By Martha Brennan
NUI Galway’s School of Education hosted an inaugural Computer Science Education summit this week.
The Irish Computer Science for All (CSForAll) Summit took place on Wednesday 13 March.
The one-day Summit focused on curriculums for teaching computer science, national and international trends and the importance of Computer Science in the Irish education system.
The event was hosted by NUI Galway and supported by Google Ireland and welcomed current teachers of Computer Science and Coding, potential teachers and schools interested in offering the subject.
Computer Science is set to become a Leaving Certificate subject with nationwide rollout planned for September 2020.
James Whelton, a co-founder of the Coderdojo Foundation, was a guest speaker at the event.
Coderdojo is a global volunteer-led community of free programming workshops for young people between the ages of seven and 17. Whelton started the campaign in Cork at just 18 years old. The workshops are now available in over 93 countries.
Whelton said, “Having worked with young people learning to code and my own journey coding from a young age, I’m delighted to support NUI Galway in organising this summit, furthering the cause of education around Computer Science – which continues to substantially empower not just young people’s future, but the future of our collective society.”
“Sharing stories and learnings from the CoderDojo movement with that of formal Computer Science education – this Summit promises to be a great conversation.”
International experts Professor Aman Yadav from Michigan State University in the US and Professor Peter Hubweiser from Technische Universität München in Germany also spoke at the summit about their experience in Computer Science education rollout.
Dr Claire Conneely, CS Education Programme Manager at Google was another one of the featured speakers at the event.
Ireland’s National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) were represented at the summit and primary and post-primary school students showcased their work to date in coding and Computer Science at the event.
The event was organised by Dr Cornelia Connolly, a lecturer in NUI Galway’s School of Education.
“The Irish CSForAll Summit amplifies the work of the key stakeholders nationwide engaged in developing computer science education,” Dr Connolly said.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to host the first International Summit and support schools in their provision of CS education in Ireland. Having the key people together in one place is a wonderful opportunity and as the title of the day suggests, we will be ‘Coding the Future of Education’.”
The subject of Computer Science is not only concerned with coding, but it also incorporates networks, data, and the impact of computing on society.
CSforAll started in the US and has since become a global movement and become a central resource for individuals and organisations interested in computer science education
The mission of CSforAll is “to make high-quality computer science an integral part of every child’s school experience.”