During the last week of July children from 8 - 17 years old spent a week at Wapping High School mastering their skills at computer programming. The event was the first part of Festival of Code 2015 run by Young Rewired State. All over the country children gathered at volunteer centres to build stuff together, using their amazing technical skills to help their communities, and growing their abilities in the process, with the help of expert mentors. They then all came together in Birmingham for the final Festival weekend where the children showcased what they had built to expert judges.
It was extraordinary to see the range of ideas and high level of commitment put into the projects, this was self-directed learning at its best. The projects completed at Wapping High ranged from a cinema listings app and life-choices quiz both coded in Scratch to web apps for garden design, learning to code and Me-saic a mosaic themed avatar generator.
Many of the participants, accompanied by their parents, attended the final Festival weekend at the ICC in Birmingham. In true festival style we camped in a local sports hall (great buzz but not much sleep). On Saturday morning, in front of a packed hall, the children had to present their project to a panel of expert judges including the Chairman of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the Head of Technology at the BBC. This was a high-stakes, daunting experience. All of the children from the Wapping High centre did a fantastic job, they were engaging and well prepared. Sadly, none of our children made it through to the finals but it was an unforgettable experience and plans for next year were already being discussed on the train home.
During the course of this year Wapping High’s Computer Club hopes to be offering more opportunities for children, both at the school and elsewhere, to improve their coding. Festival of Code 2015 was such a success that we hope to offer even more places next year.
Many thanks to our sponsors The East End Community Foundation and St George London Dock without whose support this event couldn't have taken place.