Staff from four Donegal ETB schools, who are participating in the Junior Cycle Coding in Action initiative, recently attended an intensive training workshop in the Intel Ireland Campus in Leixlip, Co. Kildare on 27 January.
The Junior Cycle Coding in Action initiative is a collaboration 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 fifty schools and teachers across Ireland with the introduction of the short course in Coding within their Junior Cycle programme.
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 the intensive workshop for teachers held on 27 January which was attended by staff from Donegal ETB’s four participating schools – the Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town, Coláiste na Carraige, An Charraig, Crana College, Buncrana and Errigal College, Letterkenny.
Clare McInerney, Education and Outreach Manager of Science Foundation Ireland backed Lero commented, “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.”
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 of JCT in the Department of Education and Skills 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.”
This initiative adds to the huge strides being made in the area of Computer Science in post-primary schools with the recent announcement by the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., about the introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject in September 2018 whcih the Abbey Vocational School will also provide.