The Department of Computing in IT Tralee has been aware of a decline in the number of students studying programming at third level. The ICT is an employment sector that is currently undersupplied with qualified graduates and companies in many cases are forced to recruit internationally. In January 2012, the Department launched an initiative “Scratch” aimed at encouraging Transition Year students to discover and learn about computing and software development. This will encourage more students to follow the computing and mathematical route to third level programmes and generate more qualified ICT graduates for the future.
The Computing Department staff, have the strong belief that it is imperative to introduce such programming concepts at a younger age - at primary school in order to have the desired future impact on the ICT sector. Hence we are introducing a pilot “ITTch” programme which will see staff from the Department of Computing visit primary schools throughout the region to deliver a course on Introduction to Programming. The course is aimed at primary 6th class students in the school.
The aim of the ”ITTch” programme is to introduce students to a programming language which easily creates interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art, and to share the creations on the web. As young people create and share their projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively in a fun and exciting way. The pilot module is extracted from the NCCA approved Scratch course, and the aim is to teach both students and the 6th class teacher to continue the programme afterwards.
The four primary schools taking the “ITTch” programme on a pilot basis are:
Scoil Eoin, Ballonagh, Tralee
Gortatlea, Ballymacelligott, Tralee
Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn, Tralee
Thanks to Paul Collins Coordinator of “ITTch” programme
Design Work by Siobhan Murphy