Computing in the Irish Curriculum – Open Space at Conference 2017

In advance of the CESI symposium at Maynooth on September 16th 2017, this blog post reports some of the issues that came up at CESI conference in March 2017.

The session ‘Computing in the Irish Curriculum’ offered participants the opportunity to propose their issues for discussion on this theme, stimulated by the news that a Leaving Certificate in Computer Science was coming, a coding module at Junior Certificate was in development and moves to address coding at primary level were also being made. Approximately forty took part during the hour, debating in groups that were self-forming, self-chairing, and self-reporting.

The facilitators, Richard Millwood, Mags Amond, Nina Bresnihan and John Hegarty were a combination of CESI Executive members and the Computational Thinking for Life group at Trinity College Dublin, but it was the knowledge of the participants in the room that provided the content for the session.

The issues debated were mapped on to whiteboards, reported back to the whole group and are summarised here:

 Who is going to teach Computer Science?
  • Other countries?
  • AP (Advanced Placement) in US – CS is one year in uni
  • Germany – coursework & ?
  • Similar to Art, Tech subjects, Engineering, Home Economics
  • Who teaches it? Of CS graduates, only 3%-5% would go to a Professional Masters in Education course – salary!
  • Teaching Council recognition: CS degree not recognised.
  • Can we do the same as the Maths ‘top-up’ in UL
  • Who does or leads the CPD?
  • Pilot in 2018
 Continuing Professional Development for teachers
  • Provide CPD to existing teachers, teachers with an interest
  • Quality CPD
  • Management buy in in €
  • Long term plan commitment
  • Should CS be worth more in points?
  • Support from Institutes of Technology and Universities
  • Teacher buy in
  • Correct support
  • Training aligned to subject content – eg parallel processors
  • Hoping to be continual assessment

CPD cannot follow course design: course design parallel to CPD design

 How can we benefit from global collaborations?
  • Look at language exchange
  • Students get a chance to travel
  • Students can collaborate online
  • What can we learn from Erasmus?
Values of computing in Primary Education
  • Consistency throughout school & staff
  • Ethos of school
  • Infrastructure in place
  • Teacher training + CPD
  • 21st C skill
  • Recognising integration re building on computational thinking in the primary curriculum
 STEM in primary schools
  • STEM areas in class, STEAM rooms, or both
  • No techie expertise required
  • Whole school on learning journey
  • Digital champions / leaders
 Encouraging female involvement
  • Female role models
  • Education as to opportunities in school
  • Growth mindset, fixed mindset
  • Girls want to know why they are doing something
  • ‘Geeks’
  • Team based collaborative Bridge21 style projects
 CS is not just for programming
  • Computing in Irish Curriculum – what name?
  • Room for creativity and expression – if you do it just to LC, it’ll still be useful, not just a prep for 3rd level
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