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By Louise Walsh

An Irish primary teacher has been contacted by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a bid to use his coding work in a programming language.

The US creators of the free globally used programming language Scratch are to incorporate the work of Meath primary teacher Seamus O’Neill in its development. The visual programming language has been used by students and teachers to easily create animations and games since it was first launched in 2007.

The programme, which provides a stepping stone to the more advanced world of computer programming, was updated in 2013 and is now available online.

The makers, MIT Media Lab, approached maths author Mr O’Neill for permission to add his coding method into the software.

Mr O’Neill has long been a fan of Scratch and was the founder of the CoderDojo club in Navan five years ago.

“My slogan of Scratch with ‘Ready-Steady-Code’ makes coding simpler and fun,” he said. “The ‘magic mix’ of vector grids on a bitmap stage makes it easier to teach logical thinking and children can complete assignments with code as easy as with a pen and paper.”

It’s this new grid that has impressed MIT so much that it contacted Mr O’Neill last week informing him of its decision to add it to its backdrops library.

In a series of emails, the director of learning resources and research of the MIT Scratch team, Natalie Rusk, said: “I recently learned about your grid backdrop and am planning to add it to the Scratch library.

“I see how it can be helpful to have this vector version of the grid.

“These look great to me. I’m going to add them to the backdrop library now.

“The two backdrops should appear in the upcoming release, which should happen within the next week.”

Originally appeared http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/exams/us-institute-to-use-teachers-coding-magic-grid-35792600.html