Teachers thirst for knowledge of coding in Northern Ireland

By Michael O’Kane – Heads up Coding and computing with iTeach and Eruopean CodeWeek Ambassador

The thirst for knowledge of coding and computing in the classroom continued in Northern Ireland during Europe Code Week 2016 as over 40 teachers from across the region attended a fantastic free teacher training event in The Mac in Belfast on Tuesday 18th October. This event was run by iTeach who work with thousands of schools across the UK, Ireland and beyond.

 

 

The event itself was a hive of activity as teachers looked at developing coding with the iPad across the curriculum from Early Years right through to Post Primary/Secondary school. Teachers began by looking at how coding apps like Lightbot and Scratch Jr can be used to develop knowledge of sequencing, algorithms, repeat/loops and game design. Teachers were excited by getting hands on with the iPad as it gave them ideas of how to link coding activities into their classroom.

A real highlight of the day was when the teachers looked at the fantastic new Swift Playgrounds app. This was the first session of its kind in the region. Shelby Hanna and Michael O’Kane showed teachers how their pupils could use real code to solve problems  to master the basics of the Swift coding language. This means that the young people of the region will be able to link knowledge
of block based code through to text based code with the iPad. The teachers really enjoyed working together to solve problems with the Swift Playgrounds app.

 

 

The event got even more exciting after lunch as teachers got hands on with the Sphero SPRK+ using the Lightning Lab app and the Parrot Mini-drone. It was brilliant to see so many teachers work together to use the iPad and programmable devices and discuss how they can be used to develop coding across their schools. Teachers became more aware of the concepts of computer science
that should be developed within their schools that will equip young people with the essential learning skills they need going forward into their future careers.