‘Man Stuff’! Preconceived ideas of what men do and women generally don’t. Unfortunately, coding has found its way onto the list too… I’m going to start with the white elephant here. I’m a bloke. I like man stuff. I have a man drawer full of cluttered rubbish which may one day come in handy. My wife’s drawers however are borderline OCD. When I was younger I played rugby and went mountain biking which was all about taking risks and getting covered in dirt.
Code Club, a not-for-profit organisation and part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has launched its teacher-volunteer recruitment campaign. This initiative aims to increase the number of teachers involved with leading after school Code Clubs in Primary schools across the UK, and will be will be held across both social channels and a comprehensive email marketing campaign.
I have recently implemented a Digital Leader programme within the Primary School where I work, requiring children to complete a written application, attend interviews and complete practical challenges. I’ve tried to encourage those children who need support with social skills or behavioural issues to apply and get involved. One thing that I have long since noticed is that many of the children who gravitate to the often more solitary activities, such as Computing, are those that need this support.
To make the most of today’s Ada Lovelace Day celebrations - which recognise 19th century mathematician and writer Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace - Code Club have created some fun and engaging resources for schools to use. For many, 13th October is an annual celebration of the achievements of women in Science, technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
Women are still highly underrepresented in STEM subjects and technology. The 2015 statistics published by the Joint Qualifications Council have shown that girls account for just 16 per cent of those sitting the computer science GCSE, but they were also shown to perform very well, with 72 per cent of them attaining grades A* - C. Encouraging more girls into computing and technology is not just a numbers game; there is clearly a huge pool of talent and enthusiasm to be discovered from all pupils.
Following a successful pilot in over 40 schools during 2014/2015, Apps for Good’s Mini Course is now open to all schools across the UK for 2015/2016. The edtech movement, working to transform the way technology is taught in schools, has developed a free, flexible course framework during which students find a problem they want to solve and apply new skills to making a real life app. This allows them to explore the full product development cycle, from concept to coding to launch in a way that brings the classroom to life.
Children love programming. A simple statement, but one that my experience as a Primary school teacher and a Computing subject leader has provided me with a glut of evidence to support. Visual programming applications are commonplace in the vast majority of Primary schools, but what about those pupils who are eager to take the step and cross the divide into the world of text based coding. This can be a huge step and, due to the pedantic syntax requirements of text-based code, can risk disengaging pupils. However, by using a Raspberry Pi and Minecraft, we can offer them an engaging introduction to text programming.
The computing curriculum has been in place in schools across the UK for the best part of a year; enough time for both teachers and students to have adjusted to this new and challenging subject; in theory, at least. In reality however there is a huge discrepancy between the graphical ‘concept’ environments like Scratch, and the more complex text-based languages such as Python, both of which are used to teach students computing.