logo CoderDojo FoundationCoding is all the rage lately, and especially CoderDojos are sprouting everywhere.

When I decided I would create a CoderDojo, I noticed two things:

  1. becoming a Champion is pretty easy, you basically only have to show up
  2. when it comes to launching and running your Dojo, you’re on your own.
logo of CoderDojo Rimini

Logo, CoderDojo Rimini

I’m not saying there aren’t extraordinary people in the talk groups (there are). I’m just saying I’m not the kind of guy who can post “OK guys, newbie here, where do I start?”.

My bad, but I look for references, standards, procedures, methodologies. That’s what I do when I meet a new language or environment, or problem, or anything else.

I set out and looked for them. And found none.

So I made my own. And tested them. I launched and currently run two Dojos with them (Rimini and Pesaro).

logo CoderDojo Pesaro

logo CoderDojo Pesaro

They may not be perfect, but they are not meant to. They are meant to be used and improved upon. No new tool is perfect, and this is how you build great tools.

In detail, what I have done so far is a small set of checklists:

  1. how to create the Dojo and prepare the first event
  2. how to prepare any subsequent event
  3. how to run an event
  4. a set of rules defining the basic ethos I want in a Dojo, which I call “Mac Duff” Model (there’s a reason for this, and it in the README, of course).

The CoderDojoTools are not meant to substitute your work as a Champion, quite the contrary. They are meant to help you not sweat the small things and save time for the important ones.

Organising and running the actual event requires a large number of trivial details, and each one, if overlooked, can severely degrade the dojo experience. With CoderDojoTools you can copy the list of things to do, drop it into a Trello board, assign the tasks, and go back to doing important stuff, like talking to public administrators, media and sponsors.

A few details:

  • the checklists are in Markdown, they are meant to be used as such, or copied and pasted in whichever other format you need, to become posts, fliers or whatever else you may need
  • CDT is release under CC-BY-SA, so you can modify it, distribute it, make fliers and posters of it, for free, simply by mentioning the original author, i.e., yours truly
  • CDT is a github repository, so if you want to put your own additions, just make a pull request.

Get the CoderDojoTools now at https://github.com/richardmacduff/coderDojoTools

CDT works for me, I hope it works just as well for you too. Do let me know.

All the best for your Dojo and remember: Above All, Be Cool!

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