No we’re not talking about a mad hatter’s tea party, Japanese style. We’re talking about young people learning to create tech in a community setting using free open source software and inexpensive kit. There’s little doubt that digital skills are becoming integral to employability, and coding clubs are a fun and democratic way to open up the learning to everyone.
Democracy, learning and employability – where better to locate coding clubs than in libraries?
And that’s what’s been happening recently in Glasgow Libraries who have engaged a Coder in Residence with funding from SLIC. As our after AGM speaker, Dr. Martin Goodfellow (@GlasgowCoder) provided an exhilarating tour of the coding landscape. He told us about the partnership between Glasgow Life, CoderDojo Scotland and Virgin Media to make the sessions happen in Glasgow; success stories of up-skilled staff in Glasgow libraries, and building in links with the city’s cultural calendar.
The cultural aspect of the presentation was very interesting because it highlighted the creative aspect of coding as well as the practical application to problem-solving and making things work.
We found out about live-coding of music in night clubs with Sonic Pi and how this can be done using one of these:
or these (it’s true!)
Check this out:
With six months of his residency left, Martin feels that some libraries now have enough staff and volunteers to lead the sessions without his support. Another focus of the residency is pushing the movement into schools and this is already happening in Glasgow. During Martin’s presentation, a non-Glasgow school library tweeted to ask if MmITS and CILIPS could help arrange an introduction to coding for them.
Cathy Kearney of CILIPS asked where the name ‘Dojo’ came from and Martin gave us a crash course in some of the lingo. Dojo is roughly speaking a ‘place of the way’ in which to learn, but one of our favourite terms was ‘sushi’ which is a laminated card that communicates a programming concept in a small bite-size chunk. Predictably, librarians ended the session thinking about their stomachs.
Find out about CoderDojo in Scotland: http://coderdojoscotland.com/
For news about the Digital Making Space and coding sessions at the Mitchell library, visit: http://bit.ly/1LbUK70
Find Dr. Martin on twitter @GlasgowCoder