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Our first Hangout Dojo together

By on mercoledì, 18 dicembre, 2013

The Computer Science Education week has just ended and millions of kids, educators and organizations have been involved in the Hour of Code initiative.

People from all over the world, all at the same time, have been speaking the same language, the one you don’t need to translate: code.

Programming is a new way to express creativity, to share knowledge, to make ideas become real.

It was a huge opportunity to gather together the italian CoderDojo community but also passionate tech teachers and enthusiastic makers who work with us, so we tried to do something we hadn’t experienced yet: an hangout dojo!

We wanted to show our kids that they are not alone, that also other kids are using immagination to create games, animations, music, interactive cards…

Also, the hangout was a nice way to meet all together, to see our faces and listen our voices, to present projects to other kids, mentors and teachers.

Agnese from CoderDojo Roma proposed the challenge inviting all the participants. We had to synchronize our activities and cross our fingers for the Internet connection but, of course, the challenge was immediately accepted by everyone, it was very exciting!

Lorenzo, a mentor who is now in Dublin, offered technical support and was our moderator from Ireland. He was wearing a virtual pirate hat and using other funny effects that made kids (and adults too) laught all the time!

Caterina was with her primary school students in Sigillo, a small town in Umbria. They created some Scratch projects with the Befana, the old woman who delivers presents on Epiphany Eve, riding a flying broom.

Beatrice, who teaches creative computing with Scratch, was in her school in Fabriano with the school director and some children, working on different awesome projects.

Carmelo and the other mentors in CoderDojo Bologna were helping kids to create snow flakes in Scratch, making them real using a 3d printer and using Scratch for Arduino to drive the wonderful MilkBot created by Giacomo.

The kids in CoderDojo Milano were experimenting more advanced languages. As Angelo explained, they were using the Hour of Code tutorials to learn Blockly, Python, Javascript, HTML and CSS.

Marco and the young coders from CoderDojo Allumiere were letting Santa fly in the Scratch sky and learning how to use a storyboard to tell about the Palio, the horse race in their town.

Santa Claus was also in CoderDojo Roma, while Marco and his fellows of NUME (New Music for Education) held a HelloSound session, demonstrating how to use Processing to create music, using geometrical shapes.

Adriano, a creative maker and robot builder, was hidden beyond a Scratch cat, and kids were very happy to meet him in person and to talk with their favorite “sprite”.

Also friends from CoderDojo Catania joined us, they were programming a Tombola, a traditional Christmas game.

Kids have been actively involved in the conversation: some of them were a bit shy, others were very excited to share their experience in front of a webcam, but all of them were curious about things others were building.
It was also a great way to empower our personal relationships and to promote collaboration between dojos.

We are using a national google group and a common portal to share events, coderdojoitalia.org, because we all believe that doing things and hanging out together is the best way to grow.

The hangout dojo was a special experience and we’re definitely going to repeat it.

It was amazing to learn how many different things we are able to say. All using the same language.

 

Agnese Addone (translation by Carmelo Presicce)