Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (352)

Jim Daly


352. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he is in a position to offer support and assistance to the Coder Dojo movement; if he is will he encourage the schools under the Department's remit to be more proactive in promoting the coding classes being run throughout the country on a voluntary basis; if he recognises the value of such a movement to the future educational needs of this country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8868/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am aware of the excellent work of the Coder Dojo movement. Through this initiative young people learn how to code, develop websites, applications, programs and games. One of my Ministers of State has established a Coder Dojo in his constituency. I have no plans to introduce Coder Dojo into the curriculum at present. The overall approach to ICT, based on the advice of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment is that ICT is not a subject, but rather a tool to be integrated into all aspects of teaching and learning. The Council has published a curriculum framework for ICT setting out the range of skills and learning outcomes which students should achieve. This work is supported by professional development for teachers, by digital content on the Scoilnet website, and by investment in ICT infrastructure in schools. In addition, a summer course will be offered by the Professional Development Service for Teachers to interested Primary teachers where the use of Scratch (one of the introductory programming languages used in Coder Dojos) to develop literacy and numeracy will be explored. The forthcoming reforms in junior cycle will allow for the introduction of short courses. In fact the NCCA is developing its own short course on programming/ coding which will be available for schools from September 2014. Schools, following the NCCA short course template, will be able to develop their own short courses of 100 hours duration as an option. This option could provide schools with the opportunity to develop a short course along the lines of the Coder Dojo programme, if they wish to do so.