Dojocon 2013

Arriving at Slane Castle

 

The sun shone on Slane Castle, Co. Meath for Dojocon 2013, the 2nd annual Coder Dojo conference,  on Saturday 13th April. After an early start I arrived unsure what to expect. Fellow mentor Dave, administrator and parent Susie and coordinator Roisín also attended.
James Whelton
From start to finish it was an extremely well organised event. Each session was split into three streams ‘education’, ‘tech’ and ‘creating a dojo’ and there were some very interesting keynote speakers also. Slane castle was a wonderful venue and added to the fun of the day. The most overheard comment was ‘oh, i know your face from twitter’, or ‘Hi, I’m x, I know you from twitter’. There was a very jovial atmosphere and everyone was both helpful and willing to learn from each other. I guess that’s what happens when you get a bunch of volunteers all together.
 
I made lots of contacts, so many nice genuine people,  I know who to talk to about how to make our own badges, I got ideas for how to encourage kids and some tips on how to get kids to start showcasing their work and mentoring themselves. I got a lot of ideas from talking to people in between the talks and at lunchtime. If that was all that happened I still would have come away with a wealth of information to improve our own dojo.  Add to that the talks I attended and my brain was spilling over by the time we left around 7pm.
 

I went to mostly technical stream talks, everything from the future coderdojo rockstars to github to scratching with Leap and Kinect. I went to a talk on child centred learning, very positive and useful in my roles as parent, educator and mentor. I really enjoyed the talk about creating an online learning environment for coderdojo and all the different issues around that. At many of the talks the short 30 minute time frame left me wanting more, the talks were so interesting.

Coderdojo’s Future Rockstars

 

I learnt to solder and to pick locks at lunch time. I was very excited to hear R.E.M. playing at Slane again – ‘Stand’ was on the music mix playing between talks.
 
Kimberley Bryant founder of Black Girls Code gave the last talk of the day, and although people were getting tired by this stage her talk was so moving and inspiring that she reawakened everyone. All in all it was a wonderful experience and I look forward to next year’s conference.

Laura Kenny