Two years ago, Wales was leading the way in the Computing revolution in schools. Now it’s falling behind the rest of the UK. What happened?
2012 was an exciting year to be involved in schools education in the UK, with Wales being no exception. By 2013, the Welsh ICT Steering Group had reported to the Welsh Government with an ambitious set of proposals, at the heart of which was the bold assertion that:
“Computing should be integrated into the curriculum as the fourth science, served by a mandatory Programme of Study, and receive the same status as the other three sciences”
Now, in 2014, the situation appears to be one of chaotic stagnation. And, if that combination appears oxymoronic, just take a look …
A somewhat more down-to-earth post, this one; an overview of, and a case study in, the wonderful revolution in Computing and Computer Science currently taking place in British schools. Adapted from a paper presented at the 4th World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership and published in the Elsevier ‘Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences’ journal.
The past few years have been challenging ones for Computing education in the UK. After decades of national neglect, largely overlooked, from the county that invented Computer Science, there has been a sudden impetus to reintroduce computational problem-solving into the school curriculum. Immediate obstacles include a generation of children with no CS background and a need for tens of thousands of new or retrained teachers. The Computing At School (CAS) movement has been instrumental in this quantum transition from an IT to Computing syllabus, as have the British Computer Society (BCS), leading UK university CS departments and a number of major international technology companies. This piece looks at the background to this position and the progress being made to address these challenges. It describes, as an example of many, the work of the BCS-funded Glyndŵr University ‘Turing Project’ in introducing Welsh high-school students and staff to high-level programming and ‘computational thinking’. The Turing Project uses an innovative combination of Lego NXT Mindstorm robots, Raspberry Pi computers and PicoBoard hardware together with the Robot C and Scratch programming platforms. Continue reading