Our monthly Bradford Coder Dojo was a bit busier than usual this weekend, at least for the mentors, with three sessions available to the kids that came along.

Paul Scott ran a session on getting Raspberry Pis up and running (which I had chance to take part in!). Shi and Kris promised “something advanced”!

For me, it was my fifth Dojo overall, my third as a mentor. I drew to a close my three lesson “course” on learning to make a simple web page.

For each of the last three months the kids have had lessons in:

  1. Some basic HTML,
  2. How to style that HTML with some simple CSS,
  3. Joining the pages made in a group together as a little website, and posting it to the internet.

I kept it top level, teaching how HTML is an on/off language, how you just need HTML, HEAD, and BODY tags for a basic HTML page - and took it from there! Every child in my sessions had to code their own page, and I gave them some chance to put their own content on those pages - as well as the chance to style them as they wanted!

You can see the output from Saturday’s Coder Dojo at this link. The kids were really excited when I showed them how to transfer the stuff over by FTP!

Along the way I tried to inspire the kids by just getting on by doing, and giving them a glimpse of what is possible with HTML and CSS with Bryan James’s awesome Species in Pieces.

I ended the third and final session telling them I’d coded the recent Code Cafe page on a bus journey home, and there was enough on that page (if they viewed the page source!) for them to use what they’d learnt in my lessons and dig deeper.

My hope is the sessions have lifted the lid a little for the students so they understand what happens when you select some copy and click the emboldening B in WordPress.

What’d be great? If these sessions launches one of my students to dig deeper, to get stuck into HTML, to become a CSS wiz, to hand-code their own website. That’d be amazing. Awesome? If at one of the upcoming Coder Dojos ones of those kids shows off what they’ve done since the sessions I’ve run! We’ll see what next month brings, eh!

Talking of which, if you’re interested in coming to the Bradford Coder Dojo (as a child or a parent wanting to bring their child), there’s one more Bradford Coder Dojo in about a month’s time before we have August off due to the summer holidays. The sessions are free, held in the middle of Bradford in Little Germany, and anyone that comes gets guidance from fun lovin’ (what Paul Scott calls) “professionals”. We do it for free to give the kids there a chance to get excited and into code, and show off what they do. And we’d love more to come! Give us a try!

You can find out more on the Bradford Coder Dojo page at http://www.ticbradford.com/coderdojo.

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How I learnt to code