Children get fighting fit for computers
Porirua children are earning their black belt through computer coding and information technology at e-learning Porirua, but organisers want more children from lower decile schools.
CoderDojo runs fortnightly on Sunday afternoons, with about 20 children from the age of 5 learning computer coding and programming.
The club started in March at the RSA in Porirua East, and will be running indefinitely as children progress through more advanced stages of IT.
Tim Davies- Colley, executive programme manager of e-learning Porirua, said the club was run like a dojo.
Children earned prizes, badges and belts as they progressed through different skills, such as learning Blockley coding, Node coding and assembling a computer hard- drive from scratch, said Davies-Colley.
‘‘ We show them the main components of a computer and point out specific parts, like the processor, central processing unit and RAM, and have them connect it all back up to the monitor and boot up the system. If they get it right, they earn a badge for their belt.’’
Davies Colley said families attending were mostly from wealthier areas of Porirua, with parents who had an IT background.
‘‘We are keen to see more kids from lower decile areas who have an interest in technology, even if their parents have no knowledge,’’ he said.
Eli Martin, 10, said he loved using the variety of different programming languages.
‘‘ Programming is like a big powerful sword that you have to learn how to use and then your creativity is unleashed,’’ he said.
Bessie Martin, 8, likes CoderDojo because it is opening new options and helps her to understand new things.
The club has the strict policy of parents staying at each session to encourage their children and help as mentors.
Eli and Bessie’s mother, Emma, helps as a mentor.
‘‘It’s just incredible seeing all of these kids so focused on learning,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s not even just about coding. It’s about learning logical reasoning. ‘‘And they love it. ‘‘This generation has grown up playing games on iPads.
‘‘The digital world is their water and they swim in it instinctively.’’
Steve Stanley has a 9-year-old son who attends CoderDojo. He said he had always been attracted to technology.
‘‘When he’s not at the sessions he gets into it at home, too, and has worked through about 28 modules just in the past few weeks,’’ he said.
The club is free, but a donation is encouraged if the family can afford it.
Davies- Colley said the programme taught children IT skills, problem-solving skills and logic, and gave them a head start in the digital age. He is also designing a programme specifically for Maori and Pacific teenagers.
Intricate work: From left, mentor Jenny Miller, Grayson Fenemor and mentor Rami Douad assemble a computer.