From left, Prisca Tiassé, Akkana Peck, Neale Pickett and Caroline Boyle. Courtesy photo
LOS ALAMOS MAKERS News:
Los Alamos Makers is organizing a CoderDojo branch for teens. CoderDojo is a free global network of volunteer-led computer programming clubs.
At CoderDojo, teens are welcome to come and learn how to code, build websites, create apps and games, and learn programming languages in a social setting.
Starting Oct. 25, teens ages 13 and up, can participate 6-7 p.m., Tuesday nights at Los Alamos Makers, 3540 Orange St. Suite LV1 in Los Alamos. In addition to the Tuesday CoderDojo meetings, an all-girls coding group will come together each Monday. The theme will be “Wearable Computers”. Girls are welcome to attend either group.
Neale Pickett, Caroline Boyle, Akkana Peck and Prisca Tiassé met Oct. 12 to brainstorm ideas and content. Boyle, who volunteers at Canyoncito Montessori School teaching science, said, “The projects will all be very tangible and perfect for kids who are curious about how apps and other things work.”
“It’s not just for gifted kids or programming-inclined teens,” Tiasse said. “Once you know the basics, you can use programming as a tool to do a number of cool things. I would say that artists, dancers, designers, hobbyists can get a lot out of programming.”
Teens choose what projects they want to do, like creating websites, writing games, generating computer music. But the leaders will be ready to offer fun ideas, like creating flashy computer-powered Halloween costumes, adding wearable motion-tracking computers to sports or dance outfits, or maybe even creating a float for the holiday light-parade.
CoderDojo uses a USB belt or digital badge system to recognize achievement as they learn, which is suitable for collaboration with Girl Scout or Boy Scout troops.
“Our latest ‘Introduction to Arduino’ workshop series, sponsored by LANL and LANS, was such a great success that we wanted to keep the ball rolling. Students from Northern New Mexico, not just Los Alamos, were able to start programming for the first time and came up with their own creative projects. We would like to keep this great program mostly free and accessible to a broad range of teens so we are looking for sponsors to help cover the cost of materials.”
Neale Picket is holding a crazy clock that his students made in a recent programming class hosted by Los Alamos Makers. Courtesy photo