The Department of Computing at the Institute of Technology held a 'Kerry Robotics Championship' for secondary and primary schools on March 6th and 7th respectively. The championships were the culmination of a pilot project run by the Institute to introduce computer-programming skills through robotics to pupils in primary and secondary schools in the region.
The Institute has run a number of workshops prior to the main championship event, which focused on developing the skills required to understand and master technology. The project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, and is aimed at promoting coding and STEM/ICT. Skills in these areas are key to developing a sustainable healthy economy for the region. The ICT sector has emerged as a major employer in Kerry with many of the large Financial Services companies continuing to grow their workforce within the county. There are also a growing number of local software companies providing solutions to the manufacturing, healthcare, telecommunications and agricultural sectors nationally and internationally. Developing a skilled workforce to service these companies is a core function of the Institute and the Department of Computing and a vital component of the Digital Strategy for the county.
The schools designed and programmed robots over the last couple of months. The abilities exhibited by the pupils and support provided by their teachers has seen the project go from strength to strength. The championships consisted of a number of games that put the robots to the test, with awards going to those exhibiting the best designs, driving skills, games tactics and coding ability. The event was the first of its kind in Kerry. It is envisaged that the project will be rolled out to more schools next year, with the best teams going forward to represent Kerry in the national and hopefully the vex robotics world championship.