Week One - Taste of Computer Science at the Digital Hub

We’re off the starting line!

The first week or so of any term is always a little fraught, as all the carefully selected and honed pieces finally drop into place. This summer is no different, and it’s more than a little bit of a relief to finally get the ship away from the pier and out into open water. This week the Digital Hub, then on to Ballsbridge next week, Stillorgan and Raheny the week after, and on and on until we hit our next harbour in August.

In the meantime, what a great first week of term. We had our first in-class soldering session (and managed not to trouble the first aid kit in the process). A very simple newspaper-and-tape engineering ice-breaker proved a huge hit (albeit that Rob’s plans to test the bridges’ strength with t-shirts had to go back to the drawing board when the full pile of t-shirts failed to bring the first bridge to failure). And we had a wonderful career session on the last day with a number of guests from around the Digital Hub, including the Hub’s CEO Fiach MacConghail - a huge thanks to all of them for taking part and entertaining us with tales of collapsing banks’ IT systems and much more besides!

On top of all that we also had our first “virtual” summer camp this week, welcoming two students by video call to the group. Obviously the course wasn’t the very same for them (hard to solder via webcam!) but all students, in-person and virtual, completed coding assignments together, and the virtual students completed additional coding projects when the rest of the group were working on physical assignments.

This follows on from a pilot we ran during the Spring term, and we’re extremely excited about the potential for this model to bring coding to students who physically can’t attend classes with us over the coming terms.

While the internet and online learning resources have opened up coding and other skills to people who may not be able to attend classes for whatever reason, the lack of accountability, community and personal engagement are huge barriers to students trying to learn by themselves. Our approach, where we recreate our small-group classroom experience by video chat, offers many of the benefits of both approaches, and we expect to move forward with this experiment over the coming terms.

And speaking of the coming terms, we have a great Autumn coming together at the moment (I know, I know - barely starting summer and already on to the next thing!)

Expect to see registration forms for evening and weekend courses online soon, along with the 2019/2020 course calendar, first of the after-school Tech Clubs, and plenty else as well. Onwards and upwards, and in the meantime Happy Coding!