Harvard-Westlake hosts CoderDojo

hallie-224x300Budding programmers continue to flock to CoderDojo’s popular, volunteer-led classes to learn how to create simple games and applications. The latest session, held at the Harvard-Westlake school in Los Angeles, had young coders using Scratch to build a “breakout”-style game – familiar to anyone who grew up in the 1980s – complete with animation and sounds.

But this CoderDojo session was a little different. Not only was it hosted at Harvard-Westlake, it was actually initiated by students at the school. Ethan Gruman and David Waldenberg, both Grade 11 students who are comfortable with advanced languages like Java and C#, reached out to CoderDojo as a way to spread their technology savvy to younger users.

Aided by other Harvard-Westlake students, novice programmers like Hallie, age 9, honed their skills and tested new aspects of Scratch that they’d tried out at home. Other attendees like Liam, Sharif, Iggy and Logan modified the script to create their own unique and visually stimulating versions of the games.

In many ways, Harvard-Westlake was the ideal setting. A notable alumnus of the school is astronaut Sally Ride. And the school is known for its small classes and unique approach to teaching. In fact, this summer, the school will run its first Innovation Camp where students can immerse themselves in an intense eight-week development experience.

True to CoderDojo’s mission, this session demonstrated the best of collaboration and education in action.

Previously published on CoderDojo Los Angeles, March 23, 2014.

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