James Whelton

Ashoka Fellow
Dublin, Ireland
Fellow Since 2012


This profile was prepared when James Whelton was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
James is building a citizen movement of young technology experts with the necessary skills to keep up with the rapidly evolving field of technology. He has crafted a global network of free coding clubs built on action-based learning, collaboration, and open source principles. Not only is James equipping boys and girls with the skills to actively contribute to technology, a key influence in their lives today, but he is also empowering them to combat the growing restrictions and barriers of technology. The openness of the Internet used to be its greatest strength, but it is growing more restricted as it develops.

James’ work addresses the reality that while citizens are active users of the Internet, most do not possess the technical knowledge to understand its reach into their privacy and are ill equipped to contribute new innovation. James’ movement is seeding a whole generation of tech experts and a skilled workforce, and is bringing in excluded populations such as girls and rural residents. Beyond that, through its collaborative, open source approach, CoderDojo is creating a generation of citizen coders—young people and mentors developing into empathetic collaborators while actively contributing to the technological forces that increasingly shape their world.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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