IT education

Festival of Code 2014 winners announced

Kayleigh Bateman

The winners of this year's Festival of Code competition have been announced, with five teams crowned champions in front of more than 1,000 budding young coders.

The festival, organised by Young Rewired State (YRS), ran from 28 July to 3 August, with the aim of helping under-19s to create websites, prototypes and inventive applications. The coders had less than five days to create apps, games and websites using open data to solve real-world problems.

Young rewired state - dog.jpg

A total of 58 companies opened their doors to youngsters during the week, granting them access to open government data.

During the weekend event in Plymouth, young participants from across the UK were able to present their designs to a panel of judges and meet their fellow coders.

Emma Mulqueeny, CEO of YRS, said: “We were bowled over by the designs that came out of this year’s festival. It has been a fantastic celebration of the coding talent that we’re sitting on right here in the UK and we’ve been able to see just what we can achieve if we foster this talent in the right way. 

“Our ambition at YRS is to find and foster every child driven to teach themselves to code and connect them to a community of mentors, and the Festival of Code is our chance to get these kids together to work in partnership with their coding peers, learn from the experts and create new digital solutions to problems we all face.

“Last week’s celebrations saw some ground-breaking designs from kids who are coding away in their bedrooms year after year, and we hope to see many more coders get involved with our community and sign up to the festival of 2015.”

CoderDojo co-founder Bill Liao said the designs he saw were impressive. “Explosive, collaborative, creativity in coding is not just a mission for Young Rewired State, it’s clearly a result,” he said. “All the stuff I’ve seen this weekend – just sick!”

This year's Festival of Code was supported by Google, American Express, the University of Plymouth, Comparethemarket.com, TalkTalk, Plymouth council and the Met Office, among others.

The winners were:

Code a Better Country: CityRadar

Chris Chapman, 17, Rhys Marsh, 14, and Owen Mark, 13, from the Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol won the Code a Better Country award with their app CityRadar.

Using Google data as well as data from local councils, the app aims to help people generate as much content as possible to help councils sort out residents' problems quickly and efficiently.

Chris Chapman said: “It’s so difficult and confusing for anyone to report any problems to their council – we come from Bristol and you have to fill out a five-page report for something like fly tipping.

“We wanted something that helped this process along and made it easier for people. Festival of Code really is the best opportunity for kids to get out and do something different to the tasks you get in school.”

Best Example of Design: Tourify

Seb Klavinskis-Whiting, 15, Louise Slater, 17, Luca Marchal, 13, and Gerard Glowackil, 12, won the Best Example of Design award for Tourify.

Using data from Yelp, Bing and Google, their app is designed to improve people’s experiences of holidays in unfamiliar places.

The app was created at SwiftKey in London, and team member Gerard Glowackil  said: “When you go on holiday, you have to ask locals, go on Trip Advisor, walk around or get a really old guide book – so our design would give users an option that gets them out and about quickly.

“You give us a time, a location you want to cover, and Tourify gives you a complete guide that’s personal to you.” 

The team now hopes to take the design to the Google Play store and get a full website up and running.

Best Example of Code: Let’s Combine

German coders Daniel Petri, 16, Leander Berg, 17, and Bjorn Ternes, 16, won the Best Example of Code category for Let’s Combine.

Let’s Combine uses smart watches and apps to correlate the weather with crime statistics.

Leander Berg, said: “Working with different students on coding and learning has been amazing. To cover front- and back-end development while also having the freedom to go for coffee and chat about our experiences with other coders has been amazing.

“We’ve all attended the Berlin Festival of Code, which is much smaller, being at i-DAT. Plymouth University has been a much bigger event and we have been able to compete with more people.”

Should Exist: Miles Per Pound

The Miles Per Pound team created an app that calculates the exact cost of a car journey before you start the engine.

Ben Roberts and Loic Deraed, both 15, created the app at the Reading Microsoft Centre. Deraed explained: “You can look at the cost of your bus ticket before taking a journey and the same with a plane ticket – so why can’t you do the same with a car journey?”

Best in Show: YouDraw

Niklas Vengeow, 16, Guy McClenahan, 16, James McQueen, 12, Josh Dekock 14, Bobby Dilley, 17, and Matthew Lewis, 17, won Best in Show for their YouDraw website, which enables users to create unique animations of any YouTube video.


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