Sea Change to Launch Marine Coding Challenge for Young People

Press Release: 23 February 2016

Coder Dojo enthusiasts are invited to submit games as part of the European project “Sea Change” which aims to create a deeper understanding amongst European citizens of how their health depends on the health of our ocean.

An exciting challenge for members of Coder Dojos in Galway City and County, aged between 7 and 18 years will be launched on Saturday 27 February at 1pm in the Kirwan Lecture Theatre, Arts Science Building at NUI Galway, Ireland.

The CoderDojo ‘Future Ocean’ Challenge is being organised as part of the European project “Sea Change” which aims to establish a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens view their relationship with the sea.

Entrants from individuals or teams with up to a maximum of four members are invited to submit games on the theme of Ocean Literacy, creating a deeper understanding of how our health depends on the health of our seas and ocean. The submissions will be reviewed by a panel of experts and judged on ‘best concept’ and ‘ease of use’.

Teams and individuals who enter the competition will be able to call on the services of a ‘game designer’ as a mentor and sounding board to help them develop their games. The winning project will be included in an eBook about cold-water corals that will be presented as a teaching resource to secondary schools, and the winners will also receive a cash prize of €500. The best junior project will receive €300.

Dr Veronica McCauley from the School of Education at NUI Galway and organizer of the event said: “Coding is now an optional subject on the Junior Cycle Curriculum and junior coding languages such as ‘Scratch’ offer tremendous opportunities for children to be creative while learning the basics of coding. The challenge here is to use the fun and popularity of designing and playing technology games while enjoying digital stories to raise awareness of marine issues, and to ensure healthy oceans and seas in the future, for ourselves, for the animals that live in them, and ultimately for the planet.”

At the event launch, Dr Anthony Grehan from Earth and Ocean Sciences at the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway, will provide ideas for project development and give a talk about why we need to protect cold-water coral reefs. Dr Grehan will be joined by Dr Amy Lusher who recently completed her PhD at GMIT, who will provide an update about her work on the hunt for micro-plastics in the oceans, and Gavin Duffy, Director of Galway based RealSIM Ltd., who will talk about the company’s work on the Titanic Belfast Ocean Exploration project, and current work on the East Coast and Cork Harbour, which aims to apply innovative 3D technologies to marine environmental exploration.

For registration and competition details visit the project website: http://seachangeproject.eu/futureocean/

Registration for the competition closes on Saturday 9 April and is open to Coder Dojos in Galway City and County and to give an international dimension, Lund in Sweden.

For further information, contact Dr Veronica McCauley, School of Education at NUI Galway on veronica.mccauley@nuigalway.ie or anthony.grehan@nuigalway.ie

For press queries, please contact the project Communications Officer: Tanja Calis, AquaTT (email: tanja@aquatt.ie Tel: +353 1 644 9008)