Teaching and learning

Senior cycle students are encouraged to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that will enable them to become independent learners and to develop a lifelong commitment to improving their learning. Leaving Certificate Computer Science supports the use of a wide range of teaching and learning approaches. During the course, students will develop learning strategies that are transferable across different tasks and different subjects, enabling them to make connections between computer science, other subjects, and everyday experiences. Through engaging in self-directed learning and reflection, students will plan, monitor, and evaluate their own learning and develop a positive sense of their own capacity to learn. By engaging in group work students will develop skills in reasoned argument : listening to each other, informing one another of what they are doing, and reflecting on their own work and that of others. They will develop skills in communication by collaborating to generate reports and present them to their peers. The strand 3 tasks will enable students to take an active role in their own learning by setting goals, developing action plans, and receiving and responding to assessment feedback.

Applied learning tasks

Learning in computer science needs, as far as is practical, to be applied to problem solving and design exercises. The strand 3 applied learning tasks that students undertake collaboratively during the two years of the course, provide significant engaging opportunities for students to work within the practices and principles of computer science and to apply the core concepts in authentic situations. The resourcefulness of the student will be paramount to the success of the tasks. Students will be expected to learn new concepts and skills according to the demands of the chosen tasks. The computational artefacts that students design should be personally relevant to them or their peers, to their community or to society in general. Examples of computational artefacts include programs, simulations, visualisations, games, digital animations, robotic systems, and apps. Over the course of the two years of computer science students will:

  1. Create an artefact or website that can display information from a database.
  2. Create an interdisciplinary artefact using some form of analytics.
  3. Develop a computer system that simulates or models a problem that is difficult to solve analytically.
  4. Implement an embedded system that uses sensors and controls digital inputs and outputs.

In each of the tasks, students work together to apply learning from strands 1 and 2, in addition to cumulative learning from the tasks, so that they will have the opportunity to achieve all of the learning outcomes to their full extent.

The learning outcomes from all strands are interwoven and to complete their strand 3 applied learning tasks students:

  • approach problems in a systematic way and use abstraction to identify tasks and select appropriate strategies to generate solutions
  • create visual representations or models, and decide which tools to use and which algorithms to use, adapt or create as they employ appropriate techniques to develop their solution
  • develop computer systems as they use programming, analysis and design skills combined with hardware knowledge to create network/Internet/cloud-based applications
  • evaluate and test their solutions to identify and remove errors from their programs and base their solutions upon integration, analysis and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative information and data.

As they progress through the practical exercises and applied learning tasks, students learn from their successes and their mistakes. They take this learning to the next task to effectively solve new problems in different situations.

Teachers will assess and provide feedback on student learning as part of ongoing teaching and learning in the classroom. The strand 3 tasks will not be assessed by the SEC. The learning achieved through practical exercises and the applied learning tasks will be assessed both by the coursework project assessment and by the end-of-course examination. Both teacher and student will be required to verify completion of the strand 3 applied learning tasks.