The Junior Cycle Short Course in Coding - Your Questions Answered

08 Aug 2018

The Junior Cycle Short Course in Coding - Your Questions Answered

Why is it being introduced? 

It may not appear like it on surface level, but Computer Science is present in every aspect of modern society to varying degrees. From hospitals to museums, from tech giants to banks, this skillset is becoming increasingly important for our society. Computer software can measure glucose levels in your blood, access your bank account and can connect you to hundreds of people across the world – all at your fingertips.  

Technology is always evolving, with new jobs being created every day. This has produced a major gap in the modern workplace as there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill these jobs. The Department of Education has taken measures to counteract this. They’ve introduced a ‘Short Course in Coding’ to the Junior Cycle to teach them the fundamentals of software and hardware and how they relate to everyday life. The aim of the course is to develop student's ability to formulate problems logically; design, write and test code through the development of programs, apps, games, animations or websites; and, through chosen learning activities, to learn about Computer Science.  

How do I get started? 

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) course consists of three strands: 

Strand 1: Introduction to Computer Science  

In this strand, students explore the range of uses computers have in today’s world and learn to understand the hardware and basic software which operates in them. This includes learning to write, test and evaluate code. 

Strand 2: Let's get connected 

This strand deepens the student’s understanding of the computer as a communications tool through the storage and manipulation of data. Students also can identify, research, present and receive feedback on a topic or challenge in Computer Science that inspires them. 

Strand 3: Coding at the next level 

In this strand, students are introduced to more complex levels of coding where they can demonstrate their understanding through documentation, discussion and feedback. 


What's the best resource to teach the course? 

There are a lot of resource out there to help teach the Junior Cycle Short Course in Coding. One of the best, is the Everyone Can Code programme. Developed by Apple, Everyone Can Code includes a range of iBook resources that take students all the way from zero coding experience to building their first apps. Built into the programme is Swift Playgrounds. A free app, that makes learning and experimenting with code interactive and fun. Students can solve puzzles to master the basics using Swift - a powerful programming language created by Apple. It has been used to create many of the world’s leading apps. Check out some of them below: 

2 imageSwift Playgrounds comes with a complete set of Apple-designed lessons called ‘Learn to Code’. It also comes with examples of lessons in the Learn to Code 1,2, & 3 Teacher Guides on iBooks. These are aligned with the Junior Cycle Short Course in Coding with curriculum correlation maps available in the Learn to Code 1,2, & 3 Teacher Guides.

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Teaching coding through Apple's ‘Everyone Can Code’ curriculum opens students up to an interactive environment where they can see instant results of efforts. The Swift Playgrounds app is accessible, immersive and a great study guide. It also has the option to review, record and share students’ work within the app. Key skills such as creativity, literacy, numeracy and communication are all mentioned within the 'Key Skills' of the course overview. 


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Next Steps: 

To get started with the Everyone Can Code Curriculum and Swift Playgrounds app, click on the link here to get started.

If you'd like help creating lessons in the classroom with Everyone Can Code, please contact Wriggle. Our Apple Professional Trainer can come out to your school and deliver a bespoke day of training with your teachers.