Coding in the classroom: Bringing code to the next generation
Coding will be introduced to primary schools by 2018, according to Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton.
Ireland is currently celebrating EU Code Week with over 50 events across the country. With approximately 80pc of the events aimed at children and teenagers, it’s clear that bringing coding to the younger generations is paramount.
But coding events can only go so far in educating children and teenagers, and Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, TD, has already suggested to The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) that coding should be part of the primary school curriculum.
‘I am acutely conscious that we need to give all children the best start in a world where such skills will be key to participation and success’
– RICHARD BRUTON, TD
His Action Plan for Education, which the Government launched in September, includes strategies to introduce coding to primary schools from 2018 and start teaching computer science as a Leaving Certificate subject.
The NCCA conducted a desktop audit of coding and computer science in primary school curricula in 22 jurisdictions. According to Arlene Forster, deputy chief executive of the NCCA, “The findings from this audit show an emerging trend in the integration of technology as an area of learning in curriculum policy outside of Ireland.”
However, bringing coding into the classroom comes with its own challenges. Some teachers and education professionals have raised issues about coding becoming part of primary education, with cost and a lack of understanding by teachers flagged as the biggest problems. It seems one of the best ways to effectively integrate coding in the classroom, is to first bring it into the next generation’s teacher training.
Marino Institute of Education has a strong emphasis on technology and teaching in their master’s degree programme for student teachers. Lecturer Anne McMorrough runs several workshops throughout the year to introduce her student teachers to the basics of computer programme, Scratch, and how it can animate and elevate children’s learning and motivation.