We were back at Coder Dojo in Limerick today after missing the last two weeks. Since my last post we have been working to get the Dojo on a more organised basis as more and more people get involved. We have two groups – the junior room and the senior room and today we had 29 kids at the Dojo. This means we need four mentors every Saturday and need to plan out where we want each of the groups to get to in the short and medium term. It’s great to see so many people getting involved as mentors because I think ultimately the kids at the Dojo will benefit from getting different perspectives. What’s also great to see, is that as more people get on board, the types of things that we get involved in continues to grow. Through my involvement with teaching the younger group Scratch I decided to sign up fully as a mentor. I’m really enjoying it to be honest and would encourage anyone who has a spare Saturday to come along and see what’s going on and maybe get involved. Even if you don’t feel that you could lead a group we’re always looking for people to just generally help out. You never know – you might even learn something along the way 🙂 For more details about Coder Dojo Limerick check out http://www.coderdojolimerick.com/.
So, what’s been happening in the junior and senior rooms at the Dojo for the past few weeks? The junior room has continued with Scratch, building paddle games, maths multiplications games, explosion game and today we started to make a Pacman game. We usually have a prepared game to give a focus to the session. Once the kids have a basic game created we then discuss ways to improve the game which allows them to take the game in the direction that they are interested in. We often have new people joining so one of the mentors will usually bring them through the basics and help them to get up and running. The senior room meanwhile have worked on the Coder Dojo Limerick website (see link above) in the last while and have now moved on to Robocode. “Robocode is a programming game, where the goal is to develop a robot battle tank to battle against other tanks in Java or .NET. The robot battles are running in real-time and on-screen.” ref http://robocode.sourceforge.net/. The group started by making straight forward changes to pre-existing tanks which come with Robocode and have now moved on to making their own tanks. The mentors decided that the senior group should come in to the junior room today to get everyone involved in Robocode. For the last hour the mentors took a back seat and it was great to see the seniors showing what they knew to the others. They helped with setting up Robocode and then showed how to run battles and make changes to the tanks. Tank colours were being changed, victory dances were being coded and all without input from the mentors. The kids were so engrossed they didn’t seem to want to go home 🙂
So if you like the sound of what’s happening at the Limerick Coder Dojo, come along some Saturday from 12 – 3pm (full details on the website above). There are also Dojo’s in Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Drogheda and London with others planned (details can be found at http://coderdojo.com/).