Competitions for young coders and makers

games from scratchThere are some wonderful opportunities at the moment for young Australian coders and makers to really show what they can do.

Young ICT Explorers is a national competition for school students to produce their best Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) related project. All types of projects can be entered providing they have a clear link to ICT. The range of possibilities is very large with an emphasis on creativity. The competition’s website showcases previous years’ winners and there are some very impressive ideas there. All the gory details are here.

The second competition is a different beast, is focused solely on gaming and is backed by the ABC. Games from Scratch asks young people to submit a video of their game:

However you make your game, you just need to shoot a 60 second video of your game in action! You can make a screencast or video it on a mobile phone or camera. We want to see your game and hear you talking about it. Tell us about your ideas, its story and how you play it.

The details on this one are here.

Then there’s the inaugural Australian STEM Video Game Challenge which is designed to develop skills and engagement with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas through fun, creativity, problem solving and ingenuity.

Students are encouraged to design, build and submit an original educational video game that includes STEM content or themes.  The entrants have an opportunity to earn recognition and great prizes for themselves, as well as a significant cash prize for their school or chosen charity. The games will be played by industry professionals as part of the judging, and the winners will be recognised at a national level, and by international bodies within the global gaming industry. 

It’s great to see young Australian coders and makers being given an opportunity to show what they can do. I particularly like the breadth of the Young ICT Explorers model because it’s not just about making games. In my experience encouraging kids to make games is not hard, getting them into the nitty-gritty of real-world applications is much more of a challenge. The judging criteria for Young ICT Explorers reflects a great set of ideals: creativity and innovation, quality, difficulty, and documentation.

Finally, it’s worth noting that it’s not all that long until the mighty NCSS Challenge begins. Registrations for this competition, that both teaches and judges python programming, are already open. The Challenge itself begins in early August. For anyone serious about coding the Challenge shouldn’t be missed.

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