Coding Ninjas create winning submissions
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 Scratch, the 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
Jonathan Durnford is the CoderDojo Champion for the dojos run out of Midland library, which were recently closed in keeping with current social restrictions. Understanding how important the human-connection aspect of CoderDojo is, Jonathan decided to move his dojo completely online, providing an opportunity for the Ninja’s to continue coding and connecting with others.
“I’ve been delighted with how we’ve managed to enable some measure of that human connection during this pandemic”.
Over the last few months coding clubs around with world have adapted to virtual dojo’s. Whilst some have chosen to run their sessions privately on platforms like Zoom or Twitch, Jonathan decided to host his dojo publicly via YouTube Live Stream, which allows you to interact with your audience with a live video feed and chat.
The use of a public platform like YouTube suited the ethos and audience of the Midland Library Dojo’s. Rather than taking bookings, they have always promoted a drop in, drop out culture, open to anyone who wants to attend, as and when it suits them. Utilising YouTube, made it easy for Jonathan to promote the virtual dojo and allowed him to open the sessions up to everyone.
The sessions are usually joined by another Perth based dojo, Falcon FabLab, and there is even a ninja who regularly tunes in from the United Kingdom, waking in the morning to attend the afternoon time slot here in Perth. Jonathan also chose YouTube as it is the most popular online platform with the age demographic of his Ninja’s, with the majority aged around 10-12.
The remote sessions are structured differently to normal dojos, more like a coding lesson, but still interactive and in real time. Unlike a regular YouTube tutorial which can be paused and started again, a live stream is continuous, which Jonathan has found encourages Ninja’s to examine their coding critically. Jonathan works through the lessons at a slower pace, allowing Ninja’s time to keep up with the steps.
One of the biggest challenges he found was re-training the way Ninja’s receive feedback or assistance. Without being able to show Jonathan their screens as they would in a normal dojo, Ninja’s were encouraged to save and publish their projects to Scratch. By connecting with Ninja’s via their Scratch accounts, Jonathan is able to view their projects, bringing them up to the live stream screen and then working through the problem together as a collaborative team – a unexpected bonus which came out of running the sessions remotely.
In pre-COVID times, Jonathan ran three different dojos in three different locations. He kept the virtual dojo sessions segmented the same way, expecting everyone to join their usual dojo, but was surprised to find Ninja’s were tuning into all the sessions. This gave them an opportunity to connect with Ninja’s they haven’t met before. Jonathan found they quickly developed a great camaraderie amongst each other.
The online sessions receive good attendance each week, however Jonathan did notice a small decline in numbers as the weeks went on, which made it clear to him how much some Ninja’s rely on face-to-face interaction. Ninja’s who would normally never miss a regular dojo quickly realised they didn’t as much enjoy the virtual style of dojo. Jonathan found overall that the personal interaction of normal Dojo sessions is much more motivating.
“One thing I learnt is how many kids rely on face to face interaction and that is what makes the CoderDojo program so successful.”
From a champions perspective, Jonathan found the switch from facilitating a club to preparing coding lessons, to be surprisingly challenging. Used to hosting a very organic, ad-hoc CoderDojo without any kind of lesson plan, Jonathan found the prep-time involved in hosting live stream tutorials took longer than expected. But also said not to be afraid of getting it perfect. Live streams don’t need to be rehearsed or exact. It is better to just jump in, be open and talk through the process as you’re doing it.
Jonathan said an important aspect of going virtual is making Ninja’s feel welcome and part of the session. He suggested always being supportive of what the Ninja’s are doing and to remember that what works for one dojo, may not work for another.
“Find out what works for you. There’s no one correct way of doing it. It’s what works for you, what time you have, what resources you have and what your Ninja’s appreciate.”
Going forward, he hopes to continue utilising online methods, perhaps offering live streaming tutorials complementary to normal dojo sessions. With all of the live stream lessons recorded, Jonathan now has a library of recorded tutorials available for anyone to use at any time. The online lessons have even inspired some Ninjas to create their own video tutorials and You Tube channels, showing other young coders how to re-create their projects.
Use this competition as an opportunity to build your skills for the future, and what you see as the future. What’s next, now that we are coming out of social isolation? What’s next in your life, your family or community? Use your imagination and coding skills to create a digital story about anything you want.
Our mission is to get kids coding! Coding is a tool that lets you write your story with technology. CoderDojo is a world-wide open source social education movement oriented around running free computer coding clubs (Dojos) for young people aged 7-17 (Ninjas). CoderDojo WA is a regional network of CoderDojos in Western Australia. In 2013, the Fogarty Foundation committed to establishing the CoderDojo program in Western Australia by providing training, support and ongoing encouragement to the WA community.
It could be about a boy who gets to play in the playground again or a girl who goes to the library and gets out 100 books. Or it could be about a bird that is surprised to see so many people in the city again. It’s up to you.
There’s three major prizes for two age group divisions: Ninjas 11 years and under and: Ninjas 12 years and over. For the under 11 Ninjas, use Scratch to create a digital story from 2-5 minutes long about ‘What’s next’. For Ninja’s over 12 years of age stories can be made in Game Maker, Unity, Scratch etc., it’s up to you.
Story theme: ‘What’s Next’
Prizes: 3 x Raspberry Pi 4’s for each age division. Prizes will be awarded to the judges three favourite stories in each age division. All eligible entries will receive some Coder Dojo WA merchandise.
Who: Anyone interested in coding 7 – 17 years old
When: Closing date is the 19th June. Winners announced on Tuesday 23rd June
Created in: 11 years and under use Scratch, 12 years and older it’s your choice
Duration: 11 years and under = 2-5 mins, 12 years and older = 2-10 mins
Bonus points: 11 years and under for originality, 12 years and older for interactivity
Submissions need to adhere to the above guidelines and can be submitted through the link below.
If you have any questions about the competition or have difficulties submitting your project please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck Ninjas, we look forward to seeing what you come up with!
On Friday 13 December we hosted the CoderDojo WA end of year party for 2019. The event was held at Scitech, with over 200 of our community members attending for a fun night of presentations, science shows, prizes and pizza.
Thank you to all of our volunteers and the Ninjas, Mentors and Champions who presented their projects on the night and for all your wonderful help throughout the year. The CoderDojo WA community wouldnt be possible with your help.
Click here to see the photos from the event on our CoderDojo WA Facebook Group.
If you’re interested to learn more about CoderDojo WA and possibly starting or joining a dojo, follow the link below.
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 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.
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.
DIY.org 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.
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. Code.org 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.