Timely move by minister - Coding in schools

FROM small beginnings as a tiny club born at the National Software Centre in Cork barely five years ago, the CoderDojo movement is one of the most exciting educational initiatives of recent times.

It has spread so rapidly around the globe that over 875 clubs based on the Irish model have been set up in 63 countries — and more are sprouting by the day.

So compelling has been the appeal to young people of this remarkable idea , which is totally free and community based, that Education Minister Richard Bruton has asked the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment to consider how to introduce the teaching of coding in primary schools. As every parent knows, that’s the age when children take to computers like ducks to water.

The birth of the Cork club in July 2011 even saw people travelling from Dublin with their children to give them a taste of programming from an early age. The brainchild of James Whelton, then a teenager who set up a computer club in his school (PBC Cork), the movement went global when entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bill Liao, became involved.

Mr Bruton’s intervention could not be more timely as the council is reviewing the primary school syllabus, an exercise which includes developing a new primary maths curriculum.

If teachers adopt the CoderDojo club concept, it could transform Ireland into a world leader in the field of computer programming.


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