Gizmos & Gadgets Summer Camps for kids

The Institute's Department of Computing and Creative Practices ran two Summer Camps in July - entitled 'Gizmos & Gadgets'.

The purpose of the camps was to enable children to 'have fun with technology'.

Over 40 kids, aged 10-15, enjoyed a creative introduction to coding in Scratch, Arduino physical computing – a gateway to the Internet of Things - and mobile device App development. The aim of the week was to get kids in touch with their own creativity, get them thinking like inventors and using technology to solve real-life problems.

So, while technology was the medium for the week, the main emphasis was on the 21st century skills and mindsets of creativity, design thinking and problem solving.

And the young inventors rose to the challenge admirably. Just a few of the problems identified and tackled were how to:

  • monitor the temperature of a new-born, sickly lamb and feed real-time data to the farmer's mobile phone
  • educate zoo visitors about endangered animals with a mobile app- provide tourist information to visitors to Sligo on the go
  • use video to teach gymnasts new moves and routines.

Participants used an adapted Stanford Design School model of design thinking to empathise with potential users of these systems and to iterate between problem definition, prototyping, testing and sharing their ideas.

Some of these young people involved will return to the Institute in September to participate in weekly Saturday morning CoderDojo sessions. We look forward to seeing how their thinking and ideas have progressed and perhaps support their progression in the annual 'Coolest Projects' event and other national technology programmes.

Special thanks to 2nd year BSc in Computing students Chloe O'Malley and Shane McGowan who were involved as assistant tutors and who provided great support to our young creatives, along with lecturer Mary Loftus.​