Teacher Jackie Cooper of Árdscoil na Tríonóide in Athy flew the flag for Kildare as she won the Senior cycle teacher category in the first ever Google Call to Code online coding competition for post primary students.
2,500 students competed in the first round of the competition which took place online on April 3rd, students then went on to compete in the final heat of the competition which took place on May 1st at Google EMEA HQ in Dublin. In total, 20 junior cycle and 20 senior cycle students took part in the live final and battled it out to develop code and solve programming puzzles, including Kildare student Marek Betka (14) from Naas a student at Piper’s Hill college who finished fourth in the junior cycle contest.
Two teachers were commended for encouraging students to learn how to code and having the most students registered in each contest group: Junior Cycle winner, Anne Gilleran, from Scoil Mhuire in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon and Senior Cycle winner Jackie Cooper of Árdscoil na Tríonóide in Athy, Co Kildare each received a Chromebook pixel as well as a Chromebook computer lab for their school.
Google was joined by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore to announce the winners of the competition. The response to the competition was phenomenal with more than half of all secondary schools taking part: over 2,500 students registered and 50% of participation came from outside of Dublin showing a growing interest in computer science.
Speaking at the event Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore T.D., said, “The talent and the ingenuity of our people are what make companies invest in Ireland and expand their operations here, as Google has done. We – government and industry together – must continue to develop that talent. I am pleased to see Google playing their part.
“We all know the strategic importance of the ICT sector to Ireland. It accounts for over €70 billion in exports every year.
“There are 44,500 job openings forecast to arise between now and 2018 in the sector.
“Initiatives such as Call to Code are to be welcomed for encouraging an interest in this area and providing the opportunity to test student skills.