A woman and two teenage boys play on an arcade games console.
From left: Amir Serajpour; Minister Katherine Zappone, TD; and Adam King. Image: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic

Google grants €530,000 to boost Irish computer science curriculum buzz

18 Sep 20181.51k Views

Google grant will effectively double the number of TechSpaces in Irish youth clubs.

Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, has granted €530,000 to Camara Education to effectively double the number of TechSpaces in Irish youth clubs. Camara is the Irish NGO that runs the national TechSpace Network in partnership with Foróige.

‘There’s a great buzz of excitement around computer science these days, with its introduction for the first time as a Leaving Certificate subject earlier this month’

The grant will enable it to deliver computer science training, equipment and ongoing support to more than 300 youth workers and 48 senior managers in 60 Foróige youth groups around the country.

With around 400,000 young people engaged with the youth sector every year, the partnership between Camara and Foróige is designed to have a major impact on how technology is used in youth groups.

The importance of a good computer science education

Up to 60 new TechSpace sites – double the existing number – will be established in Foróige youth groups, including in Ringsend and Pearse Street, adjacent to Google’s EMEA headquarters. The youth groups will also receive a total of 360 computers to support the project’s implementation.

“Digital media and new technologies can be wonderful tools to ignite young people’s curiosity, creativity and confidence,” said Marianne Checkley, CEO of Camara Ireland.

“Used effectively, they can enhance social awareness and contribute to an ability to engage as active citizens. They can also help to build young people’s sense of agency and enable them to develop new knowledge and skills, and provide platforms for their voices to be heard.”

Shane Nolan, director of new business sales for EMEA and community outreach lead for Google Ireland, said: “There’s a great buzz of excitement around computer science these days, with its introduction for the first time as a Leaving Certificate subject earlier this month, and potentially soon to be available at other stages in the school curriculum.

“More than ever, it is critical that all students have access to computer science education, both in and out of school. Computer science education is a pathway to innovation, to creativity and to exciting career opportunities in the 21st century, and Google believes that all students deserve these opportunities.”

Youth workers will also be offered a bursary to complete a Level 8 National University of Ireland certificate in digital creativity in youth settings, which will include a module in computer science education. This is a special-purpose programme run in partnership with Maynooth University, designed to significantly impact the adoption of technology in the youth sector. Additionally, the project will create a computer science in youth work toolkit to be made available to youth workers nationwide, containing best practices, activity guidelines and resources.

“This exciting initiative will make it possible for over 3,000 young people across Ireland to develop a suite of computer science skills that will set them on the pathway for success in the 21st century,” said Seán Campbell, CEO of Foróige.

“It will challenge young people to harness their innate interest in technology for the betterment of their own lives, their communities and society. In many ways, computer science has become as important as reading, writing and maths, making this partnership between Camara Ireland, Foróige and Google hugely important.”

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of Siliconrepublic.com for 17 years. He joined Silicon Republic in 2002 to become the fulcrum of the company’s news service. He received of the Irish Internet Association’s NetVisionary Technology Journalist Award 2005 and saw Siliconrepublic.com awarded ‘Best Technology Site’ at the Irish Web Awards seven times. In 2011 he received the David Manley Award commending him for his dedication to covering entrepreneurs. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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