How Josie The Jersey Is Helping Kids To Code


At Ireland’s inaugural Computer Science Week National Conference in Athlone, an unusual new relationship between education, cows, and computer coding will be launched. Kilkenny Live reports that the Coding with Cows program has been designed and developed to introduce school children to the joys of coding.

Primary school pupils will be able to use the interactive software to monitor data on cattle on Irish farms. They will have the chance to learn and develop their own coding skills, and they will see how technology is directly applied to real-world industries such as farming. They may even be inspired to attend some coding camps for kids!

You might have assumed that the worlds of farmyards and computer scientists were still some distance apart, but in fact tech is revolutionising the agriculture sector. For example, the health and daily activity of cows can be monitored by collecting data from neck-collars, which helps farmers plan for reproduction, milking, vet’s visits, on so on.

The developers of the program are PHD and post-doctoral researchers at the VistaMilk SFI Research Centre. They explained that it was designed to be a fun and engaging way to let children discover how coding applies to the real world, and is not just an abstract classroom discipline.

Lucile Riaboff, VistaMilk Postdoctoral Researcher, UCD who imagined and led Coding with Cows explained: “This educational program was designed to inform the next generation of computer scientists about the impact and importance that coding has in our daily lives.”

She added: “We thus thought it would be great fun for children to simulate the process used in our research to follow a day in the life of characters like Gus the Aberdeen Angus, Hefin the Hereford, Hallie the Holstein Friesian or Josie the Jersey cow using a coding software specially designed for a young audience. “

The Computer Science Week Conference will be attended by students, teachers, and representatives from the Professional Development Service for Teachers and the Department of Education from across Ireland.