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Young coders win top award for the second year running

For the second year running young coders from Bristol have proved that they have the skills and potential to be the app developers of the future, as they brought home an award from a national coding competition.

This summer Knowle West Media Centre was again an official coding centre for the Festival of Code, ‘the world’s largest hackathon for young people’ organised by Young Rewired State. Young people aged 9-18 spent four days at KWMC from 27th-30th July, when they worked in small teams to create their own websites, apps, games and programmes using open data.  They were supported by a team of mentors, including tech experts from University of the West of England (UWE), University of Bristol, and Watershed.

On Friday 31st July some of the groups and their mentors traveled to Birmingham, along with students from other UK coding centres, to present their ideas to a panel of expert judges.

The team behind ‘Lines’ made it to the semi-finals of their category. The fast-paced puzzle game, produced by Matt Coleclough, Sam Cording and Ben Coleclough, was built using Python and ‘generates a sequence of tiles which map the paths of five lines’.  The coders explain: ‘the object of the game is to track one of these lines through as many stages as possible!’

The ‘Festable’ app not only made it through to the final for the Code category, but came away with the top honour as overall winners. Made by Jack Baron, Jago Brett, Theo Macdonald and Ben Gray, the web app and an iOS app was designed to help users ‘simplify their upcoming festivals’. The group described the app as matching ‘people with other users [who have] the same interests by allowing people to enter what bands and events they like.’

Three other apps were showcased at the Festival of Code: Project ARG by Alex, Mia, Jake and Roland; Sweetie Smash by Hester, Theo, Dylan and Ezra; and The Social Platformer by Ben, Callum, Tawona and Joel. See a full list of the projects presented here.

For more information about free coding activities for young people at KWMC during term-time please call 0117 903 0444.

Congratulations to all of the talented coders involved in the 2015 Festival of Code and big thanks to the fantastic mentoring team who gave their time and expertise to support them.

Here’s to next year!



Young people triumph at national Festival of Code

Three young people from Bristol have been recognised at a national event for young coders – holding off competition from across the country.

Chris Chapman and brothers Rhys Marsh and Owen Marsh won the ‘Code a Better Country’ category at the Young Rewired State Festival of Code 2014 with their app CityRadar. The event took place at Plymouth University from 1 – 3 August and marked the end of a week of experimentation where young people gathered at coding centres across the country.

During the annual Festival of Code young people use freely available open data to make websites and apps that address ‘real-world’ challenges. CityRadar allowed people to use their mobile phones to quickly report issues in their community such as graffiti or fly tipping.  It was programmed to send a report to the local council – who could then flag the issue when it had been resolved.

Chris, Rhys and Owen developed the app at KWMC over just four days, before heading to Plymouth with their mentor Tom Mortensson from the University of Bristol, and other young coders and mentors. A total of six teams from KWMC presented their apps to judges and one team also reached the semi finals with their app Weekly Shopper.

The University of Bristol and Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) collaborate with us during Young Rewired State, with their staff, students and volunteers acting as mentors to the young people.

Through Young Rewired State, we want to support young people to make apps that encourage social action – and we hope that coders will be inspired to explore new skills, ideas, and careers.

This is the second year that we’ve been a Young Rewired State centre and CityRadar is the second success story to emerge. An app conceived by five young people in 2013 is soon to be rolled out across Bristol as part of European project IES Cities. The app, Democratree, will allow Bristol residents to identify potential sites for trees to be planted.

Chris Chapman, a member of the winning group with CityRadar, said: “Young Rewired State has been a very enjoyable experience for me – I think it’s an incredibly important opportunity for any young coders who want to go and make something, and strongly recommend it to young coders looking for an opportunity to show off their skills. You get to see some fantastic talks from people in the industry and meet loads of amazing new people.”

Mike Bartley, local Chair for the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS), said: “We wanted the week to be fun and practical, allowing participants to see a whole new side of computing. It not only focuses on code development but also on the creative process, team work and communication skills – which most companies regard as key skills for working in the sector.”

Caroline Higgins, Outreach Manager from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Bristol said: “At a time when many schools feel under resourced and lacking in computing expertise, activities like Young Rewired State and Digimakers are playing an increasingly important role in inspiring the next generation of engineers and technical innovators. Since the launch of our outreach programme we have seen a huge demand for this kind of informal learning activity. Working with our partners KWMC and BCS allows us to pool resources and have more impact, particularly in areas of Bristol that need it most.”

Beccy Thomas, Young People’s Programme Manager at KWMC, said: “We are excited to be building on the success of Young Rewired State with our new schools programme. KWMC will be working with six partner schools in South Bristol including Victoria Park Primary and Bridge Learning Campus Secondary Phase to develop new and creative ways of teaching young people ICT and computing. It’s unique to have an arts organisation working with schools in this key curriculum area.”

For more information please contact Beccy on 0117 903 0444.

Image: Rhys, Owen and Chris (left to right) with their awards



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Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
+44 (0) 117 903 0444

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