Offaly students will next week take part in the national finals of the prestigious Scratch Coding competition. The popular coding competition will take place on Wednesday, April 26 in the Kemmy Business School, at the University Limerick.
Offaly will be represented in the national finals by a team of talented young coders from Tullamore College and their entry ‘The Crickenbawn’.
In operation since 2010, the National Scratch Competition has established itself among both teachers and students as a leading platform and showcase for Ireland’s aspiring digital creators. Sponsored by Lero, Scratch is a visual programming language that makes it easy for young people to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music and art – and share their creations online.
This year the competition received over 545 entries from all age categories from junior infants up to 6th class from coderdojo groups and schools throughout the country. The 30 finalists were whittled down through 2 tough rounds of judging.
The competition is a Tech Week event, Ireland’s festival of technology aimed at students, parents, and the public. Tech Week, which is supported by the Science Foundation Ireland, provides hands-on opportunities to learn about how computing and related technology are shaping every area of life. The aim is to stimulate thinking around future opportunities for study and careers in technology, through learning in the wider areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.
Jim Friars, CEO of the Irish Computer Society said “Technology is rapidly changing and shaping society. Scratch is designed to help students with little to no coding experience dive headfirst into programming. Learning to code teaches children problem solving, creativity, logic, and computational thinking. It also builds a base for further learning and even valuable future job skills.
“We have to emphasise technology and coding as an attainable career path for all students and encourage diversity in these fields because these are future-proof fields that will continue to grow and offer a wide spectrum of exciting and fulfilling jobs.”
Clare McInerney, Lero said, “The standard of competition this year has been incredible. Children now know much more about building software than any other generation. Their capacity to learn coding and learn how to do sophisticated things is really amazing. We want to inspire young people to use code to do cool things. A program like this, I hope will inspire a number of these boys and girls to pursue careers in this field.”