CoderDojo, Play, Passion & Purpose

Coderdojo is a great news story: an 18 year old starts an after-school computer club and open-sources the model. A year and a half later, there are nearly 200 dojos dotted around the world. Here, kids and their mentors meet in an un-structured, environment which promotes creativity and collaboration. I was delighted to be able to attend the annual conference on Sat 13 Apr - #DojoCon2013



In his book, 'Creating Innovators', Tony Wagner tries to identify the conditions necessary for fostering innovation. In my 5 minute 'lightning talk' at #dojocon2013 we explored the connection between these conditions and CoderDojos.


Wagner identifies 'Play, Passion & Purpose' as the main ingredients in creating young innovators by helping them build intrinsic motivation. He also highlights the importance of being open to risk taking and to failing productively. CoderDojo scores very high on the first two: it makes space for kids to play with technology and encourages them to develop their own passions, to follow their own instincts, to have agency.

But what about purpose? What do we mean by purpose - Wagner identified it as an attitude of 'Give back - make a difference'. This is a wonderful challenge for the CoderDojo movement... building on the foundations of play and passion. In a short while, this worldwide movement is going to have a lot of skilled kids - and the question will be: what are they going to do with this coding and cognitive surplus?

Bill Liao addressed that challenge in his interview with Una Fox, when he talked about how we 'give back'. He differentiated between a hand-out, a hand-up and a handshake with the question: 'which would you like to get?' It's such an interesting question...

It's going to be very exciting to be see what CoderDojo does as this sense of purpose develops.

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