Coolest Projects in the Country

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Irish kids showcase coding creativity

Young people, aged 8 -17yrs, from all parts of Ireland descended on Dublin City University to showcase their cool and imaginative projects as part of the CoderDojo Coolest Projects Awards.  Projects by Lauren Boyle, Hollis Keating-O’Connor, Alan Panayotov, Robert Ellis and Joshua Murray carried away the top prize in their respective categories.   A strong field was present which included a website to help primary school children learn Irish in a fun way, another locating all the best places to skateboard in Dublin and an app that generates random chat-up lines if you’re stuck for one!  An array of cool prizes, sponsored by longtime CoderDojo supporter, Intel, was awarded to all the winners and runners-up.

The Coolest Project Awards, now in its second year, featured 60 projects, including 4 online from the USA, undertaken by young people as part of CoderDojo, the network of free coding clubs educating thousands of young Irish people about the fun and creativity of computer programming.  The awards reward the creative side of programming, ranking entries using a ‘cool’ factor assessment criteria.

Co-founder of CoderDojo, James Whelton celebrated his 21st birthday at the event and congratulated the children on their achievement, ‘I am incredibly humbled by all of these brilliant kids. This is a wonderful opportunity for the CoderDojo community across Ireland to come together and celebrate their achievements. If you are interested in technology you should definitely get involved in your local CoderDojo.’

The Coolest Projects award-winners are:

  • Scratch Category – Lauren Boyle – Project: Scratch Cooking Game / Makeup Salon – CoderDojo Beacon and Bray
  • Web Category – Hollis Keating-O’Connor – Project: La Alberca – CoderDojo Limerick
  • Games /Web App Category – Alan Panayotov – Project: A series of games for the website crainn.org – CoderDojo Cork Selr8r
  • Other Category – Robert Ellis – Project: Rob’s game engine – CoderDojo Armagh
  • People’s Prize Category – Joshua  Murray – Project: Retrogames – CoderDojo DCU

Paul Phelan, from sponsor Intel which supplied the Coolest Project prizes, was amazed by the standard of submissions saying. ”This event is great recognition of the progress and contribution that CoderDojo has made across the country.  The skills these kids have demonstrated today are the skills that Ireland and companies like Intel need more of.  Over 500 people attended the event in DCU Students Union Hub, with families enjoying the many exciting showcases and speeches by top technology leaders in Ireland including teenage coding prodigies, Harry Moran, Crainn Moran and Shane Curran. There was particular excitement around the remote control hovering Drones and workshops on creating your very first web app or hacking a computer”.

Coolest Projects Awards Founder and Organiser, Noel King was in awe of the projects  presented this year, stating “There was inspiration and creativity visible in abundance in DCU today.  I was blown away by seeing kids from the age of 8 create a project, then with confidence and ease, present it to judges and other young CoderDojo members.  These kids should be immensely proud of what they achieved delivering advanced projects at such a young age.  The project presenters we saw yesterday are Ireland’s future tech leaders and innovators, what a future we have to look forward to.  Well done to all and we look forward to seeing the next wave of projects at Coolest Projects Awards 2014”.

Anyone interested in finding out more about CoderDojo can locate their nearest club at http://coderdojo.com and start working now on their ideas for next year’s Coolest Project Awards.

The Coolest project Awards (http://coolestprojects.org) is part of the CoderDojo initiative. Coderdojo is a global collaboration providing free and open learning to young people, especially in programming technology. Started by 18yr old Irish programmer James Whelton and philanthropist Bill Liao in 2011, the movement has now spread to hundreds of locations in countries across the world. See http://coderdojo.com or for more information.

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