Getting kids excited about Computer Science in Northern Ireland

The following is a combined position paper and call-to-action for a project that many of us have been working on behind the scenes for a long time now, especially Andrew Mulholland who’s taken over the operation of the Raspberry Jam programme.

Andrew and I collaborated on this document to put forward our plans for a school outreach programme built on the experience we’ve gained from running the Jam programme in Belfast for the past two years, including a collaboration between Farset Labs, Digital Circle and W5 that brought teachers together from across the province to share best practice for ICT education, as well as receiving our ‘wisdom’ from running CoderDojo and Jam-like programmes. This programme was assessed DCAL and was very well received but due to personnel changes in some relevant organisations, has not been directly carried on as a full pilot programme.

We hope to change that, and thanks in part to Andrew’s recent successes at the TalkTalk Digital Hero awards, as well as working over the summer with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we’ve secured match funding up to £4,000 to support the proposed programme.

But we need your help to drum up the rest of our estimated £8,000 programme costs, and hopefully this document will help. Have a read at our thoughts, and Andrew and I are more than happy to answer any questions, concerns or ideas about the proposed programme.


We’re happy to announce that The CultureTech Festival have pledged £1,000 towards this programme, as well as inviting us to participate in three events in the North West.


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Outreach at Farset Labs

NdGT, tellin' it like it is.
NdGT, tellin’ it like it is.

This is going to sound old hat, but here at Farset, we’re all about cultivating an environment where the next generation of technologists can come into their own, but as the old saying goes, to teach is to learn twice.

That’s why we are always encouraging not only peer-teaching within the space and at Farset events, but also try and encourage our members to take part in STEM outreach to local schools.

As such, we’ve been internally working on a semi-regularly-updated wiki of the STEM events that need help in Northern Ireland, and hopefully, people will step up to the plate and give their time and energy to the next generation of technologists.

And before you say “That’s the teachers job”, just think back to your own teachers. Did they really know about the latest and greatest technologies going on?

I bet they didn’t (obviously replace those with temporally relevant technologies…).

As an aside, we’re trying to find someone to fund travel expenses for such outreach, because we definitely can’t! But if you’re free at any of the listed times, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or the listed contact points on the wiki and give back to the education system.