Category: secondary 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

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

 

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