Kids Tech Club will continue as it did last year (six-week sessions focusing on free online tools for image editing, animation, QR codes, etc.), but it has developed and revealed another need. Space, age restrictions and the students’ growing skills mean that a follow-up opportunity was needed. I surveyed the summer participants and learned that most of them were interested in a group focused on computer programming.
The teen librarian and I started talking a coding club for Grades 5–8 and then we struck gold while looking at models out there including the CoderDojo movement. A group of staff and students at the University of Iowa started a Coder Dojo in the spring and were looking to attract more students. We have teamed up and beginning September 22, CoderDojo Iowa City will host monthly Coder Dojos in the library’s computer lab. They’ve been great to work with so far and I’m super excited about how this is going to work out. Response from past Tech Club members has been overwhelmingly positive and we’ve attracted new teens as well. Currently the mentors plan to teach HTML and Python with some Scratch possibly thrown into the mix as well.
One thing that concerns me based on registration to date for the fall Tech Club and responses to CoderDojo. Girls seem to be gravitating to Tech Club and boys to Coding Club. Until now Tech Club has been 50/50 girls and boys. I would like this to be the case for CoderDojo as well. I hate to see girls skipping an opportunity to learn how to program. I’ll be keeping an eye on this trend and report back on it and other aspects of CoderDojo throughout the fall.