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The second RSC course to train Champion Tutors took place in Kilkenny Education Centre on Friday and Saturday 13th and 14th May 2016. The extraordinary gathering of teachers, tutors and mentors was a cross section of various strands of education: primary teachers and principals, second level teachers, a parent, a CoderDojo mentor, an official in second-chance education from LOETB and a tutor from the National Learning Network. Most had little or no experience in using Scratch. All but one, had no background in coding. It was truly an extraordinary 2-days with very positive feedback. Read some testimonials and find out more about the journey of RSC to recognition, on this web site.

Testimonials from course attendees:

“Excellent course – can be used across the curriculum
in most / all classes. Can’t wait to get started!”
 Michelle Doorley (Co. Carlow) Primary Principal

“A lot packed into two days. Lots of info.” Mary Bourke (Co. Carlow) Parent, local tutor

“Great content. Super ideas. Wonderful resources pack. Excellently presented and really helpful. Very enjoyable.”
Tom Percy (Co. Kilkenny) Primary Teacher

“Really enjoyed the course. A bit confusing as I have no background in coding.
Looking forward to figuring it out.”

Patricia Holden (Co. Kilkenny) NLN tutor

PRESS RELEASE: Kilkenny

On Friday and Saturday Kilkenny Education Centre hosted the South East computer coding training event for the programme Ready Steady Code.  This is the brainchild of Seamus O’Neill a primary teacher of 40 years and a celebrated author of the popular primary textbooks, Mathemagic. Seamus used his passion for Maths and his love of Coding to produce a hybrid programme. He explained that Ready Steady Code teaches pupils, children or adults, how to code, yet with maths absolutely at the front at all times.

Coming from the teaching profession himself, Seamus recognises the workload of the teacher and the insecurities some may have around change.  “The modern teacher is very busy and does a wonderful job, but sometimes change can seem intimidating, even frustrating. However this project is set to support maths delivery, with no need to throw out the baby nor the bath water. We are not saying get rid of books, pencils, compass. Ready Steady Code can sit along side and be a complimentary method to deliver Maths, an add-on modern method to those ways tried and trusted”.

Delegates at the course included School teachers, both Primary and Post Primary, School Principals, Education Training Board representatives, Parents of pupils in schools and CoderDojo representatives, the demographic was vast as was the geographic reach with one person coming all the way from Mayo to attend. These educators all came with the vision to get coding to young people, either through embedding into curriculum or offering as a school “Maths & Coding club” .

Tim Slight, who organised the South East training of Ready Steady Code added his opinions to the importance of Coding in the classroom “I feel very lucky that my early years of education were in the 80’s, when we had Atari  on the carpet and sometimes Commodore 64s, Spectrum 48Ks or BBC Micros in the house or school. Coding was new, cool and exciting. However there remained this stereotype of coding being a bit geeky, needy, niche or anti-social. I can assure you it is still cool but progress in software has made it much more user-friendly and accessible to all”. Tim added, to the benefits of the bigger picture, “CoderDojos do an amazing job nationally in teaching children Coding skills. In fact Kilkenny recently won the TechWeek award for the best team project in Coding, so our children are showing they are ready. Add to that the fact that coding also allows people to both analyse and design solution to problems, then debug and evaluate their finished product. This subject contains a lot of range of higher order, transferable, cross curricular skills that can be applied elsewhere. In addition Scratch is a great starting platform onto App Inventor which is other software with equal relevance yet a different scope”.

The attendees were also visited by Mayor of Kilkenny Joe Malone whom stressed the importance of children learning code and thanked those attending for giving their time to learning this, with the shared hope children benefit from it further in the future.

Paul Fields Director of Kilkenny Education Centre explained the importance of this to bigger picture of education and commerce. “In this digital age and looking at the potential for future careers it seems absolutely essential to give children the chance to experience Coding. Our usage of digital tools is increasing annually and I feel the classroom should address the need to learn these skills. There is a lot of support for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering,  Maths) model of education. I see coding accessible to all of these areas, whether Science in data collection and analysis, Art in software application or Game Design the technology and maths is a given, even Engineering getting software to control hardware such as robots. It would be misguided to assume every young person will grow up to be a programmer. However I feel it is equally misguided to not give them the opportunity to experience it and try it for themselves”.