It was a proud moment for Calcey when we hosted Sri Lanka’s first CoderDojo session last weekend. CoderDojo is a global collaboration of computer programmers to facilitate free and open learning for aspiring young people. CoderDojo training is usually focused on learning programming languages.
The session was held at Sri Sudarshanaramaya, Welipenna, Madawala. The Karuna Trust had selected 30 school children of age 12~14 from this area and provided them with Leadership, English Language and Computer Operation Skills training. Ten children joined this ongoing program, for the CoderDojo sessions.
The CoderDojo program is aimed at instilling programming skills in Small Basic and will consist of twelve-weekend sessions in all. Small Basic is an educational language that introduces essential programming concepts for kids and serves as a stepping-stone for learning more advanced object-oriented programming paradigms like Visual Basic. In fact, the students could simply export their Small Basic code into Visual Basic and study it. The children learned how to write their very first computer program on their first day (a simple “Hello World”), and figured out how to draw shapes programmatically on the screen.
It was nice to see six of the participants were girls, in the context that the software industry is currently trying hard to increase the number of female software developers within the industry worldwide.
The team of trainers included Calcey’s CEO Mangala Karunaratne, Technical Project Manager Asela Indika, Senior Software Engineer Nilanka Seelawardena and myself. Mahinda Karunaratne, Chairperson of The Karuna Trust, was also present.
“I walked out of our first CoderDojo session full of satisfaction. I saw the sheer joy in the eyes of these kids when they saw the “Hello World” app they wrote actually work, with a red background and blue fonts. They were so eager to do more. I extend a big thank you to everyone at Calcey who helped us to organize this program, and CoderDojo for the concept. This will be the beginning of something that we all can be very proud of”remarked Mangala, on our way back to Colombo.
The prep and the actual sessions were a lot of fun for us at Calcey, especially because the attendees seemed to enjoy them very much. It is something truly different from the commercial software development that we do. I look forward to the next CoderDojo session this Saturday.