taught underprivileged children in India, and after moving to Des Moines for a job as a software engineer he wanted to do something similar. With help from Levi Rosol of Goodsmiths and Tej Dhawan of Startup City Des Moines, Khawase held the first session on May 19 and is preparing for the second on Saturday.
CoderDojos are completely free and volunteer-led. In addition to learning to code, kids can meet like-minded people and learn about career options.
The session, which will last 2-3 hours, will begin with a quick recap, then progress through a Codecademy program. One teacher (either Khawase, Rosol or Dhawan) will demonstrate the activity, and other volunteers will mentor the students in small groups. Around 20 students can participate. Based on students' interests, the sessions could progress to advanced topics like game programming and mobile app development.
Khawase noted that helping the students learn code is also personally rewarding, because young people learn quickly and get excited about what they can create.
"He sees that, 'The line I wrote changed everything on the page,' " Khawase said. "They're always ready to learn more."
What: CoderDojo Des Moines
When: Saturday, 9 a.m.
Where: DMACC West Campus
Who: Primarily students ages 12-14, though the age range is flexible