May 12 2020
Launch of gr8computing ideas… May 2020-
We really do live in extraordinary times for computing education and opportunities. There are so many computing ideas bouncing around the ether at the moment, all vying for our attention…
Don’t get me wrong… I am in awe of the explosion in CPD opportunities during these seven weeks of lock-down and how much effort colleagues have invested. Since the Raspberry Foundation team introduced me to the concept of CPD via Google Meet at the Cambridge Computing Education Research Symposium, there has been an explosion of Meets and Zooms. Depending on your circumstances, it can be a really exciting time to find and use Computing resources and CPD, especially now the National Centre for Computing Education are releasing very good quality resources for every Key Stage which will enable us to modify and share as much as we want with no worries about copyright. It is also a fleeting opportunity, as we know that all of us will have a huge task ahead of us once schools open again in some shape or form for students and teaching staff to return.
However, this expansion can be detrimental to our well-being, especially at the moment. It can be difficult to find the specific resource you require, even if you know what it is, and it is then difficult to then keep track of everything. How many times have you searched back through your histories to try to find the resource that you now need and didn’t make a note of… It can also be a bit overwhelming (especially now you can see all these resources in one place). Those of you who know my Twitter name – @gr8ict – may remember in the dim and distant past when I used to curate a website of many ICT resources:
So how do we make sense of this situation we find ourselves in, make it beneficial for our students, and not something we look back on as an opportunity lost? I’ve been thinking for the last month about what I could do to help. I had offered on the Gr8 Computing Ideas FBG to organise some Zoom meetings. However, that market seems (more than) saturated now. I have decided that now is the time to re-create gr8ict for the computing age, linked to my interest in research. As before, it helps me to have a resource bank to refer to in addition to the school VLE, especially as I focus more on research and pedagogy. FB groups are good for urgent requests and support, but not for archiving… although I wish more people could learn to search a group to see if their question is really ‘new’! Keeping a shared index should save us time too! In this connected age, I would like to share the resources, curate a list of answers, but more importantly encourage colleagues to integrate the ideas into their own and their department’s practice.
All pages and links etc made by me. Please contact me @gr8ict or #gr8computingideas if there are errors which I will correct or if you would like me to add links. I reserve the right to choose to add links or not, in an effort to keep links manageable for busy teachers.
Dec 16 2020
Making Computer Science career pathways explicit at KS3 – and boosting
This is a Year 9 curriculum with a unique introductory careers unit “wrapping” around units from the NCCE and PGOnline. I am doing several talks in 2020 with Abbie Smy (Stem Ambassador Engagement Officer) and sharing the resources with colleagues – see here for details.
Has anyone thought yet about Year 9 options evening this year? I do – frequently – as I know that it is the key event of the year when I can influence the views of students and parents about options at KS4. During the last few years I used to think we had it covered with a presentation and a video for all classes in the week before Options Evening in March. Then talks on the evening with research data from the current year 11, and everything would be sorted. And it worked OK, with a decent take up each year for Computer Science in Year 10.
And a few years ago I was asked to curate a set of Computing Careers resources for the National Stem Centre – and nearly a hundred curated links are now available here. Seeing the range and calibre of resources out “there” got me thinking that a computing department should be explicit about the potential career pathways available, and the strategic approach should be to make these explicit throughout Year 9, and probably even earlier.
A recent post from *Dave Gibbs “Why waste years? Let’s inspire careers!” makes the point that “Computing for 11-14 year olds is important in its own right” but also that it is needed “to support recruitment to 14-16 qualifications for all learners…”.
The introductory unit highlights that the majority of emerging jobs in the next 5 years are to do with computing. It then goes through seven of the featured career pathways, with interesting video clips and activities, with students then researching and creating posters of the ones they find most interesting. We then give feedback on the posters and put them on the wall.
In addition, we also have access to first rate KS3 resources from the NCCE and the RPF. Here is our outline KS3 scheme of learning.
So, as a department, I have set out this year (2021-22) to embed careers into Year 9, starting with introductory lessons to make explicit the following career pathways:
We then pick out various units through the year to exemplify the knowledge, skills and understanding involved with each.
9_1 Computing Careers.
9_2 Software Engineer NCCE Y9 Python Half a term seeing prowess with Python s(et up on trinket.io) or code.org.
9_3 Artificial Intelligence x6 leading up to options eve for inspiration. Mixture of PGOnline Unit then 3 lessons buggies (include sensors)
9_4 Data Scientist (x5? L1 used in intro – adjust depending on )
9_5 Cybersecurity – Networks x2 Hardware / then Cybersecurity (inc L5 Risks, Defence applied to school network)
9_6 Games developer x6 NCC Mobile App Development
** 27/9/20 – I have just added a two lesson Y8 version with a list of extension videos:
***29/6/21 Further development for teaching 21-22.
*“Why waste years? Let’s inspire careers!” Dave Gibbs 21 September 2020
By Chris Sharples • Careers, Posts, Teaching •