EXPLORATION OF LEARNING GAINED THROUGH CODERDOJO CODING ACTIVITIES
Cork Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:In an increasingly digital world there is a considerable divide between those who are considered to be digitally literate and those who are not. In addition, among those who are digitally literate there is a divide between those capable of engaging with technology as competent users and those capable of developing software themselves, between users and creators. As technology becomes more pervasive in our society it has impacts in education, health, culture and work. In terms of the workplace impact it is clear that the current skills deficits, gaps and mismatches are generating significant demand for skilled information technology workers and the ability to meet this demand can have substantial impact on economic development for many European economies.
Developing appropriate technological skills and competence among young people has been the focus of many government, industry-led and voluntary schemes and has given rise to a diverse set of initiatives around Europe. However, little has been published on the attainment of knowledge, skill, competence and evidence of learning outcomes through these initiatives. This research has focused on the efforts to support development of coding capability among young people through the CoderDojo voluntary initiative and to identify the skills which are potentially transferable in an education and workplace context. CoderDojo is a global movement of free, volunteer-led, community based programming clubs for young people between the ages of seven and seventeen. The movement was founded by James Whelton and Bill Liao, an entrepreneur and philanthropist. From the first Dojo founded in Cork in Ireland in 2011, the movement has grown significantly and by May 2015 there were over 675 verified Dojos in 57 countries globally. Through a review of the extant literature and the development of a potential skills acquisition template, this research seeks to identify and evaluate the knowledge, skills and competence that may be developed by participants in the CoderDojo movement. Before seeking to identify the skills that might be attained through programming activities, consideration of the broad themes and language of digital skills attainment is presented. The actual skills that are attained are considered in relation to the context within which the learning takes place. The European Commission elaborates on the kinds of skills that are necessary for active participation in the digital information society, often termed ‘21st Century Skills’, including digital competence (European Commission Joint Research Centre, 2011). A research instrument is developed in association with project collaborators in the CoderDojo volunteer coding movement. The findings from the research are analysed and mechanisms to evidence, recognise and, where appropriate, evaluate the learning gained in the context of formal education systems or workplace competencies are explored. It is through considering the broader contexts of education standards and workplace needs the research seeks to facilitate the mobility of learners and learning.
CoderDojo Training in ICT Programming Skills [CoderDojo] project has received funding from the European Union through the Erasmus+ Programme, Key Action 2: Strategic Partnerships.
Keywords: Technology, CoderDojo, Coding, Recognition, Validation, Identification of Learning, Transferable, Skills, Competence, Evaluation, Standards, Workplace, ICT.