Can you code better than a fifth grader?

Maybe you can today, but the new Digital Dojo in Eugene is out to make sure students are prepared to join the workforce of the future. A partnership between Lane Community College and the City of Eugene, the Eugene Regional Dojo will function as an open source computer coding center aimed at creating a fun and social environment for students to learn creative and technical skills in the computer industry.

This volunteer-led, community-based programming club is aimed at students from elementary school through high school in the Eugene-Springfield area. Organizers of the dojo hope to get students interested in careers in the technology and computer industries by building fluency in technology and creative problem solving skills.

About a dozen local computer industry employees and faculty will provide computer science related educational opportunities and team-based projects to the youth involved. Aiming to build interest and confidence in computer skills early in their schooling, coaches will focus on peer learning, mentoring, and self-led discovery projects. Though the project is targeted towards students in the Eugene school district, workshops are open to anyone in the community.

The Digital Dojo is part of a nationally connected initiative, Coder Dojo, that provides an immersive learning environment for students to learn programming languages and have an opportunity to build something with them. With event topics and activities that teach youth how to code, develop apps, and work on programming topics, the Dojo hopes to encourage creativity and fun while also exploring technology in a relaxed and social environment.

“We want kids to have fun and be safe while focusing on the creative nature of computing and using technology as a tool for solving problems,” said Shareen Vogel, Lane Community College’s Faculty and School Connections Director.

Housed in the LCC Downtown Center, the dojo will also help local tech companies by supporting the growth of a highly qualified and flexible workforce in our region. Groups providing support for Eugene’s Regional Dojo include Lane Community College, the City of Eugene, the Eugene School District, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and Eugene Tech Industry partners.

“The Digital Dojo is an investment in education for today’s students, and economic development for employers, entrepreneurs and employees in the future,” said Nan Laurence, a senior planner with the City of Eugene in the news release. “It will help us strengthen the creative and technical skills needed to build a highly qualified and flexible workforce in the expanding software employment cluster and retain and grow high-tech businesses in our region.”

The Coder Dojo club meets three times a week at the LCC Downtown center starting this December. An open house will be held for the general public on Tuesday, November 18th from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the LCC Downtown Center.

Want to get involved?

All workshops and information will be announced through the Eugene Region Coder Dojo Hub on MeetUp.com. Community members, including those interested in volunteering or participating, are encouraged to join the group to receive notification of future workshops. Workshops are free and open to the all who are interested, but everyone must RSVP in advance.