Three students from St. Mel’s National School, Ardagh reached the national finals in the Primary School Category of this year’s ‘Scratch’ Competition, organised by IT Tallaght, IT Sligo and Lero (The Irish Software Engineering Research Centre). A total of 19 projects were selected to proceed to the finals from a total of 194 projects submitted from all around the country.
“Shoot a Zeppelin” was submitted by Adam Callan (6th class), Kevin Lynch (5th class) and Cian Hartmann (3rd class), each receiving a prize of “highly commended” at this year’s event.
Congratulating this year’s entrants, Scratch mentor and Blended Learning Design owner, Dave Madden said, “Scratch is an open source (free) programming language. It uses visual elements and a simple user interface design to make programming easier for kids. The boys worked extremely hard on the project and its a real credit to them.”
One of the afterschool clubs in County Longford that offers children training in Scratch as part of it’s after school and out of school programme is Club Ardagh.
According to Club Ardagh Committee Member Cathy Lynch, “At Club Ardagh, the committee made a decision to offer training in technologies that teach children basic computer science concepts that they will need in order to create technology. We are delighted that the children have had the opportunity to be introduced to computer science and coding by their teachers at St. Mel’s NS and to have Dave and Blended Learning Design available to deliver this training locally in Club Ardagh.”
The Digital Skills Academy has reported that there are at present time, more than 2,500 jobs unfilled in the ICT and gaming sectors in Ireland.
Ms Lynch said, “Until such time as computer science is included on the Leaving Certificate Syllabus as a subject choice in its own right, free software programmes such as Scratch provide young people with an opportunity to consider ICT as a career choice and to learn basic computing concepts prior to third level study.“
For more information on free computer science training in Longford, log onto www.longfordcoderdojo.wordpress.com