Daz­zling soft­ware at CoderDojo cel­e­bra­tions

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Áilín Quin­lan

Some 50 projects, rang­ing from ba­sic pro­gram­ming to daz­zlingly so­phis­ti­cated soft­ware which will ac­tu­ally be run by sci­en­tists aboard the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion this month, went on dis­play at the sixth birth­day of a West Cork CoderDojo.

Eighty mem­bers of the Clon­akilty CoderDojo, rang­ing in age be­tween seven and 18, re­ceived awards at the event.

Dojo co-founder, Margaret Deegan, noted: “The work on show ranged from the ba­sic to the most com­plex projects.”

The au­di­ence, which in­cluded en­tre­pre­neur, in­vestor and CoderDojo co-founder, Bill Liao, was wowed by ev­ery- thing from a com­puter which sim­u­lates the ex­pe­ri­ence of peo­ple with spe­cial needs such as dys­lexia, dys­praxia or phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity to the highly advanced Rasp­berry Pi cod­ing project, which is sched­uled to be run on the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion this month. This project, which was de­vel­oped by six young mem­bers of Clon­akilty CoderDojo, con­sti­tutes so­phis­ti­cated soft­ware which mon­i­tors the real-life liv­ing con­di­tions of as­tro­nauts on the space sta­tion in terms of tem­per­a­ture, hu­mid­ity, air pres­sure and light.

It was de­vel­oped by 11-yearolds Adri­ana Cul­li­nane, John Deegan, Daragh Walsh and Tom O’Dono­van, along with James Robey, 13, and Greg Robey, 16, all of whom worked on the project for months, with the sup­port of their ded­i­cated men­tors Kate O’Dono­van and John Coc­ula.

The project analy­ses data to de­ter­mine whether the workspace in space is com­fort­able for hu­mans, ex­plained Ms Deegan.

The Rasp­berry Pi project was one of around 50 projects — in­clud­ing a set of work­ing traf­fic lights and a model of the Fast­net Light­house built us­ing the Ar­duino mini-com­puter and a host of sim­u­la­tions, games and visual ef­fects all de­vised by Dojo mem­bers — which went on dis­play for the sixth birth­day cel­e­bra­tions of the Clon­akilty CoderDojo Expo on Mon­day, April 30.

Dur­ing the event Mr Liao — who, Ms Deegan ob­served, had never missed an Expo of Clon­akilty Dojo — spoke about Harry McCann, the first 12-year-old who had a game sold on the Ap­pS­tore and who started his ca­reer in CoderDojo Cork. Harry was re­cently ac­cepted at Stan­ford Univer­sity, where his ac­cep­tance let­ter cited CoderDojo as a very im­pres­sive list­ing on his CV.

Ms Deegan said that some past at­ten­dees have re­turned as part of the Gaisce TY pro­gram as men­tors — which is a win-win sit­u­a­tion all around, she noted, adding that all at­ten­dees re­ceived a cer­tifi­cate and a very cov­eted award in the guise of “a re­us­able and very cool wa­ter bot­tle.”

Thady Trá, Bill Liao (co-founder CoderDojo), Margaret Deegan (Clon­akilty CoderDojo) in the frame at Clon­akilty CoderDojo Expo 2018 at the Qual­ity Ho­tel. In­set: Jill Jill McCarthy be­ing pre­sented with her award by John Lough­nan, Mayor of Clon­akilty.

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