How to Run a Successful Code Dojo

Hello Code Dojo Teachers,

USC student volunteers are looking forward to speaking with students in your classroom via Google Hangouts during National Computer Science Education Week, to encourage your students to code, whether that be their first coding experience with the fabulous Hour of Code or perhaps more advanced work on a robotics team or something in between. Hour of Code has projects for pre-readers and advanced coders as well as projects for classrooms without computers (“unplugged” projects).

  • Take an hour and complete one project on Hour of Code. You’ll see for yourself that it is actually fun, easy, and rewarding to do! We will give a $15 gift card to any teacher registered for the Code Dojo who completes the hour and sends us a photo or scan of the certificate (issued to each person who completes the project) in the teacher’s name by 11/29.
  • Instructions on how to register at Google Handouts is below. Our Google Hangouts address is (to email us, use

To prepare for your call:

  • By 11/29 or sooner, confirm with us that you can receive Google Hangouts in your classroom and email us with your Google Hangouts contact information.  Please add our Hangouts contact now in your Hangouts address book-it is -- Please do not email us at this address; use instead.
  • We will provide trial video chats on Friday, 12/1, between 12 noon - 1 p.m. If you want a to participate in a trial, let us know on the survey.
  • Schedule an Hour of Code project with your students before they talk to the USC students during Code Dojo. It’s easy, and lots of help for teachers exists online. You will be able to print out a certificate of completion for every student who can complete the challenge. Start by showing the video and you might consider showing this video about the robots at USC Viterbi as told by 5th grade students in our Robotics and Coding Academy.
  • Introduce the concept of computational thinking to your students – there are many ready-to-use lessons available online, including the one from, the non-profit behind Hour of Code, as well as from Google Education.
  • Stay in touch with us about your process. Are you feeling challenged by introducing something new to your class? Then let us know! Does this feel too simple for your students? Let us know! Do you not have access to computers on a daily basis? There are LOTS of “unplugged” activities that teach key concepts without computers.

The Team at USC Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher (VAST) – Dr. Katie Mills, Stacy Phan, Leslie Guandique, Anisha Nagaran, Patrick Valadez

Google Hangout Tutorial

Steps to using Google Hangout:

  1. Open a Google account if you do not have one

For Internet Explorer, Firefox & Safari browsers: Download and install the latest version of the Hangouts plugin.

  1. In your email, you should have received a calendar invite from us.
  2. Open the invite and click on the text that says "Join Video Call"
  3. You will be redirected to Google Hangout. At the bottom of the screen, there will be a green button that says "Join." Click on that button.

You will now be in the Google Hangout video call.

To ensure we can hear you, when prompted to allow Hangouts to access your microphone and camera, approve the request.
To confirm that you are using the correct peripherals, go to the gear in the corner to access the settings. Check the general tab to see if:
Under microphone it says "Built-in Microphone" unless you have connected your own microphone, in which it should say the model of your microphone
Under camera it says that you are using the built in camera for whichever computer you have.
If you cannot hear us, try checking that the speaker output setting is set up properly.

Published on November 28th, 2017

Last updated on April 22nd, 2020