Category: Main news

Running an Esports Club – British Esports Association

Esports (or electronic sports) is a term used to describe competitive video gaming. With 81% of children playing video games online nowadays, games are arguably a larger part of their lives than ever before.

The British Esports Association (BEA) is a not-for-profit national body established in 2016 to promote esports in the UK, increase its level of awareness, improve standards and inspire future talent. As a national body, their aims are to support esports and provide expertise and advice.

They help to educate parents, teachers, media, policy makers and government around what esports is and what its benefits are. BEA aim to:

 

  • Promote esports in the UK and increase its level of awareness
  • Improve the standard of UK esports
  • Inspire future talent

There has been lots of work with colleges in Scotland so far but the BEA are keen to support more schools setup, deliver and develop esports clubs for children and young people. Running an esports club is about more than playing games, there is the setup of equipment, recruitment of friends and peers, and all the digital literacy required to produce videos of their games. In fact, capturing gameplay can become a whole production with sounds, graphics and video editing going on to showcase their gaming skills.

 

Find out more about esports and the British Esports Association with these links:
British Esports Student Champs
Student Champs Resources
Esports in Education Conference
Glasgow Clyde Case Study
British Esports Champs 2021 Aftermovie
Forth Valley College Division 2 Rocket League Interview
Scottish College Cup
Diversity and Inclusion of Esports

micro:bit Educational Research

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation are looking for primary school (second level) teachers from Scotland to take part in a piece of research about their experiences in primary education and the teaching of digital skills.

Teachers who take part will be entered in to a prize draw with multiple prizes of £50 and £100 and a top prize of £500 to be won!

 

The research will help inform a programme of activity, delivered by the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, to support UK primary school teachers teaching digital skills, including free CLPL and classroom resources. Your input in to the research is crucial to ensure the programme gives teachers across Scotland the support they really need.

We are looking to recruit teachers who are willing to take part in a short (10 min) online survey in late September/early Oct 2021 and then again in December 2022 (estimated date) and June 2023 (estimated date).

 

It’s important that we hear from teachers across the UK and so your contribution to the research will be extremely valued.  We want the views of teachers across UK, so make sure Scotland is represented.

Sign up here: https://form.jotform.com/212093636436052

Computing Science and Digital Learning and Teaching Calendar 2021

We’ve created this calendar of events to support termly planning for learning and training. We’ll update it as required and we’ll also add extra events to this page too.

  • Back to School CRIS insets – wb 09 August
  • Scottish Learning Festival – 21-23 September
  • Maths Week Scotland – wb 27 September
  • EU Code Week – 09-24 October
  • European Cybersecurity Month – October 
  • Ada Lovelace Day – 12 October
  • Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge – 08-19 November
  • Book Week Scotland – wb 15 November
  • Computing Science Education Week – wb 06 December

 

EUROPE CODE WEEK 9-24 OCTOBER 2021

EU Code Week is 9-24th October 2021 and is a grassroots initiative which aims to bring coding and digital literacy to everybody in a fun and engaging way. The EU Code Week site is full of advice and resources to help you plan your coding lessons but so is our Resources page. If you’re not sure where to start then have a look at our Professional Reading page for information to help you understand computing and coding concepts.

 

Coding Activities

Coding Pedagogy

Coding Posts from our Community

Bridging the Digital Gender Divide – OECD

This post is based on a report published in 2018 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The report aims to further strengthen the evidence base in support of the equitable participation of women in the digital economy. As the OECD report runs to more than 150 pages, I have written this post to share what I believe are the key messages, most relevant to educators in Scotland, and some of the guidance we are putting, or can put, in place to improve gender balance in computing and digital skills. 

 

We are all well aware of the increasing gender wage gap, which is especially so in digital careers, and if we don’t engage girls, they’ll be further behind in terms of earnings and career progression. In terms of digital literacy, the report suggests that the ‘generalist wins out over the specialist’ – this is useful to consider when we plan our learning and teaching: do we need children and young people who are very good at one area or skill, let’s say coding, or would be preparing them better for the world of work by allowing them to experience data, security, web development and other areas all set in cross-curricular meaningful contexts? 

 

Regarding gender balance in Computing Science, the report recognises that ‘girls perform better in collaborative tasks yet we celebrate completion/accuracy of tasks (think exams!) which don’t reward or mention the collaborative process’ – this made me reflect on my own practice, and while I would recognise good teamwork or effort that would probably be second to task accuracy or completion. So, do we need to upskill ourselves in supporting and developing collaborative learning – how to recognise when this is effective and how to feedback effectively on it – so that we can design learning and environments that foster, promote and celebrate collaboration? 

 

It might seem like common sense to promote girls-only or girl-centred lessons, classes and clubs to engage more girls – and yet the research does not support this! The OECD points to the need for ‘girls and boys working together breaks down barriers and biases’ and ‘awareness raising of digital as a cultural norm for girls and women’, while ‘showcasing female leadership in digital’. So, next time you think of setting up girls-only clubs, is it worth thinking how you can ensure mixed-gender activities that promote the skills, abilities and characters of girls alongside those of boys? 

 

In addition to the potential ‘barrier’ of gender to accessing computing and digital skills, how many of use consider the possibility of cultural and language barriers? Are our computing lessons relatable and meaningful to learners who speak English as an additional language? Does it fit their cultural capital – or that of their family? The ‘most exciting’ computing lesson (if such a thing existed) might be that for just one group while being less accessible to others. So, how do we ensure our lessons and activities excite and engage more learners, and not just more girls. 

 

The DigiLearn team have been working with our Improving Gender Balance colleagues to ensure we implement as much of this in our support as possible. We are proud to say that we will ensure that our support for educators will: 

  • support engagement in extracurricular activities 
  • bear in mind gender-related considerations for teaching – this will be built-in to our webinars and web content 
  • raise awareness of women who lead in computing and digital skills – in and out of education 
  • support applications for funding that can be accessed to support or enhance female participation 

 

Read the paper

DIGITAL FUTURES PROGRAMME – MICROSOFT

Microsoft have created the Digital Future Programme to help young people explore the digital future aims to prepare young people for the technology-driven world of tomorrow, demonstrate how diversity helps build better technology, and how it can be used as a force for positive change. The programme brings together the best resources from Microsoft and our industry-leading partners, and covers these exciting topics:

  • Discover the tech industry
  • Coding
  • AI
  • IoT
  • Big Data

 

Digital Future takes a creative approach to digital skills education with classroom activities, challenges and more. Once completed, students get a certificate to celebrate their success!

 

Digital Future Programme – Microsoft UK