Megadojo is growing. Starting at one venue – Limerick Institute of Technology – several years ago, this year it took place in six venues: Dundalk, Maynooth, Letterkenny, Tralee, Cork as well as Limerick which has never missed a year. Megadojo is a family coding day, filled with taster workshops, showcases and discussion rooms. Volunteers from the HEA institutions local dojos, as well as invited guests, take part with very good will to help celebrate EU Code Week with as big an Irish splash as possible.
I attended the Dundalk Megdojo, which was championed by Peter Gosling and his colleagues, and hosted in the fabulous PJ Carroll building of Dundalk IT. The labs, corridors, and open spaces were filled with robots, IOT showcases, Scratch lessons, physical computing workshops. The children and parents in attendance seemed very happy with their lot. And right outside the door was the Bumbleance from our nominated charity – families could get a tour of this very special ambulance which brings very young VIP patients to and from hospital from all over Ireland.
My role at Magadojo Dundalk was to moderate the panel discussion entitle “females in IT”. I was impressed with the three young women, all recent graduates of DkIT, who now work in the IT industry as software engineers, designers, and QAs. Tara, Karen and Nathalia fielded questions from the audience which was composed of local families. It was interesting to note than each of them found it very easy to find employment in their field, and thankfully none of them had as yet met any gender barriers – long may that last for them in their careers. Impressive also was the regard with which they held their DkIT CS department – many of whom were present to support the occasion. I noted the presence of the both the Head of Department and the College President, not just for the opening photographs and ceremony but right thru the day and into the discussion. There was considerable interest in and discussion of the current introduction of Computer Science into second level schools and (soon) primary schools, with the parents present wondering how to have it in “their” school. So thanks to Nathalia, Karen and Tara for stepping up and providing a terrific debate.
Multiply the energy and enjoyment that was palpable in Megadojo DkIT last Saturday by six, add to it the massive energy that will be released at Dojocon in Kilkenny next weekend, and top it with the week in-week out engagement at Coderdojo / Code Club events supported by Coderdojo Ireland and Coderdojo Foundation / Raspberry Pi worldwide – it is a very potent and prosocial investment in our future.
Over to you, Dojocon 2018!