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What Will You Create? #HourOfCode

The Hour of Code is back for 2018, December 3rd – 9th… Now entering its 6th year, the Hour of Code movement continues to grow and so far has reached over 100 million students  in more than 180 countries across 48 languages and code.org, who organise the global event claim that over 600 million hours have been hosted online since 2012. Questions anyone? Read on… What exactly is the Hour…

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CoderDojo’s DojoCon 2018

CoderDojo Global Conference – Kilkenny Oct 19-21 DojoCon, the annual global conference for the CoderDojo community is fast approaching, October 19th – 21st in the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny. DojoCon is the must-attend networking event for anyone interested in coding, where ideas from CoderDojo volunteers and industry leaders are shared through keynote talks, workshops and more, with attendees. However, it’s not just for the initiated, conference registration is open to… Primary…

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Scratch with Shaun the Sheep

As a follow on from my post last month “To Code or Not to Code?” I’d like to share with readers a very interesting new Scratch programming competition just started over the water with the backing of Aardman Animations  publicised yesterday in the tech section of the Guardian’s  website – Aardman Animations aims to get kids coding with Shaun the Sheep contest. Bristol based Aardman are of course world renowned…

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Tynkering With Code

     Learning to code is a popular topic in educational circles these days and rightly so I think. When young people code their own apps, games, stories, or websites they have a chance to think critically, troubleshoot, problem solve, and collaborate. It’s a way to create something real that can be seen and used by lots of different people. Of course, very few teachers are proficient coders. But, we…

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Scratch 2.0

​ Learning to code can be quite intimidating, especially for children, but visual tools can keep them engaged and learning. It’s for this reason that MIT Media Lab created and released Scratch back in 2006. It doesn’t require any lines of code to be written, and can be used by children as young as 8. It’s been 7 years since the original Scratch version 1.4 got released, though, and with…

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Computer Programming in Schools – How should we teach it?

A recent Edutopia article, Program or Be Programmed, got me thinking about the place of computer programming in schools. In this article Mary Beth Hertz, a computer teacher, from Philadelphia bemoans the fact that many schools are dropping computer science. Yet the article identifies some interesting tools that teachers, parents and young people might find of interest. In particular Hackasaurus and htmlpad look interesting and could prove useful in Irish…

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BETT 2012 & Free Programming Tools

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the BETT show in London. This has now become an annual pilgrimage to view what is new in the world of technology and education. At first glance this year’s show didn’t appear very different from other years but when you went under the surface there were some notable gems. In particular there was an increase in “free” quality resources for schools, particularly…

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Kinect2Scratch – Teaching Programming using the Kinect & Scratch

This week saw the publication of the Irish Times 50 Most Influential People in Education List. It got me thinking as to those individuals who may not necessarily have an immediate level of influence but whose work could impact significantly on the way in which our children learn in the future. Someone who would definitely appear on my list would be Stephen Howell, Lecturer in Computer Science, Institute of Technology…

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Scratching the Surface

I’ve just started a project with some 5th and 6th class pupils using Scratch.  For the uninitiated, Scratch is a visual programming language that is similar to building virtual Lego.​  I’ll try and explain a little better. When you open Scratch, you are faced with a cartoon cat and the user’s job is to get him to do things.  For example, you can move him left or right, make him…

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Bee Bot – essential kit?

Bee-Bot is a robot shaped like a bee.  It’s a very simple but brilliant device that allows the user to move the Bee-Bot either forwards or backwards and either turn left or right.  It’s best used with a Bee-Bot grid – either a template or a see-through blank.  You can see a video of it in action by following this link. In the above example, I had scattered a number…

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