A parental code that gets adults talking the language
LIKE A lot of adults who have heard about CoderDojo ( Coderdojo.com), James Whelton’s wonderful Irish initiative to teach children how to code, you might be feeling a little left out.
CoderDojo has had phenomenal success in introducing children to computer programming in a way that is fun, challenging and, perhaps most critically, cool.
It has been so successful that it has already spread beyond the borders of this nation, to places as varied as the US, India, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Uganda, the UK, and more.
While an adult needs to accompany a child to CoderDojo coding sessions, the problem – at least, as many of us see it – is that the kids get to have all the fun, and the adults are just there for transport and support.
Now, CoderDojo is absolutely right in putting us in the back seat on this one. But an awful lot of us adults have looked on longingly from the sidelines, wishing that we could get our hands (metaphorically) dirty with code as well.
Personally, I think there would actually be quite a lot of grown-up interest if the kids would feel sorry for us and allow some adult branches of CoderDojo.
So many of the classes that are out there for adults are really geared to people who already have some skill, and know what they’re doing.
What a lot of us want – that’s me raising my hand at the back of the class – is a really fun and simple introduction to coding, and a great environment in which to try out new things: exactly what CoderDojo does for kids. While we wait and hope, there is a self-teaching alternative for all of us grown-ups, however. It’s the online Codecademy initiative ( Codecademy.com), based out of the US. It’s a free, fun and gentle introduction to computer coding, over a year-long course, that provides a lesson a week that people can follow at their own speed and in their own time. Like CoderDojo, the intention of Codecademy is really to get students coding, with the goal of being able to write an app and create a website within a year, or less. But, handily, online nobody knows you’re a grown-up, so you can sneak in and dig right into this course, too.
Once you sign up, you can jump straight into your first lesson which has the wonderful benefit of getting you started with some basic code, without you even realising that that’s what you’re doing.