Software development competition for schools
Encouraging creativity and originality in software, Minister launches Scratch 2011
Tech4Biz | 22 Oct 2010 :
The Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills Mary Coughlan TD has launched the 2011 Scratch Competition which encourages computing and software development at both primary and secondary school levels.
The competition is run by Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, and supported by the Irish Computer Society (ICS) and gives students the opportunity to understand how software is created and works, with less emphasis on simply knowing how to use software tools and devices, encouraging creativity and originality.
Two first year students from Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, Co. Limerick, claimed the overall prize last year by combining Scratch and a Dance Mat to create the winning project entitled "Ultimo Dance".
"As we build the knowledge economy and encourage more school-leavers to opt for programmes in computing at third-level, it is vital that we stimulate an interest in computing through initiatives like the Scratch Competition" said
Developed at MIT, Scratch Software is freely available to students and can help them to combine their problem solving skills with their ingenuity to create games, animations, stories, and simulations. Lero has developed extensive teaching materials and student exercises that are readily available to support teachers and students using Scratch in the classroom.
It is hoped that the competition will encourage the uptake of software development and computer science among students as they progress toward third level. By having realistic expectations of the subjects, students will be able to make more informed choices about such subjects when considering career choices.
"We are looking forward to receiving this year's entries," said Clare McInerney, education and outreach officer, Lero, "and hope that students will come up with novel and imaginative Scratch projects that show real talent and innovative thinking."
"The ICS is proud to sponsor the Scratch project. The computing field has weathered the economic storm better than most," said Jim Friars, CEO, Irish Computer Society. "There continues to be strong demand for computing graduates
and total employment in the technology sector grew by 6% last year. This project gives students practical experience of many of the skills required in this interesting, well-rewarded and growing profession."
Students can register online at www.scratch.ie until 15 April 2011. Students and teachers can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.