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This paper initially describes the introduction of a new computer science subject for the Irish leaving certificate course. This is comparable to US high school exit exams (AP computer science principals) or the UK A level computer science. In doing so the authors wish to raise international awareness of the new subject’s structure and content. Second, this paper presents the current work of the authors, consisting of early initiatives to try and give the new subject the highest chances of success. The initiatives consist of two facets: The first is the delivery of two-hour computing camps at second level schools (to address stereotypes and provide insight on what computer science really is), which was delivered to 2,943 students, in 95 schools between September 2017 and June 2018. Second, the authors followed this with teacher continual professional development (CPD) sessions, totalling 22, to just over 500 teachers. Early findings are presented, showing potentially concerning trends for gender diversity and CPD development. A call is then raised, to the international computer science education community for wisdom and suggestions that the community may have developed from prior experience. This is to obtain feedback and recommendations for the new subject and the authors’ current initiatives, to address early concerns and help develop the initiatives further.
Keith Quille, Roisin Faherty, Susan Bergin, and Brett A. Becker. 2018. Second Level Computer Science: The Irish K-12 Journey Begins. In Proceedings of the 18th Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research (Koli Calling '18). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 22, 1–5. DOI: 10.1145/3279720.3279742