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James Whelton

Coder Dojo

Impact Winner 2012

Coder Dojo
Aviva Cohen
John Kearney

Coder Dojo is an Irish led, global network of free not-for-profit computer clubs where young people learn to code and develop websites, apps, games and more. It is taught by professionals who volunteer their time and is entirely free.

The Challenge

As the importance of computer literacy and IT skills rises in the modern economy, there is a growing challenge to find appropriate ways to teach these complex and ever changing skills. IT education is not currently a part of the Irish school curriculum and
the technology and skill sets move so quickly that it would be hard for schools to deliver this education successfully.

At the same time, there is a growing body of children who have a strong interest in this area. While children who are interested in sports or who thrive in the traditional school environment are well catered for, there is little support available for children who enjoy coding or other IT related activities.

The Idea

When he was still in school, James Whelton started a computer club for his classmates to teach them about computers and coding. So popular was the initial class that there was soon interest from neighbouring schools and James realised the latent demand that existed for this. In response to the overwhelming demand, James founded Coder Dojo, an Irish led, global network of free not-for-profit computer clubs where young people learn to code and develop websites, apps, games and more. It is taught by professionals who volunteer their time and is entirely free. It also provides laptops for children who do not have them wherever possible and also reaches out to remote locations.

The Impact

Coder Dojo has proven to be hugely popular and highly scalable. There are now 53 Dojos in Ireland and 126 Dojos in total around the world, from San Francisco to Melbourne to Tokyo. The Dojo fills a gap in the existing education system, providing highly innovative methods of learning that suit the content being delivered. The young people who attend Coder Dojo make friends, build confidence and develop a stronger sense of purpose. With so many Irish young people attending Coder Dojo, this further strengthens Ireland’s place as a premier destination for technology and IT companies, bringing further employment to the country.

CoderDojo changed my life.

Harry Moran, 12 year old Coder Dojo attendee & app developer

James Whelton, Impact Award, 2012

Children opening a computer Figuring out how it all works

James leading a class at Coder DojoJames leading a class at Coder Dojo


Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, First Floor, The Warehouse, 35 Barrow St., Dublin 4, Ireland
Phone: +353 1 631 6200, Email: info@socialentrepreneurs.ie

Company No: 433846, Registered Charity No: CHY 17524, © SEI 2012

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