Teacher Ambassador Report: Coding @ CoderDojo, Paisley YMCA

Since joining the Microsoft Education UK team, our Teacher Ambassador Natalie Burgess has been one busy bee! You may have already read her introductory guide to the Microsoft Educator Community, her report from West College Scotland IT Symposium, or even seen her fantastic Tip-ster videos and Facebook Live posts on our social media channels!

Back again with another blog for us, Natalie reflects on the CoderDojo event she took part in on Monday, in her native Paisley, Scotland.

Follow Natalie on Twitter: @natalielochhead


Earlier this week I was invited along to an awesome club in the Paisley YMCA called CoderDojo.

So what is Coder Dojo and why was I so excited to be there? According to their website:

CoderDojo Scotland is part of a global collaboration that provides free coding clubs for young people. It enables them to learn everything they need to become a great programmer whilst providing a safe, fun and sociable environment to do it in.

What do you do at a CoderDojo?

At a CoderDojo event the only limit on what you can do is your imagination. You can learn new programming languages, create apps for your computer, tablet or phone, build websites, make games and much, much more. There is only one rule: Above all; Be cool

Who makes CoderDojo Scotland happen?

The driving force behind CoderDojo Scotland are the volunteers and mentors from technology and education backgrounds who wish to inspire the next generation of digital content makers. If you are interested in mentoring please get in contact with your nearest Dojo from this list.

As a young person who grew up in Paisley it is amazing to see an initiative like this in my local area, especially as technology is such a passion of mine. The world is changing and our young people need to be equipped with these skills. It should not be something that is an 'add on' to their learning, it should be a vital part. 65% OF TODAY'S SCHOOL STUDENTS WILL BE DOING JOBS THAT DON'T EXIST YET. We need to 'Future Proof' our young people - it's our duty.

Further reading: Inspire your students with the 10 jobs of the future

As a Primary School Teacher I know how scared some teachers can be when asked to introduce coding into their lessons and what CoderDojo is doing is trying to bridge that gap which is phenomenal.

CoderDojo2The children at the club were doing all sorts of incredible things at all different levels. One boy was showing me how to programme his BBC micro:bit to say my name! I was very impressed. We had other children using Scratch and Kodu Game Lab to create their own games. I saw others using my favourite code.org which was something I used to use in my Primary 3 classroom, to practise their coding skills. We even had older children creating their own websites and using Java to programme. Some of the boys from St. Marys Primary School in Paisley were showing off their Minecraft skills to me! They are so excited about the Edu Edition and hope that the can begin to use this awesome resource in their classrooms.

I hope to go back again and volunteer my time at this amazing club! My goal as a Microsoft Teacher Ambassador is to show the Educators out there who were like me, scared and unsure of code, that if we provide young people with the right tools, we decide to step out of our comfort zones and have a go, we can really make a real impact on teaching computer science.

I love this clip from CBBC Newsround about Coding Clubs across the UK and its impact on young people. I 100% agree that if we embrace this in Schools across the UK and teach pupils how to write code- we can change the world!

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