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Pupils assisted by Google experts during games event

By Kyle Ritchie

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Children from across Aberdeenshire worked with experts from Google as part of the final of Aberdeenshire Council’s GamesCon 2019 competition.

More than 1300 primary six and seven pupils took part in the competition this year, with 14 teams of four taking part in the final at Robert Gordon University at Garthdee.

Secondary school pupils also took part with a team from Turriff represented.

Pupils from Turriff Academy took part in the GamesCon event.
Pupils from Turriff Academy took part in the GamesCon event.

They took part in a live coding exercise, finalist presentation and hear from a number of top speakers.

The children were also joined by experts from CyberFirst, Cybersafe Scotland, local universities and Education Scotland.

Councillor Gillian Owen, chairwoman of Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee said: “It’s great to see such enthusiastic participation in any educational activity and we can’t wait to see the winning solutions.

"This is a really exciting way to engage children across Aberdeenshire in computer science and help develop our young workforce to be ready for a very digital world."

The children worked tirelessly on software solutions which bring the UK-led 5Rights initiative to life and hope their creations help their peers to access digital technologies more knowledgeably.

The youngsters are now well-versed in what it means to be a programmer, graphic designer, document controller, researcher and presenter.

The opening keynote was delivered by Susan Sey from Education Scotland who brought to life the exciting opportunities that await young people in their digital world, and she highlighted the benefits and necessary key life skills in becoming experts in digital literacy, coding and keeping safe online.

Jenni Mackay from Dundee City Council explained her role in the Fourth Bridges Project. As part of the work on the new Queensferry crossing, the railway bridge was laser scanned, producing a bank of resources including a game which is now available to schools across Scotland. The schools found out how they might be able to use this to build their own digital models and bridges.

Maria Walker, strategic director with Education Scotland and formerly director of education and children’s services at Aberdeenshire Council who was recently awarded an OBE for her services to education was also there to provide insight and expertise to the group.

Committee vice-chairman councillor Mark Findlater said: “This event is a celebration of creativity, problem solving, computational thinking, coding and teamwork."

The end result of the coding the winning teams worked on were games or animations.

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