Winner of the Irish Junior Entrant Award, Ciara Heanue, being presented with her prize by Gavin Duffy, RealSim Ltd. and Dr Veronica McCauley, Science Education Lecturer, School of Education, NUI Galway, for her game 'Wildlife Awareness'. Photo: Jim Lenaghan
Jun 28 2016 Posted: 14:48 IST

The Awards Ceremony for the exciting Sea Change Coder Dojo Challenge took place recently in NUI Galway.  It was the cullmination of a very busy year and also represented the final event for the Galway Coderdojo this school year.

The Sea Change game design challenge was launched on February 27th and invited entrants from Galway (Ireland) and Lund (Sweden) CoderDojo members aged 7-18yrs.  The challenge was organised by NUI Galway as part of their contribution to a European project called “Sea Change” which aims to establish a fundamental ‘Sea Change’ in the way European citizens view their relationship with the sea.

“The challenge is to use the fun and popularity of designing and playing tech games to raise awareness of Marine issues like the need to protect cold-water coral reefs, how we can begin to address the scourge of micro-plastics, and how we can maintain healthy oceans and seas, for ourselves, for the animals that live in them, and ultimately for the planet” said Dr Anthony Grehan, Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway and co-organiser of the event.

Single and team entrants were encouraged to use their CoderDojos and mentors to develop their games over the three months. “There was a surge of interest with 32 entrants from Galway alone, revealing a strong and enthusiastic coding community, which is particularly relevant from an informal learning perspective, considering the recent Digital Strategy for Schools, 2015-2020 and its promotion of coding and programming at both primary and secondary level” said Dr Veronica McCauley from the School of Education at NUI Galway and co-organiser of the event.

The game design was reviewed by a panel of experts: Alan Duggan (Tribalcity.com), Gavin Duffy (RealSim Ltd.) and Triona Mac Giolla Rí (Coderdojo Mentor) and judged on ‘best concept’ and ‘ease of use’.   “The aesthetic and technical merit of the project submissions has been highly commended by the judges” said Brendan Smith, Education Outreach Officer at INSIGHT, NUI Galway and Co-Founder of Coderdojo Galway.  “And as such, we are delighted to hear that one of the winning games will be included within a soon to be published iBook about cold water corals that will be presented as a teaching resource to secondary schools”.  Two awards were presented to the Irish finalists: Junior Award: €300 and Senior Award: €500 and a certificate of participation was presented to each entrant.

The organisers wish to thank Councillor John Walsh, Deputy Mayor of Galway City, who took time out of his busy schedule to attend the opening procedings.

Other marine related resources are available (newsletters, poster, fact sheet, ocean literacy booklet, videos) on the project website: www.seachangeproject.eu.

Jim Lenaghan

School of Education

Follow @edtechne

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