Looking to the future at Festival of Code 2015

August 6, 2015 by No Comments | Category Digital Public Services,

This is a post by Rui Cardoso, one of our Business Analysts

On Thursday, as part of our efforts to establish relationships with Scotland’s digital community, I went along to the final day of this year’s Festival of Code 2015 in Edinburgh. The event was organised by Young Rewired State and is a week-long global hackathon – all aimed at getting young people to start coding.

The Prewired event, held at CodeBase in Edinburgh, was a trial run for 11 different groups, represented by kids between 10 and 19 years old, to talk about what they had been working on during the week-long event. It was an opportunity for people to practice their presentations in front of a friendly crowd, before heading off to Birmingham for the real competition (and a fun weekend). All were likely dreaming of being victorious in the finale.

So, what happened?

Groups had spent a week with dedicated mentors who helped them code their ideas from scratch. A huge well done to the mentors, who were all volunteers, for guiding the talented young people and challenging them to improve, be creative and, most of all have fun!

Teamwork was a huge part of the process. Learning to work together, find common interests and how to divide tasks between team members were all important. So too was the need to learn and grow any existing design and coding skills.

During the presentations, we saw some very interesting ideas and even more impressive executions; the websites, apps and games worked with open data and covered topics ranging from the creation of dynamic maps of Edinburgh with cultural attractions to gamifying learning.

The final group (pictured above) that presented decided that gaming is more fun when you are learning too. So, they took it upon themselves to create a game, RailCode, that acts as a route to helping people learn to code. The game was both simple and ingenious – the player has to move carriages from one London underground station to another by typing commands for the game to execute. They can then set challenges for their friends to play.

We are hopeful events like Festival of Code will inspire individuals and organisations to invest in our teenagers. We know how important it is for there to be the right conditions and support to develop young people’s skills and the presentations showed the real opportunity for us all to create meaningful experiences.

Well done everyone.

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