One of the largest of the 7,000 events to be run in 46 countries as part of European Code Week will be the Limerick MegaDojo on Saturday next at LIT which will see 1024 children learn to code.
According to CoderDojo Pioneer Barry Kennedy ”This year, CoderDojo Limerick, working with their sister Dojos in Ennis and Nenagh, we’ve set ourselves the target of helping 1024 young people learn to code on the day. For the younger kids, we have workshops using Scratch, a child friendly coding tool. For slightly older kids we have workshops in Coding, Web Design, Animation and Electronics. All these workshops are suitable for beginners and no equipment is required.
He continued, “For experienced CoderDojo Ninjas, we have two competitions to test their skills. In the Hackathon, teams of three kids (aged 12+) will be given a social issue and they have a number of hours to devise a solution using the skills they’ve mastered in the Dojo. For the more experienced scratchers , we have a special Scratchathon where they are challenged to come up with the best game or animation possible using Scratch.
“When not busy coding, participants will be able to check out a number of side events happening around the LIT Campus. We’ve a number of guest speakers giving talks in the Millennium Theatre and some of the tech companies in the Midwest region will be showcasing their work along the corridors of LIT’s campus. These include Bank of Ireland, LIT Technology Departments, Kemp Technologies, Actionpoint, DellEMC and Maplin. We will also have a packed lunch provided by Carambola.
Vice President of LIT, Dr Liam Brown said, “CoderDojo is a brilliant initiative that we have been supporting for a long time. It is an ideal mechanism to get kids interested in STEM from an early age and given the skills shortages in the IT sector currently, it is very important that every effort is undertaken to promote the sector. Many of the recent jobs announcement in Limerick and beyond have been in the IT sector and no doubt there will be many more announcements in the months and years to come and hence there are excellent career opportunities for graduates in the IT sector.
Liam Sheedy, Director Bank of Ireland Munster commented “We are particularly excited to see the level of interest and uptake in the MegaDojo taking place in LIT. Together with LIT and our own volunteer staff, we are helping to facilitate kids and young people to learn about technology and how to code, thus sowing the seeds of digital innovation for the future. The aim of the event is to ignite a spark in the minds of young people and encourage them to keep learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM)”.