May 9th will bring a plethora of all things tech to Cork City as, in addition to the annual it@cork Tech Summit bringing some of the brightest minds in global IT to the city, some of the city’s own young bright sparks from a number of local schools will be showing off their IT skills in a special showcase event in Deerpark CBS.
The Chair of it@cork, Anthony O’Callaghan, spoke of their delight at the unexpected double bill:
“As soon as we were contacted by staff at Deerpark CBS and informed that they were hosting a tech event on the same day, we wanted to support them in their aims. It’s very exciting and promising that programmes of this nature are happening in our local schools, it’s such a great age for kids to begin learning IT and coding skills that will be of benefit to them in years to come, especially when they decide what pathways to choose for work and careers.”
Students from five schools in the city will showcase their robotic and coding skills at this special event in Deerpark CBS, with students leading their project ‘Robobloq Q-Scout’ robot through a number of demonstrations and obstacles on the day.
Aaron Wolfe, Deputy Principal of Deerpark CBS explained how their Robot came to fruition and who was involved:
“Our Transition Year students from Deerpark have been guiding 4th class pupils from our partner schools in building the robot from scratch and then coding it to complete various tasks e.g. move, change colour, flash it’s lights etc. We use ‘Robobloq Q-Scout’ robots for the project, which students code using the Robobloq software and app.
“The coding can be simple to more advanced, depending on the capability of students. Primary school teachers have commented on how the coding has helped students with many aspects of maths – i.e. decimals, and how it has also improved teamwork skills hugely as students have to work together to build and make the robot work. We’re delighted for all the students involved to get the chance to show off their hard work and showcase what can be done by our young people when they get the right opportunities and resources.”
The project is part of an initiative to promote IT in schools called the ‘School’s Excellence Fund’. A branch of the fund supports schools to work together on projects in accordance with the Government’s ambitious plans to promote the teaching and learning of STEM subjects. Deerpark CBS is leading the charge for the cluster of five Cork schools involved in the project, which is organised by two teachers, Ms. Ger Rea and Ms. Vicky O’Gorman. The other schools involved are Greenmount NS and Morning Star, and two primary schools in Douglas, Scoil Nioclais and St. Columba’s.
The project is entitled ‘BYTE – Bridging Your Transition in Education’, the aim of which is to use IT to help ease the transition from primary to secondary school. According to a recent ERSI study called ‘Growing Up in Ireland’, this transition can be very difficult and often affects future learning negatively. Mr. Wolfe of Deerpark CBS, commented:
“Through our project, primary school students are introduced to secondary school life at an early stage. We work with 4th class children from four local primary schools, using our own Transition Year students as teachers to work on a robotics project and teach their students about robotics and coding.
“This is year one of a three-year commitment and we will work with the primary schools again next year with a new group of students. We are hoping to launch a similar initiative with Togher Girls NS and Glasheen Girls NS – as we believe it is very important to get girls involved!”
Mr. O’Callaghan of it@cork concluded:
“It’s a great coincidence that both events are happening on the same day, and hugely positive to imagine where such grassroots investment in IT will lead in the future. Cork City is fast becoming known around the world for its tech talent, and who knows – some of these young people could well grow to become the developers and problem solvers of the future.”