Girls at Coolest Projects International 2018

Recently, during CoderDojo’s seventh birthday party, the CoderDojo team made a commitment to recruit 5000 new female volunteers into the community by 2021. And we decided to highlight some of the amazing projects made by girls who attended Coolest Projects International 2018! Today we hear about a couple of projects that we hope will inspire more girls to take part in Coolest Projects events all around the world.

Sara and A Tale of Two Cities

Sara from Dublin loves discovering things about other countries and cities, and she also loves coding, LEGO, and LEDs. This is where she got the idea for her project A Tale of Two Cities. She used hardware and also created a mobile app to teach you all about the cities of London and Paris! Her project includes all the cities’ famous monuments lit up with LEDs, for example Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower. Sara says that it also “allows you to discover more about the famous landmarks and locate them on Google maps, to discover more about famous Londoners and Parisians, and to take multiple choice quizzes to test your knowledge of London and Paris. I also created apps to teach you French and to improve your English spelling!”

Sara preparing her project for the judges at Coolest Projects 2018.

This was Sara’s third time at Coolest Projects, and attending the showcase has opened up some amazing opportunities for her: “This year I was involved in the opening ceremony, carrying the Irish flag, and I also appeared on TV on Ireland AM the day before to demonstrate my project. As a runner-up of Coolest Projects 2016, I was invited to the EU Code Week in the European Parliament to meet some MEPs and teach them to code — there were children from all over Europe, and it was a very exciting day.”

Picture of Sara at EU Dojo

Sara’s advice to girls? “If you are entering Coolest Projects next year, base your project on something you enjoy, do your best, and most important: have fun!”

Mini City built by Charlotte and Sophie

Charlotte and Sophie were two of Scotland’s representatives at Coolest Projects International 2018. They worked together to build Mini City, which they describe as “a small city on a board that has working traffic lights and a light-up car crash with sound effects”. They used a Raspberry Pi, two micro:bits, LEDs, and a speaker to make their project. Charlotte told me: “We met each other through Coolest Projects 2017, and we decided when we became friends to make the project together next year!” Working on projects can often produce challenges that have to be faced. When I asked them about this and how they dealt with them together, Sophie replied: “We worked well together! The challenges we faced were mainly with wires, as there was a lot of them so it was hard to keep track of which was which, and they repeatedly disconnected.”

Charlotte and Sophie with their project at Coolest Projects 2018, proudly holding Scottish flags.

Both Charlotte and Sophie said that the best parts of the trip were seeing people from different countries coming together to all do coding, and seeing other projects that inspired them to develop new features to add to Mini City and ideas for future projects.

At the end of our chat, I asked the girls whether they had any advice for young people who might want to take part in Coolest Projects. Sophie replied: “My advice is to always keep going, even if there’s a problem — just keep going and you’ll figure it out.”, and Charlotte said: “My advice is to go to Coolest Projects having confidence in your project. You made it, you should be proud!”

 

Coolest Projects North America is this September!

If you’re a North American Ninja and feel inspired by these amazing girls, make sure to register for Coolest Projects North America here. The deadline for registrations and travel stipend applications has been extended to August 31, 2018! This awesome event is happening at the Discovery Cube Orange County, Santa Ana, California on September 23. To help you, we’ve put together a guide to help you build your project, from idea all the way to completion!
And if you are not from North America but also feel inspired, it’s never too early to start working on your project for Coolest Projects International 2019! If you are not sure about entering, remember Michelle Obama’s words: “Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?