Sharing thoughts and ideas about teaching computing in school
This week I ventured into some new territory as I led two training events in Birmingham for teachers new to Computer Science. My school has entered into an arrangement with Dragonfly Training for both Vikki Dodd and myself to deliver Computing training to teachers at venues in Birmingham and London.
This academic year, both Vikki and I are teaching a lighter timetable to enable us to support other schools to introduce and develop computing in their curriculum as well as developing events like Hack To The Future and Raspberry Jam. It is hoped that the revenue generated from these training events and consultancy work will provide our school with the means to sustain these activities into next academic year.
Six of the teachers attending Wednesday’s course were teaching in the Birmingham area and one teacher had travelled from South Wales. After establishing exactly what the participants were hoping to achieve from the day, I started with some hands-on activities that were aimed to quickly engage children into computing in an entertaining and imaginitive way. As a practising teacher, I am always keen to focus on the pedagogy first rather than the technology, so I demonstrated some strategies I use to make the learning experience exciting.
Few of the teachers attending were already registered as members of Computing At School, so we spent some time exploring the benefits and support available to teachers that the free membership provided, from resources and forum discussions to events and networking opportunities.
Throughout the rest of the day, we sampled some Year 7 games development with Scratch, some Year 8 text-based programming with Python as well as trying a GCSE Computing coursework programming assignment. I shared some of the insights and pitfalls I had encountered from introducing Computing into our school 5 years ago.
“A great day with lots of different ideas how to make computing more engaging and fun. Very valuable support with KS3 and KS4 curriculum” Ishtiaq
On Thursday’s course we also had six teachers from Birmingham as well as one from Wales. The aims these teachers identified were to be able to develop their confidence to teach programming with Python in an exciting and engaging way to their classes. Some had already started teaching GCSE Computing.
In the morning we started with a scheme of work suitable for Key Stage 3, using the Computing At School materials I wrote for developing an artificially intelligent maths quiz. I demonstrated some of the strategies I use to maintain high levels of engagement among all learners. In the afternoon we tackled some of the programming challenges set for GCSE Computing and considered how best to generate evidence to meet assessment criteria. I also shared some examples of GCSE Coursework projects from last year.
At the end of each of the courses, I stayed around afterwards to offer advice and support. I’m particularly proud of the feedback I received for each of the courses, scoring a 95% rating with the quality of the trainer, presentation of information and course content.
“Great course – really helpful in building my confidence in advance of teaching GCSE Computing next year. Working on a bit of the GCSE programming assignment really helpful to see the level of my skill required to teach” Jan
“A really enjoyable day. The course has helped me with ideas for extending teaching in computer science.” Amy
We are repeating the Dragonfly courses again throughout 2013/2014.
Dates for Spring/Summer will follow soon, the following dates are for the Autumn Term:
Preston 13 November | London 20 November
Preston 14 November | London 5 December
London 21 November | Preston 27 November | Birmingham 4 December
London 28 November | Birmingham 29 November
This link takes you to more details: http://www.dragonfly-training.co.uk/hotel-based-courses/courses-for-all/computer-science/1~1~6~1
As well as the Dragonfly courses, some schools and local authorities have already booked me to speak at an event or lead a workshop, like this example and this one. The schools who have already booked me to support or train with them have been able to do so in a way that means there is no cost to the school. If you have something in mind you would like to discuss, you can contact me via my About Me page or contact my admin colleagues at trainingATolchsDOTlancs.sch.uk
Preparing To Teach GCSE Computing Salford 21 Oct | Bury 25 Oct | Staffs 11 Dec
Teach Computer Science with Raspberry Pi Daresbury 23 Oct | Salford 12 Dec
Mozilla Festival London 26-27 Oct
Hack Jam Preston 3 Nov & 1 Dec
Raspberry Jam Preston 4 Nov & 2 Dec
DESC Tech Fest Dubai 5 – 9 Nov
Raspberry Jamboree 2014 Manchester 27 Feb to 2 Mar