Sunday 18 March 2018

Ireland's whiz kids take centre stage as thousands attend CoderDojo Awards

Tiana Mizzoni (11) from Saggart helping guide Rexy to CoderDojo’s Coolest Projects. Photo: Conor McCabe
Tiana Mizzoni (11) from Saggart helping guide Rexy to CoderDojo’s Coolest Projects. Photo: Conor McCabe

David Kearns

If ever there was proof anyone can learn to code, it is Tiernan Mangan, who at just five years old will be debuting his very first game at today's CoderDojo Coolest Projects Awards.

"He was a sneaky one," said proud mum Iseult Mangan. "I teach our local dojo after school so I'd bring him along. I thought he was just sitting at the back playing on the iPad but the entire time he was listening and learning.

"A few weeks ago, he walked up to me and said he had an idea for a game about bashing ninjas.

"Next thing, he has two of the girls in the class wrapped around his finger helping him put it together."

Meanwhile, two best friends who were worried about the health of the nation's rabbits used technology to help teach Ireland how to properly look after its furry little friends.

Mia Green (11) and Anna Kernan (10) teamed up to create the 'How to Train Your Rabbit' - a website aimed at making people think twice about getting a pet rabbit by showing just how much work is involved.

"I got the idea for the site after Gizmo, my bunny, had to stay in the house for winter," said Mia.

"I wanted him to stop going to the toilet everywhere so I looked up online how to train him.

"That's where I got the idea, because I couldn't find the info on one site."

Coding partner Anna added: "We hope people use our website so they can look after their rabbits better."

The duo are among hundreds of young whiz kids invited to the CoderDojo Coolest Projects Awards at the RDS today.

Mia and Anna said they were really excited to show off the skills they learned at Docklands Dojo - a local computer programming club in Dublin that is part of a free global movement teaching children how to code and develop websites, apps, programmes, and games. Mia's mum Miriam O'Flynn introduced her children to CoderDojo late last year, and said they've taken to programming "like a duck to water".

"I wish I had access to the stuff these guys get to use in class when I first started learning to code."

The CoderDojo Coolest Projects Awards will be open from 9.30am-6pm. Entrance is free.

Irish Independent

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