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News May 10, 2016

CapTecher Macon Pegram's RVA Coder Dojo Nominated for the RichTech Innovation in Education Award


RICHMOND, VA – May 10, 2016 – CapTech is pleased to recognize CapTecher Macon Pegram who was nominated for the Richmond Technology Council's (RichTech) award for Innovation in Education. RichTech will be presenting Richmond's Twenty-First Annual "Academy Awards" of Technology at their Tech Gala on May 11, 2016 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The Awards celebrate technologists driving the River City's technology-based economy. Pegram's RVA Coder Dojo received two nominations for making education in programing and coding accessible to Richmond's youth.

Pegram founded the RVA Coder Dojo in June 2014 after learning about similar programs around the world. The program offers free monthly sessions for children in the community, ages 5 – 17 (though they have had some younger guests), with the desire to help young digital consumers become digital producers. The Dojo does this through a combination of lecture-based workshops and self-paced learning using: Scratch, Java, Web Programing (Javascript, CSS, HTML), Robocode, Minecraft, Computer Science Unplugged, and a monthly "Hour of Code".

The Dojo has over 200 "ninjas" registered and has held more than 50 sessions in the past two years, including a hackathon. Partnering with the Richmond Public Library, who provides free meeting spaces and computer resources, Pegram, along with a cast of mentors and volunteers, hosts two parallel lecture type sessions on Saturdays– one for beginners and one for more advanced coders – where mentors guide coders through a project. The Saturday sessions then conclude with the "Hour of Code", after which the coders have the opportunity to present what they have created in the hour. In addition to learning coding skills, the sessions foster soft skills such as collaboration and communication.Ninjas from the program have gone on to become active members of robotics teams and frequent contributors on Scratch.

Pegram has consulted with the County of Chesterfield to help bring technology based programs to their library system and will be assisting Henrico County Library in hosting a Hackathon this summer. Fellow CapTechers Kevin Dendtler, Chris Heniz, David Burgess, and Josh Stickles have donated their time and served as mentors at the program. Additionally, IT Director Brett Bajcsi donated ten used laptops that are available to kids who do not have access to their own.

To learn more about the RVA Coder Dojo, visit them online at:

Twitter: @rvacoderdojo


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