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Education and Outreach Activities in Ireland: an Experience Report

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Software Engineering Outreach: Industry, K-12

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.452.1 - 23.452.13



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Paper Authors


Clare McInerney Lero - the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre

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Clare McInerney is the Education and Outreach Officer with Lero - the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre. She is based at the University of Limerick, Ireland.

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Mike Hinchey Lero-the Irish Software Engineering Reseaach Centre

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Mike Hinchey is Director of Lero and Professor of SE at University of Limerick.

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Education and Outreach Activities in Ireland: An Experience ReportThe Education and Outreach (E&O) programme discussed in this paper focuses on ourgoal to increase the interest and knowledge of second-level students in computing andencourage a greater uptake of computing subjects at third-level. While many second-level/high-school outreach programmes operate in countries that offer Computer Science(CS) education for all second-level students or at least offer a pre-third level course, thisis not the case in Ireland. In terms of a national approach to ICT in schools, about 50% ofIrish second-level schools are involved in the European Computing Driving License(ECDL) programme, but the focus of this programme is on computer literacy and not oncomputer science.The outreach programme, which we have been running for four years, focusing oncomputational concepts and computational thinking, consists of four parts: teachingmaterials/curriculum, teacher training, a competition and summer computing camps.Teaching materials/curriculum include a 45 hour course designed for second-levelstudents. Teacher training is concerned with training primary and second-level teachers.The competition is an annual Scratch competition run for primary and second-levelstudents. The summer computing camps are run on a third-level campus for a number ofweeks during the summer period. Our outreach efforts primarily use the Scratch tool thatwas developed at the MIT Media Lab.We describe each outreach effort in detail and outline our experiences based on amixture of survey results, instructor observation and participant feedback. We willconclude by describing how the E&O programme has led to the organisation beingcommissioned by the Department of Education to write a computing course for highschool students that will be part of the official curriculum.

McInerney, C., & Hinchey, M. (2013, June), Education and Outreach Activities in Ireland: an Experience Report Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19466

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