Twitter & CoderDojo: Realising Ireland’s Digital Potential

By Ronan Costello

In its few short years, the CoderDojo Coolest Projects Awards (#CP2016) has seen incredible growth. An expo of the best that the CoderDojo schools have to offer, this year the Coolest Projects Awards attracted over 800 entries. What’s more, over 10,000 people attended the event in the RDS, Dublin. It’s become a homegrown phenomenon. Twitter has long been a partner of CoderDojo and was once again proud to support the Coolest Projects Awards for 2016.

When we last participated in the Coolest Projects Awards, the global CoderDojo network of free coding schools for kids had just over 550 Dojos (code language for schools). That number has nearly doubled and increases every week. This network is vast and its geographical spread is comprehensive, with Dojos in almost every corner of the world.

Last year at the Coolest Projects Awards, fourteen year old Stephen Cushen saw the public utility in Twitter and created Time for Town. With this app, the user simply sent a two-word Tweet using the appropriate hashtag and received a replying Tweet with the time of the next bus, train or tube, which could take them into town or back out to their hotel. Stephen showcased this application at the Liberty Global Appathon in Amsterdam following his success at the Coolest Projects Awards.

This year, another young thinker saw the utility value in our platform. Shane Fahy, an eleven year old Ninja from Athenry, developed a system called Flood Gauge. Seeing the devastation caused by regular floods around Ireland, Shane wanted to create a project which would alert communities to the danger of an imminent flood, giving them a chance to act before the waters hit. Using relatively simple components such as a Raspberry Pi and an ultrasonic distance module sensor, Shane’s system can send alerts via Tweet or email to people who can mobilise quickly to mitigate flood damage, such as county councillors. For his ingenuity and hard work, Shane was named the Winner of the Hardware category and a Future Maker by Virgin Media and Liberty Global.

Year on year, Coolest Projects participants like Shane and Stephen demonstrate the creativity and resourcefulness of Irish and European youth. These boys are joined by an ever-growing number of girls in CoderDojo, such as Niamh Scanlon, who was named EU Digital Girl of the Year 2015, the second Irish girl in a row to take the title. Together, these Ninjas are lighting the way to Ireland’s digitally-enabled future.

We’re delighted to help them realise their vision.