Caring Education

Cool idea: CoderDoJo comes to Pensacola

July 2, 2014

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UWF Innovation Institute joins CoderDoJo movement, hosts programming classes for kids

Twice a month, the University of West Florida Innovation Institute is hosting a CoderDojo programming class for kids ages 7-17 to engage in a fun learning experience where they will learn how to code, develop apps, websites, games and more.

CoderDojo is an open source, volunteer-led movement that establishes free, non-profit coding clubs and sessions for elementary, middle and high school students. To date, there are over 440 clubs in 43 countries and counting. Pensacola’s dojo is the first in northern Florida with other clubs in Tampa and Miami. The UWF Innovation Institute, with the support of its community partners, including AppRiver, Beck Properties, Silver Bullet and GBSI, hosted the first “CoderDojo Pensacola” on Thursday, June 19, with 15 student “ninjas” ages 6-15 participating.

“Championing and leading the CoderDojo Pensacola club enables the UWF Innovation Institute to provide a free club opportunity for young people in this community to learn to program and write code,” said Kathy Denkler, assistant director for Cyber Security & Institute Industry and Community Partnerships at the Innovation Institute. “Our ninjas learn critical thinking skills, and by helping each other they also develop teamwork skills along the way. Computing skills are a critical necessity for IT and cybersecurity career fields. During the class 6 year olds were having fun and sharing the excitement of success with their parents. It’s rewarding when the light comes on in their heads and they get it at such a young age.”

The CoderDojo initiative is part of the Innovation Institute’s efforts to engage students in immersive science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, experiences. By involving them in STEM education early on, the Institute hopes to build a solid pipeline from elementary to college and prepare them for future careers in high demand fields, such as IT and cybersecurity.

CoderDojo programming classes will be held at the Innovation Institute, located at 321 North DeVilliers St. in downtown Pensacola, on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month. The next event will be on July 10 from 6-8 p.m.

For additional information about the global CoderDojo movement, visit coderdojo.com. To register for classes, visit the CoderDojo Pensacola Facebook, www.facebook.com/coderdojopensacola. Classes are limited to 20 students and are open for registration after each class is completed. To learn more about CoderDojo Pensacola, contact pensacola.us@coderdojo.com.

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