We always need mentors at all levels and not just for coding. We have mentors who are expert programmers, mentors who use computers but don’t program, mentors who are qualified teachers with varying programming skills and mentors from completely outside IT who’ve learned the basics enough to help.
At WingerDojo we see CoderDojo as more than programming skills. We help children learn how to search for information on the internet for projects, how to import and edit photos on a computer and how to build up a sound track from recorded elements. If we had a mentor who could teach web development, the graphic design aspects, we’d like to teach that too. One advantage we have over a traditional school is that in one classroom we have mentors from many different backgrounds and with different skills.
To start mentoring the minimum requirement is to have a willingness to listen to a child, to ask what they are doing and genuinely be interested.
Help with admin…
Parents can help in many ways other than mentoring. Many Dojo parents help in various was. They are helping put a welcome pack together, sorting out child protection documentation, keeping track of what happens in the press and on twitter and helping with the planning of a learning initiative.
To help mentor with Scratch you should try out the free download of Scratch 1.4 before a dojo session.
We come closest to normal teaching in the Scratch group. Scratch is a computer language in which children can very quickly learn how to make simple animations and get the basic concepts of programming (repeating an action…, if this then do that… and so on). We usually start with a theme or idea for the dojo session. Then mentors go round seeing how the children are doing and helping the children find answers to what that child is trying to do with Scratch. It’s a 3 hour session with a 20 minute break half way through. Then at the end of the dojo a few children show what they have been working on to the rest of the group. We ask children to help each other and the idea is that very largely the group sustains itself.
We are also working to make the dojo an environment where mentors can learn new skills too. For example in the robotics group technical mentors who are well ahead of the children in what they know about programming are still learning things about electronics and designing a robot.
The first step is to contact us, please fill out the mentor registration form.