The recent announcement by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. regarding the introduction of Computer Science as a leaving certificate subject in September 2018 is a reflection of the huge strides that are being made in the area of Computer Science. However, many students are already engaging in innovative learning of this type by undertaking the short course in Coding as part of their junior cycle programme, and this number looks set to rise further in the coming years.
Of these, 50 post-primary schools are currently participating in ‘Junior Cycle Coding in Action’, a collaborative initiative between Intel Ireland; Lero – the Irish Software Research Centre and Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT), a Department of Education and Skills support service. The two-year initiative is designed to support schools and teachers in their introduction of the short course in Coding within their junior cycle programme.
Among the schools participating in the initiative is Carrick-on-Shannon Community School.
As part of the two-year programme, Intel will donate 500 Genuino 101 development boards across participating schools. The boards, geared to learning environments, are powered by the Curie microchip developed by an Intel Ireland design team. This donation is supported by both online and elective training events for participating teachers, including an intensive workshop for teachers held on Sat 27th January in the Intel Ireland Campus in Leixlip, Co. Kildare.
“This is the biggest involvement by post-primary schools since we began the programme of support for schools interested in including the Coding short course at Junior Cycle. 175 schools applied which reflects the growing appetite and enthusiasm in developing teacher and student skills in the vitally important area of coding,” commented Clare McInerney, education and outreach manager of SFI-backed Lero.
Maeve Byrne, Public Affairs, Intel added, “Computer science is present in every aspect of modern society and is creating millions of fulfilling and well rewarded jobs in Ireland and across the globe. Fundamental understanding of how computer hardware and software operate and relate to everyday life is central to a 21st century educational system. Intel is delighted to be participating in this programme and making available technology developed right here in Ireland.”
Dr. Padraig Kirk, director, JCT commented, “This is part of our continuing professional development (CPD) programme for post-primary school teachers and reflects JCT’s commitment to supporting schools who wish to develop in this area.”