How about a "forum based" Dojo?

  • Ref: The article at Remote/ Online Dojo

    I am interested in participating in the Dojo experience both as a mentor and as the eternal student. However, the closest Dojo is more than 8 hours away in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    Yea, yea, I know. . . Why not start your OWN Dojo?!! (And, yes, I am sure Moscow is ripe for one too.)

    First, my own command of Russian is limited, especially technical Russian.
    Second, I would like to know more about the “Dojo experience” before striking out on my own.

    The most compelling reason for something like this, (IMHO), is the fact that there may be a significant number of people who want to participate, have Internet, but no way to get to a physical Dojo.

    I believe this has merit because:

    1. It provides a Dojo for those who can’t get to a Dojo.
    2. By bringing people together, it can help create physical Dojos where they haven’t existed before - having met on the forum based Dojo.
    3. It allows people to participate, regardless of location or time zone.
    4. It can contain any number of sub-fora for any number of supported platforms.

    And so on.

    What say ye?

    Jim “JR”

  • Hi @Jim-Harris,

    Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm!

    Generally we do not recommend that CoderDojo clubs (Dojos) take place remotely or via online platforms. This is because the fun, social environment is an important aspect of the Dojo, where young people are able to make friends and learn from each other. Dojos are not like traditional classrooms, with teachers and students; rather they are fun, informal and collaborative spaces, where young people are able to create awesome projects with code, together.

    If you are hoping to get a better sense of the Dojo experience, below are some places you can start:

    • You should certainly take a look at our Champions’ Handbook to begin with. This is the go-to guide for all new Dojos Champions and has a wealth of information. It is available to download here.
    • We run a free online Start a Dojo course, which you can join. The course is 3 weeks in duration and takes only 2 hours of your time per week. This is an essential introduction for all new champions/mentors into the world of CoderDojo! It covers aspects of starting a Dojo, such as finding a venue, gathering a team, learning resources and much more. You can check the next start date of the course using the link above.

    If you are concerned about your level of Russian, it would be definitely be worth searching for mentors who can help you out with the more spoken aspects of the Dojo. As the champion however, it is not strictly necessary for you to be fluent in the local language - champions are like the ‘Project Managers’ of the Dojo, and just need to be confident with setting up the club and bringing people together for a common cause :)


  • @Amy-O’Meara

    To a great extent I absolutely agree with you.

    Since I have never been one to let the grass grow under my feet, I made a point of asking my son Kirill - who IS fluent in Russian - what the process would be to interest my granddaughter’s school in something like this. Likewise, if I wanted to “endow” the school with a relatively large collection of micro:bit’s or Raspberry Pi’s, what would be the best way to do it.

    I am quite interested in this - it brings me back to my (ahem!) “younger days” when I went to Atari and PC user groups.

    I believe that when young people make life choices about what they want to do with themselves, these should be intelligent choices.

    If my granddaughters want to become engineers, drug discovery chemists, doctors, lawyers, or Indian Chiefs, they should have the opportunity to do so. Likewise - should they decide to become homemakers, wives and mothers - that’s fine too. Whatever they decide should be an intelligent choice, based on an exposure to a wide variety of alternatives, instead of being dictated by religion, culture, or what your great-uncle William thinks you should do.

    One of those alternatives should be exposure to the technology/maker community. Maybe they like it? Maybe not? That’s ultimately their choice - but I want them to see and experience it first.

    I will see what I can do about looking into the resources you provided - I obviously have a lot of reading to do!

    I dunno, having been hefted to where I am “on the shoulders of giants”, so to speak, I want to share some of the trifling knowledge I have picked up with those that come behind me. Or have it done somehow or other.

    Perhaps a “Dojo” is the way to go. All I have to do is figure out a way to get people interested.

    What say ye?

    Jim “JR”

    P.S. I still wish there was a way I could attend remotely. It would be fun to see what everyone else is doing. So, does any Dojo want to “adopt” a crusty old codger like me?

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    Hi @Jim-Harris
    Ya, and while CoderDojo does help young people experience coding and try it out for themselves it is just as much about the social and creative aspects, where young people get to make websites, apps, games with peers. Making things that they want to make based around things they are interested in and seeing the possibilities understanding technology can create.
    Additionally technology/coding is integrating more and more into every occupation, from farming to medicine, so it makes sense to have an understanding of it even if you don’t plan on being a software engineer.

    While not the Dojo located closest to you @Brian-Matthews has set up a Dojo in Russia you can see it’s profile page here. He is originally from Ireland and was involved in running a Dojo in Ireland before moving to Russia and setting up one there. Given his experience as a native English speaker setting up a Dojo in Russia, I thought it might be useful to put you both in touch with each other to possibly support you in setting up a Dojo. :)

    I’m sure there is a Dojo out there that would be interested in having you skype in to see the kinds of things they do too :slight_smile:

  • @Nuala-McHale

    Since I believe that you are not aware of the magnitude of the distances involved, let me say this:

    Going from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don is roughly the equivalent of traveling from Cork at the southern part of Ireland all the way to the northernmost part of Scotland to attend a Dojo. It’s a solid couple of days - each way - by express train.

    Obviously not a good choice. St. Petersburg’s Dojo is closer than that, being only somewhere between eight and twelve hours away by fast train.

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    @Jim-Harris I meant that ye could talk here on the forums, or via a phone call given that you both speak English, so he could talk you through what it was like for him setting up a Dojo.
    I studied Geography for four years in University so I am aware of the physical distance :smile:

  • @Nuala-McHale

    So sorry. Since I am not female, I cannot read minds nor do I have eyes on the back of my head.

    Seriously, you are one of the exceptions - many people I’ve met that, (supposedly), graduated high-school wouldn’t know their national capital from a hole in the ground if it bit them. As they used to say in the Marines, (and maybe still do), “He couldn’t find his [bum] with both hands and a map!”

    Now that I understand you, this makes much more sense.

    I would still like to find the adult equivalent of a Dojo.

    On a similar, but different topic - what are you folks doing to support and involve the more challenged individuals in your communities? Not just the physically challenged, but the ones with developmental and/or learning disabilities? Particularly those “on the spectrum” or the Aspberger’s individual may not have many non-threatening opportunities to socialize.

    Jim “JR”

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