Glasgow Libraries young coders set to take Dublin by storm
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Glasgow Libraries young coders set to take Dublin by storm

16/06/2017

Meet Glasgow’s coding stars of the future.

Lucas Huggins, 15, from Cumbernauld and 11 year old Michael Inglis from Clarkston, plan to take Ireland by storm this weekend (17th June) when they unveil their brand new computer game, Asteroid Dodge, to the world’s leading technology experts at the annual CoderDojo Coolest Projects exhibition.

The digital ninjas, two of only seven young people from Scotland awarded travel bursaries to attend the event at Dublin’s Royal Society venue, will battle it out against more than 650 coders from as far afield as Japan and Australia in a bid to secure a coveted Coolest Projects Award for their invention.

Built using a Makey-Makey and controlled using touch sensitive balls of bright green Play-Doh, Asteroid Dodge took the duo a number of months to design, programme and perfect at Glasgow Libraries CoderDojo at the Gallery of Modern Art. 

Michael explained: “Lucas started the game in his bedroom, just to get in to coding. Now we’ve worked together to adapt it and change it to make it what it is now.

“I have built computer games before but they weren’t really proper games, they were quite simple, you know you’ve got falling fruit and you catch it with a basket – nothing like this.” 

Lucas added: “It’s a game that revolves around you, the player, as a spaceship having to dodge or shoot asteroids to gain points. If you get enough points and don’t die, you reach the Boss Level of the game, where you have to escape the chasers and kill the Boss.”

CoderDojo Coolest Projects is a world leading showcase that offers the next generation of digital creators, like Lucas and Michael, the chance to demonstrate the projects they have created at their local CoderDojos.

Glasgow Libraries runs 10 CoderDojos across the city, devised to give young people aged 8-17 the opportunity to learn how to create and build with technology.

Lucas continued: “I was taking computing at school, and my dad saw the Coderdojo at GoMA and asked if I wanted to try it. I went for the first time in August and I really liked it so I kept going.”

Michael added: “My uncle built my first computer with me when I was five, and it’s something I’ve always done - I definitely want to do something with computer science when I grow up.

“When I started at the club I didn’t know Lucas but we just started talking to each other, not just about coding, just general things and then the more we went along to the club we started sitting next to each other and working together. And then our mentor Sean paired us together to work on Asteroid Dodge.”

Sean Watson, the boys mentor and lead volunteer for Glasgow Libraries CoderDojo at GoMA, said: “Michael and Lucas had shown a keen interest in, and ability for, coding from the first session they attended, and I was keen that they worked together to encourage and learn from one another whilst appreciating the importance of skill-sharing. 

“This project has led to both of the boys growing in social confidence as well as becoming trendsetters of the Library at GoMA Dojo in their own right - aiding and encouraging newer members. 

“For Michael and Lucas to have been chosen to travel to Dublin and show off their game is not only an exciting opportunity for themselves, but incredibly inspirational to the other attendees of the club. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish them every success at Coolest Projects”

Whilst digital makers, aged seven to 17, from across the globe do get the chance to pitch their inventions to industry experts and an audience of more than 15,000 people in the hope of bagging one of the prestigious prizes on offer, the event is designed to offer attendees the opportunity to meet new people and gain valuable entrepreneurial and technology skills.

Lucas said: “I couldn’t have completed a project like Asteroid Dodge without going to CoderDojo and without Michael and Sean. I’ve never been to Dublin before and I’m excited about going to Coolest Projects and working on more group problem solving tasks with people like us. It’ll be great.”

The CoderDojo Coolest Projects Showcase takes place at the RDS, Dublin on Saturday, June 17th. For details and to book free tickets see www.coolestprojects.org 

And, if you’re aged 8-17 and fancy creating your own games, or want to know how you can develop a website or app, build your own games console or turn Play-Doh into a keyboard, visit www.glasgowlibraries.org.uk and book yourself on to the free coding sessions city-wide.

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