The Irish Computer Society (ICS), with support from Lero, has trained 50 teachers to give software development lessons to secondary school students.
The fully funded training focused on the use of Scratch, a graphical programming language developed by the MIT Media Lab and pioneered by Lero.
Scratch allows students to create and share interactive stories, animations and games on the web. It teaches programming and helps improve their mathematical, creative and team skills.
Teachers learned the fundamentals of Scratch over two days and were taught how to implement their own programming projects for the classroom.
The training took place to help combat the shortage of computing graduates in Ireland.
“Although enrolment in computing courses rose again this year, we need more graduates to meet the demands of our economy,” said Jim Friars, CEO of the ICS.
“We believe students don’t appreciate how interesting and creative a career in computing can be, because they are not getting the chance to experience it. These innovative teachers will be able to empower their students to make more informed college and career choices,” said Friars.
Scratch software is available for free to download, along with resources to help teachers construct lesson plans.
“Scratch is really taking off in schools” said Mike Hinchey, centre director of Lero.
“Thankfully, the IT industry is on the rise again and the numbers going into third-level computing are increasing.
“Programmes like these are an important part of this growth as they ensure that secondary students are made aware of the options available to them within the IT sector and gain a better understanding of the types of jobs they could potentially work in,” said Hinchey.