Secondary School Girls Showcase Computer Coding Skills

Posted on: 11 May 2015

Ninety secondary school girls showcased the computer coding skills they have recently learned to solve real-world problems, create computer games and develop apps before they graduated from the CodePlus Programme at a special event at Trinity College Dublin.

The Bridge21 CodePlus Programme is a new pilot initiative supported by ICS Skills, which aims to interest post-primary girls in computer programming and boost the number of women engaging with the field of computer science.

CodePlus hopes to help secondary school girls develop an insight into the role computers play in society and to learn some of the key skills in computing, such as programming. Since January 2015, the programme has been running coding clubs, based upon the Bridge21 model for collaborative learning, in three girls’ secondary schools in the Dublin area (Coláiste Bríd, Mercy Secondary School Inchicore and Mount Anville).

The main purpose of the CodePlus Programme is to break down at least some of the barriers that tend to prevent girls from contemplating a career in computing. Exposure to computer science, in home or school environments, and encouragement from family and peers are leading factors that influence girls’ decisions to pursue careers in computer science.

Graduates learned about ‘Computers in Society’, ‘Computational Thinking’ and ‘Computer Programming’. Working in teams, the girls solved problems, developed ideas for technical solutions to real-world problems, and created animations and computer games. Some even took their first steps into web design and app development. These are areas they will get to explore as the project continues in September.

This initiative is run with support from ICS Skills and complements the Computing Curriculum courses delivered by ECDL Ireland and ICS Skills in that there is a strong emphasis on computational thinking and digital media production.

The full range of activities in the coding project also aligns with the NCCA Junior Cycle short courses on Digital Media Literacy and Programming.

The project integrates elements from the wide range of Bridge21 workshops run with both students and teachers such as: Digital Media, Future Tech, Contextualised Mathematics, Computational Thinking, Animation, Game Design, Computer Systems and Python.

Associate Professor in Computer Science and Academic Director of Bridge21 at Trinity, Dr Brendan Tangney, said: “The world we live in needs creative people to play a variety of roles in the IT sector and in the ever increasing areas of life which utilise IT. The world of IT is a poorer place from not having more women involved at the cutting edge. The innovative partnership between Bridge21 and ICS Skills is making an important contribution in helping to address this issue.”

Deputy CEO, ICS Skills, Mary Cleary, added: “Programmes like CodePlus open students’ eyes to the wide range of disciplines that fall within ICT so they can make informed choices about further study and careers in Computing. This is particularly important for young girls who often overlook the creative aspect of many ICT-based professions.   Bridge 21’s problem solving and team based approach also provides these young girls with a real-world and valuable learning experience.”

Certificates were presented to students by Professor Jane Grimson, who has recently retired from Trinity following a remarkable 34-year career as an academic in the School of Computer Science and Statistics. During this time she served as Dean of Engineering, Pro-Dean of Research, and Vice-Provost of the University. As the first female Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Systems Sciences, the first female Vice-Provost (2000-04), and the first female President of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland (1999/2000), Jane paved the way for future aspirants.

Jane has been a strong champion of women generally, but in particular a committed advocate for the advancement of women in engineering, science and technology. In 2006, she was instrumental in the establishment of Trinity’s Centre for Women in Science and Engineering Research (WiSER) which works to recruit, retain and advance female academics and researchers.

To find out more about Bridge21 and the CodePlus Programme visit:

Media Coverage:

Silicon Republic, May 8

Tech Central, May 8


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Thomas Deane, Media Relations Officer | | +353 1 896 4685