As an irish secondary school student of the 1980s. I was lucky enough to attend a school that had a room full of Apple IIe computers.We used these machines to learn Apple basic which allowed us to plot graphs etc,
There were also numerous math and educational software, but the basic programming language captured my attention.
I remember at the end of 1st year proudly demonstrating to my class mates a map of Ireland that a number of us had painstakingly plotted on the Apple IIe. This simple computer with its basic/maths/science software inspired a generation of 1980s recession kids to learn programming and pursue it at third level.
What followed in its foot steps was a retrograde step whose repercussions are still being felt in irish education. The PC and Microsoft windows changed the computing landscape in secondary schools, suddenly we went from teaching computer science to teaching computer literacy i.e. word processing etc.
Irish secondary schools have been reluctant ever since to move away from this model and it has only in recent years with the introduction of ICT coordinators are we seeing a move back to teaching “computational thinking”
So the dept education needs to go back to the 1980s and rediscover computer science and computational thinking, this means placing ICT and computational thinking on the junior and senior cycle.
The equipment is in place but the subject is still waiting in the wings.