NUI Galway to launch marine coding challenge for young people

An exciting new challenge for young members of Coder Dojos in Galway city and county will be launched this Saturday.

The CoderDojo Future Ocean Challenge is being organised by NUI Galway as part of the university’s contribution to a European project called Sea Change. This project aims to establish a fundamental “sea change” in the way European citizens view their relationship with the sea.

Entrants from individuals or teams with up to a maximum of four members are invited to submit a game design on the theme of Sea Change, creating a deeper understanding of how our health depends on the health of our seas and oceans. The submissions will be reviewed by a panel of experts and judged on ‘best concept’ and ‘ease of use’.

Teams and individuals who enter the competition will be able to call on the services of a game designer as a mentor and sounding board to help them develop their games. The winning project will be included in an ebook about cold-water corals that will be presented as a teaching resource to secondary schools. The winners will also receive a cash prize of €500, and the best junior project will receive €300.

“Coding is now an optional subject on the Junior Cycle curriculum and junior coding languages such as Scratch offer tremendous opportunities for children to be creative while learning the basics of coding,” said Dr Veronica McCauley from the School of Education at NUI Galway and organiser of the event.

“The challenge here is to use the fun and popularity of designing and playing technology games while enjoying digital stories to raise awareness of marine issues, and to ensure healthy oceans and seas in the future, for ourselves, for the animals that live in them, and ultimately for the planet.”

At the event launch, Dr Anthony Grehan from Earth and Ocean Sciences at the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway will provide ideas for project development and give a talk about why we need to protect cold-water coral reefs; Dr Grehan will be joined by Dr Amy Lusher who recently completed her PhD at GMIT. Dr Lusher will provide an update about her work on the hunt for microplastics (small plastic particles ) in the oceans, and Gavin Duffy, director of Galway based RealSIM Ltd, will talk about the company’s work on the Titanic Belfast Ocean Exploration project, and current work on the east coast and Cork Harbour which aims to apply 3D technologies to marine environmental exploration.

For registration and competition details visit seachangeproject/eu/futureocean.

Registration for the competition closes on Saturday April 9 and is open to Coder Dojos in Galway city and county and, to give an international dimension, Lund in Sweden.

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