Dazzling software at CoderDojo celebrations
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.