Last Thursday, the young members of LIT Thurles’ Coderdojo programming workshop displayed their work.
Every week since March 5, an average of 60 local primary and secondary school students assembled at LIT Thurles to learn how to create websites and games. The group is run by volunteers made of local developers and LIT Thurles staff. Jacqueline Humphries, a lecturer in the Technology and Media Science department, oversees the project.
“The kids were divided into two groups; one group used software called ‘Scratch’ to make games and animations, while the other made websites, which are ready to view online now. Scratch was originally used to teach maths and logic to children, but has proved to be great for teaching children the basics of coding”.
Steven Troy (14), a student in Coláiste Mhuire, used the ‘Scratch’ software package to make “Step”, a game in which the player must jump up platforms and avoid ghosts. The game took him four weeks to finish. He plans to return to the Coderdojo in the new school year to learn web design. He recommended ‘Scratch’ as a “good way for starting out with coding”.
Adam Tracey (9), who attends the Thurles Gaelscoil, made Breakout, a fast-paced game in which the player must hit a ball at blocks with a paddle that constantly changes size.
Thurles mayor John Kennedy, who attended the event, said “What these children do here will follow them into the future. They are going to put this country back on its feet”.
The first Coderdojo was founded in Cork by James Whelton, who though barely out of secondary school was already an experienced web designer and programmer. There are now around 104 CoderDojos approved across the world, in places as far flung as New York and Tokyo. 44 of these are in Ireland.
The group plans to restart in October. The children’s work can be seen on the Coderdojo Thurles website.