CoderDojo WA welcomes new Ninjas of the North

There is a new breed of ninjas in the north after Ashdale Secondary College launched CoderDojo North over the weekend. Thanks to Curtin University, Bankwest and the Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA), CoderDojo North is ready to motivate coding ninjas to be innovative creators of technology.

“It was great to see such a range of community partners coming together to start yet another Dojo in the community. The launch was attended by senior members across business, the AASQA academy and universities. Without this teamwork and band of volunteers, Dojos just wouldn’t exist!”

Simon Thuijs, Manager of CoderDojo WA. 

Coding is a tool that lets you write your story with technology. It is how humans talk to machines and an increasingly important skill for current and future generations. 

“In Australia today, 87% of jobs demand digital skills, so it’s really important that we equip our youngsters with knowledge about coding and computers. Already, Ninjas at current AASQA Dojos are being linked up with paid internships and then ongoing roles, going to show that employers are really looking for candidates with these skills.”

Simon Thuijs, Manager of CoderDojo WA. 

CoderDojo North is dedicated to students with autism, working to build their strengths for future training and employment opportunities. At the Dojo (coding club), Ninjas (students aged 12-18) will work on code-related projects such as websites, apps, game development and more, with the support of volunteer Mentors from Edith Cowan University (ECU) and Curtin University

Lainey Bradley is Champion of CoderDojo North and mother to a child with Autism who has shone since he started coding. 

“My son has been a part of CoderDojo WA since July 2017 and has exceled in his IT and coding skills.  He knows what career path he would like to take and to have the support of Ashdale Secondary College, Professor Tan (AASQA) and Dr Cook (AASQA), I know that he will realise his dream job. At long last we, as parents, have hope for the future of our loved ones leaving school and going out into the community armed with the skills to be a success.”

Lainey Bradley, Champion of CoderDojo WA North

Attendees of this exciting launch included Hon Kerry Sanderson AC CVO (Ambassador for AASQA), Lyn Beazley AO (Ambassador for AASQA), Margaret Quirk MLA, Professor Arshad Omari (Vice-Chancellor ECU), Dr Tele Tan (AASQA director) and Dr David Cook (AASQA Advisory Board and ECU). 

To find out more, contact

Keep your Ninjas occupied these holidays while they work on their coding skills. Here’s a few holiday-themed coding activities to keep them entertained and engaged.

A huge congratulation to Brody S (age 9), Dylan K (age 10) and Charles K (age 11) for creating our winning ‘What’s Next’ coding stories.

Brody, Dylan and Charles each received a Raspberry Pi 4 for their coding genius!

Their task was to use their coding skills and innovative minds to create a digital story with the theme, ‘What’s Next.’ 

Using Scratchthe boys were able to program an interactive story and share their creations with an online community. Scratch is a fabulous, user-friendly and free programming language and online community that helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively – all essential skills for life in the 21st century!

To check out their winning stories, click the links below.

Brody S (age 9)
What’s Next Zoo Story: An idea about the zoo

Dylan K (age 10)
What’s next? A Solution to stop Covid 19: Creative way to control and stop spreading Covid 19 and gain our lives back to where it was before COVID 19 

Charles K (age 11)
What’s Next?: A breaking News Report from Gobo, and showing what will happen when Covid 19 is over.

Annie Fogarty has been announced as the 2020 WA Australian of the Year for her exceptional work in education advocacy.

Annie founded the Fogarty Foundation in 2000 to help advance education, support young people to reach their full potential and build stronger communities.

Under Annie’s leadership, the Foundation identifies areas of need, supports partner organisations with philanthropic funds, connections and knowledge, and develops initiatives that deliver educational opportunities, inspire community leadership and enrich lives.

Mrs Fogarty is also involved with several boards and committees to help foster innovation and creativity in young people, and is committed to ensuring excellent education and learning for all.

Each year, the Australian of the Year awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of eminent Australians by profiling leading citizens who are role models for us all.

Also receiving the prestigious award are fellow West Australians Professor John Newnham AM, a world-leading authority in modern obstetrics; Yarlalu Thomas, a medical student and Precision Public Health Fellow in genetic and rare diseases; and science educator (and Fogarty EDfutures Catalyst) Suzy Urbaniak.

Annie will join award recipients from all over Australia for the national awards ceremony at the National Arboretum in Canberra on 25 January 2020 – the 60th anniversary of the awards.

Congratulations Annie!!

Calling all teachers, students, school leaders, policy makers, parents and other social change nerds!

The education system is a complex web of curriculum, data, reporting and administrative hamster wheels. As important as they can be, all these requirements can make it hard to see where there’s room for innovative approaches to education.

On the other hand, we know there are teachers, schools and students out there who are challenging the status quo with innovative learning – and they’re subject to the same rules and regulations as everyone else. We think the next question should be, what do they know that we don’t?

Join us for an honest discussion on innovation, impact and the future of the education system. Hear from Australia’s edu-rebels; connect with a network of innovator ninjas; and learn how you can get away with innovation in your own part of the education system.

Peter Hutton


Peter is a maverick, a free radical, a challenger of the status quo. His strength is in transformational insight and supporting leaders to build innovative and adaptive cultures. Over an eight years journey, he transformed Templestowe College from a ‘broken’ school to one now recognised by Finland’s HundrED organisation as amongst the most innovative in the world. In 2018 he founded the Future Schools Alliance where member schools from across the country collaborate to develop new models of education that empower students to Take Control of their learning and prepare for times of exponential change.

Follow Peter @EdRev

Jan Owen AM


As CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians for the past 8 years, Jan has led the organisation’s strategic mission to equip young people to create, lead and thrive into the future. This focus has included ground-breaking research regarding the future of work and education for young Australians; the largest in-school entrepreneurship and youth social enterprise programs in the nation; and the development and launch of several new initiatives including YLab, FYA’s youth-led social enterprise.

Jan’s lifelong work and commitment to unleashing the talent of young people, driving social innovation and entrepreneurship, and transforming education has seen her recognised as one of Australia’s ‘True Leaders’ in 2018 and the Inaugural Australian Financial Review and Westpac ‘Woman of Influence’ in 2012.

Jan has been awarded honorary Doctorates from the University of Sydney and Murdoch University in Perth and membership to the Order of Australia in 2000 for services to the Australian community.

She is the author of Every Childhood Lasts a Lifetime (1996) and The Future Chasers (2014).

Follow Jan @JanOwenAM

Prof. David Gibson


Professor David Gibson, Director of Learning Futures at Curtin University in Australia and UNESCO Chair of Data Science in Higher Education Learning and Teaching, received his doctorate (Ed.D. Leadership and Policy Studies) from the University of Vermont in 1999 based on a study of complex systems modeling of educational change. His foundational research demonstrated the feasibility of bridging from qualitative information to quantifiable dynamic relationships in complex models that verify trajectories of organizational change. He provides thought leadership as a researcher, professor, learning scientist and innovator. He is creator of simSchool, a classroom flight simulator for preparing educators, and eFolio an online performance-based assessment system, and provides vision and sponsorship for Curtin University’s Challenge, a mobile, game-based learning platform. He consults with project and system leaders, formulates strategies, and helps people articulate their vision for innovation; then helps connect people with the resources needed to fulfill their aspirations. His research has extended from learning analytics, complex systems analysis and modeling of education to application of complexity via games and simulations in teacher education, web applications and the future of learning.  Dr. Gibson has also advanced the use of technology to personalize education via cognitive modeling, design and implementation.

Esther Hill


Engaging teachers in conversations about pedagogy, the power of deep thinking and connected learning has been a driving force behind Esther Wilkes Hill’s school leadership. As Dean of Teaching and Learning at All Saints’ College, a leading Independent Anglican School in Perth, Western Australia, Esther strives to develop and support learning cultures where individual and group thinking is valued. As Director of Djoowak: The Beyond Boundaries Institute, Esther currently leads projects that focus on developing the capacities of students to be creative thinkers with an enterprising mindset that is focussed on problem finding and solution generating. At the core of this work is a deep commitment to the importance of teaching for understanding and making thinking visible: ideas that have been central to her work as a classroom teacher, curriculum leader and Director of Pedagogy and Professional Learning. Esther works to enable teachers across WA to access professional learning that empowers them to explore these ideas. She is passionate about developing the capacity of all teachers and learners to be innovators and thinkers who can create a better world.

Follow Esther @ThinkEsther

Adam Brookes 


Passionate about cross-curricular, big-picture learning, Adam is a middle school teacher from Mother Teresa Catholic College who challenges the status quo in education. The evolution of the education system is always at the forefront of discussions, where you’ll often hear him using “how might we” questions to encourage other educators to think about doing ‘schooling’ differently. His catch-cry of “we are the system” is a call to empower all of us to be innovators in our own right and to drive system change from the ground up. Next year, in a new role as Team Leader – Inquiry and Innovation at Mother Teresa will see Adam continue the work already done at the College to build and develop the culture of learning for students and staff, particularly in inquiry learning.

Follow Adam @brookssensei

With school closures and a possible lockdown looming, we thought we would share some resources to keep you busy over the extended break. This could be a perfect time to tackle a big new project or perfect one you’ve been working on in your dojo. And with collaboration apps available like Slack and Zoom, there’s no reason you can’t stay connected with your fellow ninjas and friends and even work together on a project.


A lot of these resources blur the lines between play and learning, which is exactly why learning to code is so much fun. Some apps will teach a specific programming language, whilst others are more game based and teach logic and programming concepts.  We’ve also thrown in a few other STEM resources to keep you busy.  

Programming 101: An introduction to Python
This awesome course is ideal for anyone looking for a basic introduction to Python. You will explore basic programming concepts such as sequencing and repetition, produce your own program to solve a simple problem, and much more.

Scratch to Python: Moving from Block- to Text-based Programming 
Most CoderDojo Ninjas begin their coding journey with Scratch, and the transition to text-based programming can be a challenge for some. With this course, you’ll explore how you can transfer programming and thinking skills from Scratch to Python. This course is perfect for CoderDojo volunteers, or parents of young people, who are looking to progress their learning at home. This is just one of the many amazing free courses provided by FutureLearn. 

Swift Playgrounds
Swift is a powerful programming language created by Apple and used by the pros to build today’s most popular apps. In Swift Playground you solve puzzles to master the basics and then take on a series of challenges and step up to more advanced playgrounds. It requires no coding knowledge, so it’s perfect for students just starting out and available on iPad and Mac. It’s also super fun and playful. 

Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi website has a stack load of projects that will help you start writing code and get going with digital making. They also have a range of Big Projects which you can work on in a group.
These courses on this site are suited to adults, but would also suit older teens that want to tackle more advanced programming. There is a cost involved with this one, but you can trial it free for  month before committing. is more than just a resources website. It is a huge library of hands-on projects, how-to videos, and an awesome kid community. They have a humongous range of courses and challenges covering every imaginable topic and interest. There are a heap of amazing tech skills to learn like app development, game design and front end development, as well as an assortment of other amazing skills like entrepreneurship, entomology, cartooning and astronomy. They even teach fort building! Kids earn badges while they learn new skills, can share their projects, and interact with peers. There is a subscription cost involved with this one, but you can trial it free for a month. 

Nasa SpacePlace
Explore Earth and Space with this awesome website by NASA. It’s packed full of awesome astro information in easy to read formats and also has heaps of fun games and space related activities. When you’re finished with that one, check out NASA Kids Club.

Nancy Drew: Code and Clue Mystery Coding Game
This is a fun story-based game that involves collecting evidence to solve a mystery and dragging visual code blocks into place. An excellent entry-level coding app for STEM development.

Cat meme generator
At times like these we need meme’s to lighten the mental load, which makes this Cat Meme Generator an essential resource right now. 

Of course let’s not forget the clever folks at Scratch are always busy creating new projects to work on. is also jam-packed full of clever resources for all age groups as well as teachers.  And most importantly,  make sure you check out all the resources at CoderDojo international.


Ok yes, you’re right, movies do not technically qualify as resources. But we promise they are STEM based and sure to pique the curiosity of anyone with a love for tech. Perfect for those lazy afternoons or the Friday night family movie.

Wall E – If you haven’t met Wall E, you are missing out! A lone robot left on Earth, Wall-E spots a probe named EVE who has returned to Earth to scope things out, he falls in love and follows her back across the galaxy on an epic adventure.

Big Hero 6 – Another loveable robot features in this movie about a 14-year-old genius who invents special microbots to join his brother’s university robotics program. After tragedy ensues, a group of heroes unites and uses their strengths in chemistry and engineering to overtake a crafty villain.  

Dream Big: Engineering Our World – This documentary highlights engineers from various backgrounds and the projects they’re designing, from earthquake-proof structures to footbridges in developing countries. 

War Games – All the retro feels here with this 80’s classic. In WarGames, a high school student accidentally hacks into a military computer that controls nuclear arms while looking for new video games online. . .and almost sets off World War III. It’s up to him to convince the government that he was the one who simulated a Soviet attack.


Have you discovered any resources that you think we’d like? We’re always on the look out for great new learning platforms, coding games, or any other STEM related awesome-ness. Be sure to share anything you find with us via email at CoderDojo WA or on our Facebook page. And we especially LOVE seeing any projects or games you have been working on, so please email them to us and we can share them with the CoderDojo WA community.

In the Sensing the Education Future project, we want to hear your stories from the places where the learning happens. We also know that sometimes those stories can be complex, and you may want more than words alone to help you tell them. To help give you a kickstart in bringing some of those deeper stories to the surface, we invite you to join us for an evening of hands-on creative engagement and powerful conversation.

In this workshop, we’ll use LEGO Serious Play to draw out those complex ideas. We’ll think with our hands, and use the LEGO bricks as the medium to build and express ourselves through storytelling and metaphor. We’ll play, chat and have a lot of fun!  Pizza will also be provided (obvs!)

Joel Birch founded Firebird Learning with the simple goal of creating opportunities to learn by connecting curiosity with creativity, working with learners of all ages, both inside and out of schools. An experienced educator and professional learning facilitator, he also works with teams and organisations to help them solve complex problems and communicate powerfully using LEGO Serious Play.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is a powerful, internationally-renowned method for facilitating workshops and meetings that  harness the full range of perspective and  creative expertise in your organisation to solve complex problems. The LEGO bricks are the medium for creative expression, a common language across backgrounds and perspectives. Participants build their ideas and express them by telling stories.

The Fogarty Foundation initiated CoderDojo WA in 2013. Every year, our network of coding clubs has continued to grow both in size and spirit, and 2018 was no different.  Our network now encompasses 127 dojos across Western Australia, made up of 2670 ninjas, 181 champions and 403 mentors.   

In collaboration with our sponsors Woodside and South 32, CoderDojo WA extended even further throughout WA during 2018, with 30% of Dojos now in regional areas of the state.

During the year, the Fogarty Foundation delivered three project showcase opportunities to enable WA Ninjas to demonstrate their fantastic projects to the community: the Mid-Year Project Showcase, the Perth Games Festival and the End of Year Party. In total, over 700 CoderDojo WA community members participated in these project events.

We were also involved in a number of other great coding events including two all-girls CoderDojo days delivered by Bankwest, where teams of all-female technical staff helped girls create games, develop apps, code websites and program mindstorm robots.

CoderDojo WA continued its support for Curtin University’s Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA). AASQA helps young people on the autism spectrum who are interested in IT, to develop job-ready skills and access career pathways. In 2018 the AASQA program expanded to Kalgoorlie, published the Strength-Based Program for Adolescents with Autism reportandwon the award for an Outstanding Collaboration for National Benefit at the prestigious Business/Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) awards.

In order to continuously improve our program, we undertook a Mentor Experience Improvement Project that analysed the user experience of Mentors and recommended improvements, which we plan to implement in 2019.

We also commenced an evaluation of CoderDojo WA using the Most Significant Change methodology to help us continue to improve the initiative.  

In 2019 we say goodbye to our wonderful long term Program Manager Karen Wellington and welcome Jess Silva in her place. Jess has an extensive background in science communication and STEM education with a passion for all things technology. She comes to us from Scitech where she has been developing and delivering STEM programs all over Western Australia for the past 8 years.

This year we will continue to focus on a number of program aspects including supporting more community and corporate Dojos; enabling more opportunities for Ninjas to share and showcase projects; and enabling online mentor training to help upskill our community.

You are invited to a Perth-based launch event of the education book, Flip the System Australia: What Matters in Education. Join Fogarty EDfutures, the Innovation Unit, the book’s Western Australian editor Deborah Netolicky, and local authors Keren Caple, Tomaz Lasic and Ben Lewis, for an exciting evening as we ask: What matters in education?

Join us at The Platform, 5:30pm for a 5:45pm start.

Building on the work of other Flip the System books, this book was conceptualised and edited by three Australian educators with more than 60 years of teaching and school leadership experience between them: Deborah Netolicky, Jon Andrews, and Cameron Paterson. With 27 chapters by 39 authors (including 15 chapters that have authors who are currently teachers or school leaders) it brings together the voices of teachers, school leaders and scholars in order to encourage dialogue and to offer diverse perspectives, important challenges and hopeful alternatives to the current education system. It tackles issues of inequity and democracy in education, and argues that professionals within schools should be supported, empowered and welcomed into policy discourse, not dictated to by top-down bureaucracy. It advocates for a flipping and democratising of the education system, in Australia and around the world.

Since its release in December 2018, teachers have been sharing their views of the book on Twitter, saying that is “the best Australian book about education out there: inspiring, thought provoking, revolutionary” and calling it “a must-read book for every educator regardless of experience, level of leadership and sector.” Come along to this event, buy a book at a discounted price and hear from the WA contributors. Let’s explore together how those of us in education might flip and democratise the education system.

Follow the book’s editors on Twitter at @flipthesystemoz

Deborah Netolicky

A researcher, school leader, and teacher, Deborah has 20 years’ experience in teaching and school leadership in Australia and the UK. A boundary-spanner with a PhD in education, she is currently Dean of Research and Pedagogy at Wesley College, Perth, and Honorary Research Associate at Murdoch University. Deborah blogs at, tweets as @debsnet, and is a co-Editor of Flip the System Australia: What Matters in Education.

Follow Deborah @debsnet

Keren Caple

Keren leads Innovation Unit (IU) in Australia & New Zealand and its education practice globally. Keren currently co-leads IU’s work with Goodstart Early Learning, working with families and early learning professionals to co-design new models of early learning and care at scale across Australia and IU’s School Design Lab, redesigning learning and schooling in partnership with systems, sectors and schools across the country, Prior to joining IU, Keren was general manager of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). Here she led the development of both the Australian Principal and Teacher Standards and Learning Frontiers, Australia’s first large scale education innovation project. Keren proudly began her career as a teacher, school and system leader in the WA Department of Education and continues to work in a Western Australian school.

Follow Keren @kerencaple

Tomaz Lasic

Tomaz Lasic is a Humanities and Design & Technology teacher of close to 20 years, most of it working in low-socioeconomic areas of metropolitan Perth. Recently, he started working with early career teachers as a Teaching and Learning Coach with the Department of Education WA. Tomaz has always been interested in how students and teachers understand and shape schooling and how they are shaped by it. Regular tweeter, blogger, questioner.

Follow Tomaz @lasic

Ben Lewis

Ben is currently a Director at St Catherines College at the University of Western Australia, overseeing the Dandjoo Darbalung Indigenous Program. He was the Indigenous Program Coordinator at Wesley College for 7 years previously and a member of staff at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle for their Working with Indigenous Students course.  Previously he was a secondary teacher and a Program Coordinator for the Graham Polly Farmer Foundation in Newman in the Western Australian Pilbara region. Ben works closely with local Elders and the Nyoongar community to facilitate authentic and engaging cultural experiences that empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.


EDfutures Community Night: How Values Shape Education

At this community night, we’re taking a deep dive into values and the impact they have in Australia’s education system. We will be exploring:

This session will be facilitated by Kendall Clifton-Short of The Purpose:Fully. She works with organisations to imagine tomorrow’s future, and then embed purpose-driven strategy to create purposeful impact. As a passionate member of the EDfutures community, she’s excited to facilitate an exploration of the above questions with us all.

WHEN: November 6th 2018, 5.30pm – 8.30pm

WHERE: Lotteries House, City West

WHY: Community nights are an opportunity for us to welcome new members and a create some energy and understanding around EDfutures. Each community night will focus on a different theme.


 Kendall Clifton-Short

Kendall is the Managing Director at The Purpose:fully. Kendall’s purpose:ful journey began with transformational experiences in the outdoors forcing her to redefine what she believed she was capable of. And awakening a desire to facilitate experiences that tested people’s self imposed limits and preserved the wilderness spaces essential to this transformation.

This has grown into a lifelong quest to understand how we can build systems and cultures that promote more sustainable behaviours and lifestyles.

Through the twisting, turning journey that is life and work, this has become the core belief that caring for people, communities and the environment is actually good for business, and good for humanity.

Her professional life has seen her questioning and helping people redefine what is possible:  Leading adventures in pristine wilderness environments as a Course Leader for the National Outdoor Leadership School; redesigning sustainability educational to challenge the status quo as the Director of a remote secondary education campus; and challenging CEO’s on purposeful impact, and leadership assumptions and practice.

Fundamentally helping people and organisation reshape the way they think, connect and do business, so we can reshape the business world as a force for good.

And as a friend, wife and mother to three gorgeous balls of energy, she can often be found mucking around in the bush and wild spaces with her family, and asking difficult questions about how we can live more congruently with what we believe in and care deeply about.