(This is post 1 of 3).
The “pre-conference” portion of the Scratch World Conference, Creative Communities, in Amsterdam last month included a meeting for Coderdojo mentors. This was organised and hosted by Liberty Global, who also sponsored the conference. It took place in a wonderful venue – the OBA – the Openbare Bibliotheek – a most amazing library space. (This place is open 10am-10pm 24/7/365, a truly amazing space, if you are visiting Amsterdam, don’t miss it).
Thank you Analise from Liberty Global and Joek from Scratch2015Ams for the invitation to chair this meeting of fellow Coderdojo mentors. We had mentors, and would-be mentors, from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, Italia, Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.
Ivo Poulissen from Nederlandict.nl (representing the Netherlands National Coalition for digital jobs), and Nico Vierhout, (VP Apps and Development, Liberty Global), both spoke of supports available to Coderdojo groups in the Netherlands. We saw a short video of the Monster Dojo (1000 students together in one day) that had recently taken place in Belgium.
We had a lively discussion and shared ideas we had tried, and wished to try, in our various dojos. Most of the focus of our questions and answers was on a central topic: mentors, mentors, mentors. It was good to see that the driving force in dojos, in each country represented at the meeting, was the same – how to ensure that any youngster who wishes to learn to code can be helped to do so. We also spoke of the challenges we faced (again we all seem to have the same experience) – venues, sustainability, support structures. But mostly it was about mentors- how to find enough mentors.
The session concluded with a “Call to Action”, inviting potential mentors to sign up to get involved (see below).
This was a great opportunity for like-minded people to meet so early in the conference schedule, as it gave us a chance to get to know each other, and find each other to continue our conversations over the next few days.