Loreto College in Northern Ireland recently hosted a Java programming course for teachers, facilitated by Computing At School (CAS), the representative body for teachers of computing in the United Kingdom. The course is a response to a growing demand from pupils and the information technology industry for more programming to be taught in schools. Software development accounts for a quarter of job vacancies in Northern Ireland.
The course focuses on moving from a traditional Microsoft Office model of ICT toward the more challenging problem-solving techniques that computer science develops. The interactive course used Greenfoot, a program for teaching Java through games development. Teachers were introduced to Java during the day and were soon writing Java code to power a game via Greenfoot’s friendly interface.
The skills learned using Greenfoot are transferable to many programming scenarios, including entertainment devices, mobile phone applications, and the various concealed computers that underlie everyday life, such as the telecoms infrastructure. Student motivation has noticeably increased since Greenfoot's introduction in the college, according to CAS local chairman Clarke Rice.
From Coleraine Times
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