Parents Council Helps Mounthawk Pupils Take Coding To A New Level

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Mercy Mounthawk pupils with new Raspberry Pi IT equipment bought by funds raised by the Parents Council. Also included is Elaine Clancy, Parents Council, Kathleen Holmes, Chairperson of Parents Council, Shane Kissane, Deputy Principal and Will Nolan, IT/Computing teacher. Photo by Dermot Crean

STUDENTS from Mercy Secondary School Mounthawk are getting the chance to code with Raspberry Pi computers this year, thanks to funding from the Parents Council.

First year pupils this year have been timetabled computer science classes which allows them to explore various areas of computational logic, develop games and now work with the physical side of coding with Raspberry Pi.

“Coding for students can be a hard thing to comprehend when it is just lines of code. The addition of these Raspberry Pi devices will allow pupils to be creative and see coding in action,” explained Computer Science Teacher, Will Nolan. “Children learn by doing and this makes their coding really a hands on experience,” he added.

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The school is to offer Computer Science as a short course for the first time for the Junior Certificate in September 2018 which is an exciting development.

“Computer Science literacy will be essential for everyone and especially the workforce of the future. Many of the jobs that will exist in 10/20 years time don’t exist now and have yet to be developed,” said Mr Shane Kissane, Deputy Principal.

“It is recognised that to be able to successfully negotiate through life and work in the future our current students will be better equipped if they learn computer coding and computer architecture,” he said.

Mr. Nolan added; “Immersive education in this area from an early age allows girls and boys to explore varied skills which they might not otherwise have available to them”.

“One of the many advantages of coding is that it enhances logical thinking and in that way coding will help attain proficiency in other subjects such as languages and mathematics,” said the Principal Mr. John O’Roarke.

The school too is eager to engage other year groups and has added a computer science lunch club to activities where students receive Google CS first training.

This training is an online experience where students can learn at their own pace and builds key skills in Computer Science.

Developed by Google themselves, it lays a great foundation to computational thinking. Student reaction has been high with uptake of the club being large.

“We are delighted to be able to support the further development of the school’s new computer facilities for students,” said Kathleen Holmes, Chairperson of the Parents’ Council.

“This is just one of the many activities the Parents Council are involved in that support the school. Being a part of the Parents’ Council is a great way to support our children’s education while at the same time getting to know other parents in the school community,” said Ms Holmes.

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