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Eoghan uses CS First to increase access to Computer Science education in Irish schools

Eoghan uses CS First to increase access to Computer Science education in Irish schools

Eoghan Keegan is an Irish Schools and Community Programme Manager at education charity Camara, which works to increase access to Computer Science (CS) education and help young people build their digital and coding skills. Since 2017, they have collaborated with Google to train teachers across Ireland in how to use resources like CS First.

? What are some of the key barriers to teaching CS?

Many teachers are unsure about where to start, as they don’t have the expertise or background, as such, there is a barrier to entry. There are also a lot of different platforms and languages for coding, so it’s hard to find one place with reliable and relatable content.

? How does CS First help?

CS First tackles these challenges head on. It creates an easy point of entry by offering structured lessons, broken down into themes that relate to students’ interests, and engaging resources, including a lot of video content. It also provides one platform through which all content can be accessed, meaning teachers do not need to be expert coders to bring CS into the classroom.

It is about making sure there is a level playing field. While not all students excel at coding, they should all be given opportunities to learn it.

? How does your CS First training programme work?

With Google’s support, we’ve developed sessions that equip teachers with the skills to teach computer science in the classroom. We use a train-the-trainer approach where we go out to education centres across Ireland to train teachers, and they then go on to train other teachers in their local areas.

? What has been the impact?

From a small pool of trainers, we’ve reached hundreds of teachers and students. The fact it’s free is a big thing for schools – it means more teachers get the opportunity to try something new. It shows teachers that there is an accessible way to introduce CS to their students. Essentially, it is about giving everyone the opportunity to explore CS and take it on.

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