Tuesday 20 November 2018

Happy sixth birthday to our youngest coder

Birthday boy Tiernan Mangan and fellow pupil Anna Farragher celebrate with a digital cake at Cloghans Hill National School in Co Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes
Birthday boy Tiernan Mangan and fellow pupil Anna Farragher celebrate with a digital cake at Cloghans Hill National School in Co Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes

Greg Harkin

Celebrations got under way early in Co Galway as Ireland's youngest computer coder turned six.

Tiernan Mangan celebrates his birthday today and spent yesterday with schoolmates at Cloghans Hill National School near Tuam, coding a digital cake.

The boy's favourite game is 'Ninja Slayer' in which you have to fight a ninja with a tin foil wrapped sword, a banana or a piece of broccoli.

"Coding is great, you can make your own games and then play them," said Tiernan, officially recognised as the country's youngest computer coder.

"I like how you can do work at school with coding sometimes and you don't even know you're working.

"My teacher says I can do maths for way bigger kids because I have learned how to use it to make my games work and no one had to teach me how to do the maths."

Friend Jack Heaney, also aged six, says everyone loves getting involved.

"I love coding because I love using the computer keys and I like clicking the blocks and watching what they make my cat do," he said.

Myla Fahey, also six, said: "I loved the hour of code today because I got to use Scratch blocks to make a game with (new children's film) 'Moana'. "I haven't seen the film yet but I can't wait to even more now."

Aoibheann Mangan (10) would like to see more coding in school - mainly because she doesn't have proper broadband at home.

"I just wish there was more ways of teaching everyone to code in schools as it's going to be really important to know things about computers for all the jobs of the future."

Teacher Iseult Mangan said: "We love to code in our school. We introduced coding two years ago now after the teachers took a Scratch for Educators course.

"While coding is not on the primary school curriculum yet we have managed to integrate it into our teaching of subjects like English, Irish, Maths, Art, SESE and even music.

"This takes a lot of planning but the results of lessons, and in particular project work both individual or group, are outstanding.

"The children here have made stories, quizzes, drawn pictures, coded their own music, built websites and they are currently developing an app."

Irish Independent

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