After a hugely successful fundraising campaign that took place at the best-of-tech Mira Awards gala in April, TechPoint Foundation for Youth launched CoderDojo Indiana in June with the goal of creating free CoderDojo clubs to teach computer programming to Indiana students ages seven through 17.
Indiana already had four existing CoderDojos. TechPoint Foundation for Youth launched 10 new CoderDojos through its US2020 initiative, and the organization will launch 20 more CoderDojos for a grand total of 34 statewide.
Indiana is the first state in the nation to make a commitment of this scale providing free coding programs to all students through the formation of a statewide alliance with the CoderDojo Foundation. Indiana is outpacing states traditionally viewed as tech giants like California (24 Dojos) and New York (3 Dojos), solidifying our state’s position as a great place for tech talent and tech innovation.
Thanks to the generous donations made by the Indiana technology community at the Mira Awards, nearly 100 students across Indiana have already gained access to CoderDojo programming. Three new CoderDojos opened their doors this summer for the first time in Lafayette, Terre Haute, and Marion, and all three are complete with laptops and Raspberry Pi devices, which are tiny and affordable computers for learning programming.
Students (a.k.a. Ninjas at the Dojos) took part in Hour of Code and Scratch tutorials as part of their introduction to the CoderDojo freeform learning environment. In the coming months, these student ninjas will explore a much wider variety of coding concepts and delve deeper into the world of computer science led by volunteer leaders known as “Champions.”
CoderDojo Indiana to Double+
These Dojos mark the start of a year-long initiative to launch 20 new Dojos statewide in partnership with the Eleven Fifty Academy’s Cool Coding Awareness outreach program. These new Dojos join the four existing CoderDojos, as well as the 10 Dojos started by TechPoint Foundation for Youth in 2016 around Central Indiana. Working alongside CoderDojo Foundation, based in Dublin, Ireland, these Dojos have formed what is now known as CoderDojo Indiana, an initiative of TechPoint Foundation for Youth.
In testament to the demand and interest of Indiana’s young people, registration for all three of the new Indiana Dojos hit capacity days before their initial meetings were announced. As a result, Champions in each community are now working to recruit new volunteers and partners to expand and strengthen their programs.
Volunteers fill critical roles in the operation of each Dojo, helping to plan and deliver material and forming relationships with regular attendees to foster students’ passion for technology. The presence of additional volunteers at each Dojo will increase the site’s capacity to serve more students and will also allow for a wider variety of activities to be implemented each month.