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Computer Science in Irish Post Primary: Specification Design and Key Skills Integration

Cornelia Connolly, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Abstract: The society our children are growing up in is one which has been fundamentally transformed by new technology, consequently the curriculum in our education system must prepare them to flourish and equip them with skills for the future. The introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject is part of the Irish Government’s overall commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to support innovation for the future prosperity of the country. It is envisaged that Computer Science will be an examinable subject made available to all schools in Ireland from September 2020.
Computer Science (CS) has been introduced to post-primary schools for the first time ever in Ireland with forty schools teaching the subject in the initial phased rollout of the subject. In addition, this will be the first time Irish students will have a computerized final State examination. The high-stakes state examination at the end of post-primary level education in Ireland is known as the Leaving Certificate and the results are used to apply to third-level education institutions.
This presentation will describe the development of the Computer Science specification and provide an overview of the subject, with particular attention to the integration of traditional Computer Science concepts and key skills development as part of national post primary education reforms in Ireland.

Further information: Cornelia´s homepage

Cornelia Connolly is a lecturer at the School of Education, National University of Ireland, Galway.
Having graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Engineering and a Masters in Engineering, her PhD studies were in Education where she developed an intervention strategy for students learning computer programming. Cornelia continues her research in innovative pedagogical approaches to STEM education, numerical competency and initial teacher education.
Cornelia was a member of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Development Group responsible for writing the Computer Science post-primary specification and was elected Fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISDDE) in 2018.

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