Young Rewired State Mozilla HQ

So my good friend Steve from Rewired Australia pinged me and told me about Young Rewired State in the UK and how it would be on whilst I was over here. I got onto my email and contacted the team and asked how I could help. There was a spot at the Mozilla HQ which was awesome I love that place it is filled with geekiness and awesome people with a huge chillout space and as always in a Geek HQ mad food area.

So I headed over the the Mozilla HQ to help out with mentoring children in using Open Data from the UK gov to create a project. It was a great environment and there were kids from 7 to 18 around and ready to hack. Some kids had participated before maybe one or two times before whilst the large majority were new to the hack week.

To give some background basically kids from all over the UK sign up for the hackathon. The hackathon lasts a week and starts on the Monday where teams get an introduction to the program and picks a group to be involved in. Due to the sheer number and location of kids mentors are spread out in all areas of the UK. Monday to Thursday is spent hacking on a project / idea that the kids have and on Friday they head up/down to Birmingham to practice there presentation of the idea they just coded. The hacks are then judged and winners chosen in various areas. The Saturday is then spent presenting the winning ideas to a group of 400 to 500 adults and kids.

The group of kids that I was mentoring age was from 7 to 17, I had a 7 year old who taught himself how to code over the internet and was¬†proficient¬†in CSS / HTML and JavaScript. The rest of the team were older and skills were vastly different, one guy who was 15 was coding in PHP, Python, Perl, Pascal, CSS, .net, HTML… and yes I said Pascal lol

The team were great and we had girls and guys in our team, due the age differences I moved the 7 year old to the London Zoo team who consists of a younger team who were building scratch games for the London Zoo open data stack. This seemed more fitting as the older members of my team wanted to make a music playlist app that was abit over the head of the younger member and he wanted to make some games and increase his skill set on CSS / HTML. I spoke with his father and the move seemed good on everyone’s terms. The other team members were then able to move onto focus on there music app and get going on that front.

The main aim of mentoring for not just Young Rewired State but any hackathon is to provide guidance. This mainly from my experience comes in the way of providing architectural advice showing how the idea can go from being an idea through stages of flow charting and planning it out. Another main area is to provide code/technology help to people who are unsure how to take something to the next step, what API they should be using and even how to work with an API or a certain programming language.

Thanks heaps to Mozilla HQ London for holding this event it was a great success and a great space provided. It is so good to see a company get behind such great events and to help use there money and effort to see children learning more about programming.