The specification for this junior cycle short course in coding focuses on developing students’ problem-solving skills through three inter-connected strands: Computer science introduction, Let’s get connected and Coding at the next level.
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 them. This includes learning to write, test and evaluate code.
This strand deepens the student’s understanding of the computer as a communications tool through the storage and manipulation of data. Students also have the opportunity to identify, research, present and receive feedback on a topic or challenge in computer science that inspires them.
In this strand, students are introduced to more complex levels of coding where they can demonstrate their understanding through documentation, discussion and feedback.
This course is designed to be followed logically through strands 1–3. This enables students to build on the skills they have previously learned. Strand 1 is a basic, introductory strand and should be undertaken first. Schools may wish to approach the other two strands in the order they deem best for students.
Teamwork is encouraged throughout all three strands. Students collaborate, peer-explain, seek feedback, provide feedback and reflect on their work. Practical, hands-on and problem-solving learning activities should be in evidence across all strands of the course. Theoretical concepts can be reinforced through practical work and projects.
Free and open-source software should be used where practical, both to make software tools as widely available to students as possible and so that students have the opportunity to examine the source code of the tools they use.
In the context of their health and wellbeing, student safety in the use of computers is emphasised in the Statements of learning and should be a feature of the experience of students taking the course. There is a further NCCA short course available on digital media literacy which addresses internet safety concerns and responsible use in more detail. Students should also be made aware of the acceptable use policy of their own school.
The Classroom-Based Assessment outlined below reflects the learning students undertake in this NCCA short course. Schools have the flexibility to adapt any NCCA short course to suit their particular needs and school context. If adapting the course, schools may also need to adapt the Classroom-Based Assessment, so that it reflects the learning their students undertook. Schools may also develop their own short course(s) and related Classroom-Based Assessment. Guidelines for schools who wish to develop their own short course(s) are available.
The learning outcomes in this short course are aligned with the level indicators for Level 3 of the National Framework of Qualifications.
The course has been designed for approximately 100 hours of student engagement.