As a parent who graduated in the ’80s, I found the list of classes looked like a foreign language: Learn to Run Linux, The Easy Way with Scratch, Learn to Build with Unity, Explore with Arduino. To me, they all sounded intriguing, but would my son agree? After reading through the list, he chose to start with learning Scratch because he decided it would be good for a beginner. I didn’t question how he figured out that the class was for beginners, but I was excited. If he was going to start, that might mean he would continue.
I truly want my kids to embrace what is going on around them in the high-tech world, but in reality I would settle for them just to keep up. While my family may not give host to the next Steve Jobs, at a minimum I want my kids to be exposed to the tools that could help advance them in the ever changing techno world. But like most things, cost is a factor, and I didn’t see these types of classes being offered at my son’s middle school. I also didn’t see him browsing the Internet to figure out how to learn on his own.
Then a friend enlightened me about coding classes being offered for free through CoderDojo. CoderDojo has initiated a global movement to provide FREE local computer programing classes to kids ages 7-17, teaching them to explore technology, to code and to develop websites, apps, programs, games — all at no cost. The goal is to encourage creativity while having fun with other kids interested in technology in a relaxed and social environment.
Through an online process, we registered my son for the two-hour Scratch programming class. The class was held on a Saturday afternoon at the local university. After the class, my teenager of many words described in depth how the class went by saying it was “great.” I have no doubt he would try another in a heartbeat.
To see if CoderDojo offers classes in your area, click here for a Dojo list by region. If you don’t see your area listed, you can start one on your own or pass the information on to another person or organization that might be able to help get one started.
We found other organizations that offer free courses in coding:
Blockly. Blockly teaches programming to kids by offering a series of educational games. Children who are new to programming can play free fun games using drag and drop and learn about text-based languages.
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