2014 has certainly been an event-full (pun) year for me in many respects from the highs of winning awards and funding grants to the lows of losing cherished colleagues and friends in tragic circumstances. This November, we launched our Jam Packed UK tour with the aim of developing outstanding teachers of computing through a programme of Computing community events. The project is backed with funding from the DfE, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and RM Education, but we’re still open to offers from other organisations that would like to support our important work.
I’m delighted to share the news with you that Jam Packed has successfully delivered the first batch of 6 events for teachers as proposed in our application with a further 48 to go. In addition to these events, the online webinars have proven to be particularly successful. In our funding proposal we aimed to attract up to 300 teachers to take part in the first 6 webinars, in actual fact we’ve so far attracted 785 participating teachers and I’ve had to increase the availability of places to meet demand.
The feedback from these webinars has been highly complimentary. Computing teachers have told us that they have used the resources we shared to great effect and have gone on to develop these resources for their own use. Teachers have been encouraging other teachers to participate in the events – the best kind of publicity.
Teachers’ comments from the events include:
“Enjoyed seeing the actual teaching and the interaction with the pupils, their feedback and enjoyment”, “Really useful seeing activities being taught in a real life situation”, “Appreciated opportunities to gain insight to practical applications of Computing” “Jam Packed is essential for any teacher /parent or child with an interest. I hope they extend beyond 18 months and DO come back to Hull!”, “I gained more from this morning’s event than I did from the two days of over-priced CPD I went on”
Teachers’ comments from the #TeachComputing webinars:
“Ran your Scratch ‘race game’ lesson with a group of Year 8s who had not gone on a Year group trip. Comments such as ‘best lesson this year’ and all were really engaged. Also showed up some students that were stepping ahead in terms of experimenting.” “I just wanted to say that I have used the coin_flip activity you presented at the last session and it was very successful. My Y10 GCSE computing class really enjoyed it. Also it was an excellent task to provide opportunities for differentiation. Thank you Deirdre”, “Well presented with a fair pace and willing to acknowledge the questions” “The part on LMC was brilliant for me and very challenging – I’m a French and English teacher who converted to ICT 6 years ago, so Computing is totally foreign territory to me and seeing these complex subjects demonstrated is invaluable. More, please!!”
While it has been a real challenge trying to stimulate local interest among teachers in unfamiliar locations which are not known for high levels of participation in Computing, we have managed to attract at least 10 teachers to each of the 6 events we have held so far, meaning we have exceeded our projected targets of 40 teachers so far.
We have plans to write up summaries of these events to help share the impact of our activities and enable other teacher and schools to emulate these activities. We’ve had a fabulous Jam Packed website designed for us to host blog posts, news of events and resources but running an intensive programme of events on top of a teaching timetable has stretched us quite a bit and so, the website content and documentation will follow after the Christmas break.
If you would like to join us at one of our future events (which are completely free to attend) in Darlington, Stourbridge, Manchester, Leeds, Mansfield, Lincolnshire, Durham our Jam Packed events page contains details of the events currently available. Some schools have organised school trips to the Friday night/Saturday events to help develop interest in the Computing curriculum.
The #TeachComputing webinar programme will continue throughout 2015. If you would like access to any of our previous webinar recordings, you just need to sign up for one of our webinars (completely free) to receive more details.