2012 Scratch competition now open to budding programmers

5 Dec 2011

(Left to right) Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn, TD, Harriett Walsh of Alexandra College, Clare McInerney, education and outreach officer for Lero and Jim Friars, CEO of the Irish Computer Society

The 2012 Scratch competition has launched, which encourages primary and secondary school students to get involved with computing and software development.

Run by the Irish software engineering research centre Lero and supported by the Irish Computer Society, the competition helps students learn how software is built and how it works. It encourages them to be creative with the software and shows what opportunities are available in the technology sector.

The competition lets students use Scratch, a graphical programming language developed by the MIT Media Lab, to let them make animations and games for the web.

Future Human

It’s simpler to use than most other programming tools as it’s very visual, but still focuses on the fundamentals of software development.

“This is our third year running the Irish Scratch competition and we are looking forward to seeing Scratch project submissions for 2012,” said Clare McInerney, education and outreach officer at Lero.

“Last year, a Scratch implementation of ‘Space Wars’ received first prize in the junior section. In ‘Space Wars’, space invaders shoot at a spaceship and this in turn shoots back.

“’Mem your mind,’ based on the brain training model, received first prize in the gaming category. Judges were impressed by the professionalism and high-spec production ready software of this project,” she said.

One hundred and fifty teachers took part in Scratch training this year to allow them to teach the programme to students. There are also 45 hours worth of teaching materials for Scratch.

Students can register for the competition online and entries can be submitted by 12 March 2012. The finals will be held on 19 May.