This frosty Thursday morning in Dublin, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, sat down with 10-year-old European Digital Girl of the Year Lauren Boyle to learn the basics of computer programming.
The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science and coding, aimed at demystifying the complex and explaining the basics.
From 8 to 14 December, during Computer Science Education Week, a concerted effort will be made to get as many students and educators as possible to complete an Hour of Code – and it’s no harm for a few politicians to give it a go, too.
Boyle used a coding lesson based on one developed by Code.org and Disney which uses the characters from popular kids’ movie Frozen. The lesson involves programming characters to create shapes and patterns using lines, the length of which coders can dictate in pixels.
Here’s Boyle explaining pixels to the Taoiseach:
In this first coding lesson, novice programmers use a jigsaw-based programming language, making it easy to learn the building blocks of code and how commands can be structured.
Following his 60-minute lesson, the Taoiseach built his own program featuring a zombie-like character with a paintbrush creating a multicoloured spiral pattern.
“Lauren really welcomes this opportunity,” said her mother, Tania, the evening before the event.
“Hopefully this will encourage teachers to think about the benefits of coding.”
Also in attendance at this monumental Hour of Code was Ciaran Cannon, TD, founder of the Excited digital learning movement; and Harry McCann, teen entrepreneur and founder of the Digital Youth Council.
Code.org’s target for this year’s Computer Science Education Week is to bring the Hour of Code to 100m students worldwide.
Ahead of his first lesson in coding, Taoiseach Enda Kenny commented on the importance of this skill for the future.
This is an essential part of our future – Taoiseach on the #hourofcode
— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) November 27, 2014
As far as his teacher’s report, Boyle was happy with the Taoiseach’s performance.
— Lauren Boyle (@laurenboyletech) November 27, 2014
Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.