THE FINGAL Writers' Festival kicked off in Rush Library with an event entitled 'Cracking the Code' devoted to the phenomenon of 'Coder Dojo' presented by blogger and teacher, Sabine McKenna.
Coder Dojo is all about writing for the web and in this once-off workshop, children from eight to 12 were given the opportunity to try combining story-telling and computer programming. The workshop used the programming language called ' Scratch' which is described as a 'programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art and share your creations on the web'. Scratch was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab and is wonderfully straightforward to use. The workshop was aimed in particular at kids who are new to Scratch. Those with some experience were welcome, too, but the emphasis was on first-timers. The workshop was led by Sabine McKenna, a primary teacher with a passion for computing. Sabine is a regular mentor for Scratch at the Coder Dojo in the Science Gallery, Dublin. In 2011/12, she obtained a Higher Diploma in Digital Media Development for Education from the University of Limerick. Her blog 'Sabine's Musings' is at sabinemckenna.wordpress.com.