Devoxx4Kids Ottawa June 2017

We all had such a great time at the Devoxx4Kids session in San Jose this past March that we’ve decided to try running a session here in Ottawa.

The goals and mission of Devoxx4Kids is to:

  1. Teach children Computer Programming while having fun and introduce them to concepts of robotics, electronics and generally being creative with these kind of devices.
  2. Inspire not only children but also the classical education system, so they too can start including computer science in their curriculum.
  3. Demystify programming for girls and introduce them to computer science in order to improve gender equality in that field.

The full manifesto is on the Devoxx4Kids website. There’s also all sorts of information about the programme, including links to the workshops.


Don’t let this picture fool you. Plenty of young women attended the session in San Jose, but we were so caught up in the fun that we didn’t take all that many pictures…

For this first attempt, we’re going to keep it simple and run only two workshops (they ran eight in four parallel streams in San Jose). Since we’re new at this, we’re going to stick to coding workshops with a plan to branch out and maybe try some of the hardware workshops in a future session (these workshops require that we acquire some supplies and equipment that we don’t have readily at hand).

For this first run, the good people at Carleton University have offered up some space. Registration will open at 9:00 am on Saturday, June 3, 2017; we’ll be in room 5345 of the Herzberg Physics building.

5345 Herzberg Physics
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Dr
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6

The target age range for attendees is between ten and fourteen years of age (close counts). We’ll post more information, including how to register, on our event page. Registration includes lunch. We’re charging a modest fee of $30 to cover our expenses. Attendees will need to bring their own laptop computer to complete the exercises (we may be able to bring a few spares).

If you’re interested in helping to mentor the session, please send us a note at We’ll get the mentors together in late May to go through the exercises and make sure that everybody is ready to hit the ground running.

The first workshop will focus on a simple game written in Javascript and HTML using a game engine called Phaser. Participants are shown some basic JavaScript expressions and are then invited to use their new knowledge to modify the game. The beautiful thing about this exercise is that it requires virtually no set-up: the code is all self-contained, any text editor (including Notepad) can be used for modifications, and it all runs in a browser. Further, it can be run successfully without requiring an Internet connection.

The second workshop is concerned with Minecraft Modding using Forge for Minecraft and Eclipse IDE as the development environment. This workshop has a few more moving parts than the first and so will require a bit more effort to set up and most certainly does require a stable Internet connection to at least assemble the initial development environment via a Gradle build. There’s certainly a lot of opportunities in this workshop to explain all sorts of interesting concepts without getting bogged down in too many details (which will be good if we end up having attendees with prior experience).

Screenshot from 2017-05-12 15-36-17

We’ll send out setup instructions a week or so ahead of the session; we can hit the ground running faster if everybody has the software that we’re going to need already downloaded.

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