February 12, Dublin, Ireland: A group of civic innovators are joining forces to write Ireland’s first textbook on programming and coding. Their efforts will help schools around the world introduce computer science to into the school day. The textbook will be free online and available for download in several e-book formats.
Community groups, hosted by Facebook, will be involved in the all-day sprint on 22 February, to create the first release. Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland, Code for All Ireland, Open Data Science group, Code for Dublin, and several school teachers will lend their expertise. These individuals — who are government officials, elected politicians, entrepreneurs and civic activists — are using technology to contribute to making Ireland’s schools more transparent and accountable. Using local technical experts who volunteer their time to bring technology into the classroom with the aim to expand opportunities for all children.
The Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) has pioneered this new technique for rapidly developing learning resources. The OKF recently released the Open Education Handbook, without license, in the public domain. The OKF believes that through community collaboration, we can all help spread educational materials to everyone, globally, not just to those who can afford it. A large proportion of schools are publically funded, so it seems only reasonable that tools used by the schools be released into the public domain.
OKF Ireland welcomes the progressive reforms announced by Mr. Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills. Particularly, the optional Junior Cycle courses in computer programming and digital literacy, and hopes that the freely available textbook on Programming and Coding becomes a resource for continuous professional development. Both the technology community and school teachers are welcoming these new courses and looks forward in supporting our schools.