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Computers are mathematical devices, it’s as simple as that. The first computers were built by mathematicians (and still are, although they are now called computing scientists). The first ‘computer’ was designed by Charles Babbage to perform complex calculations. They have developed unimaginably since then, but computers still work on mathematical and logical principles. So, to understand computers and computing requires numeracy and maths.  

Understanding how computers use the information we give them helps us understand how to use computers to solve problems. This is called computational thinking and is an important skillset to learn in computing. In Scotland we promote the Barefoot computational thinking skills: 

  • Predicting and analysing 
  • Making judgements 
  • Making steps and rules 
  • Spotting and using similarities 
  • Breaking down into parts 
  • Removing unnecessary details 

Barefoot Computing Information and Posters | STEM

Computational thinking is a problem-solving strategy that can be effective in the numeracy and mathematics classroom. These are some resources that can be engaging ang challenging when developing problem solving or computational thinking skills: 


Barefoot provides a wide selection of activities to develop computational thinking in your setting, as well as posters and information to support your own understanding. These are some of the Barefoot Maths activities. You will need to signup (for free) to access:


Bebras runs an annual challenge to test across the UK, with over 200 Scottish schools registered. You can test yourself with last year’s Bebras Challenge or register (for free) and test yourself on challenges all the way back to 2013. Bebras offers challenges for a range of age groups:

CS Unplugged 

CS Unplugged offers a range of units to develop computational thinking and problem solving. Some of these range from magic tricks to understanding the binary number system:

Let us know how you get on with any of these resources on twitter @DigiLearnScot or  SHARE YOUR STORY

It might also be worth considering the PRIMM (predict, run, investigate, modify, make) approach to solving problems, and coding, alongside computational thinking skills.  

Cyber Security

This page contains all the ideas, information and resources specific to Cyber Security in Scotland.

Cyber Resilience and Internet Safety (CRIS)

Our site contains all the ideas, information and resources for supporting Cyber Resilience and Internet Safety, as this sits within the Digital Literacy Experiences and Outcomes.

Go to the CRIS site

Cyber Security Opportunities and Community Posts


CPD Award Introduction to Cyber Security commencing September 2021 Due to the very successful initial delivery of our CPD award for teachers Introduction to Cyber Security we… Read more

uhi cyber course reflections

“Courses like this are vital to give teachers the skills and confidence to deliver Cyber Security to their pupils.” by Darren Brown, Computing Science Teacher… Read more

ethical hacking clpl at abertay

Education Scotland recently awarded funding to Abertay University to develop an online module that will support secondary school computing teachers to deliver the ethical hacking… Read more


This module is aimed at qualified primary and secondary teachers who wish to develop the knowledge, understanding and problem-solving skills related to teaching basic cyber… Read more

The Cyber Skills Live site offers interactive ethical hacking challenges for learners to test their cyber security skills. Keep an eye on their site for… Read more


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 – 10 November
  • Book Week Scotland – wb 15 November
  • Computing Science Education Week – wb 06 December




CPD Award Introduction to Cyber Security commencing September 2021

Due to the very successful initial delivery of our CPD award for teachers Introduction to Cyber Security we have a limited number of funded places available for our September delivery. The Degree Module: Introduction to Cyber Security will be delivered remotely from Inverness College UHI.

Read a practitioner’s reflections on the course

This module will develop knowledge, understanding and problem-solving skills related to teaching cybersecurity and configuring an environment suitable for cybersecurity education. It will develop a deeper understanding of cybersecurity and cyber resilience and the relationship between these two areas of security. The module will cover the following areas:

•          Virtual Environments

•          Client operating systems

•          Vulnerable operating systems

•          Ethical Hacking Operating Systems & Tools

•          Virtual Networks

•          Virtual Environment security

•          Cyber Resilience Models and key activities (Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, Recover)


Entry requirements: Qualified primary or secondary school teacher, you must be employed full-time or part-time within an educational setting.

Start Date: September 2021

Duration: one 14-week semester

Mode of delivery: Online through our virtual learning environment, recorded lectures, online discussion boards and structured reading lists. This allows you to access course materials and take part in online discussion at a time to suit your individual circumstances.

Assessment: The module will be assessed by an individual task, practical activities, and a research report.

Cost: Initial cohort of students sponsored by Education Scotland and Scottish Government.

Next steps:

  • CPD award in Computing Studies for Teachers
  • Professional Development for Teachers – Additional Teaching Qualification in Computing Studies


Contact: Programme leader – Gordon Macpherson:


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.

We’ll add activities, resources and webinars/workshops to this page as we plan them!




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


Computing at School (CAS) (@CompAtSch) have launched their CAS Virtual Showcase #CASVirtual21, an exciting events programme celebrating the latest innovations in computing education, will return next week. The Virtual Showcase brings together teachers and experts from the CAS community, guest speakers, and industry leaders to offer around 25 free online events and webinars.

A full schedule of upcoming events is available on the CAS website.


Sign up now




Laura Di Pasquale (@LauraKeeney01) was previously acting principal teacher at Carmyle Primary School and Nursery Class in Glasgow City.

She has been delivering learning to staff to increase their confidence in delivering the learning to pupils:

“I have taken part in several computing science CPD sessions over the past two years and am now leading the Glasgow City (GCC) webinars for Swift Playgrounds on iPad. In the beginning, staff did not have a lot of confidence in teaching computing science, so I developed some further training to improve this.

I had already introduced the GCC trackers for Digital Literacy and Computing Science but staff were still developing their confidence with this too. So, I developed and delivered online training with staff in my school on computing science, coding and its place in the curriculum. I then created a staff pack of three coding lessons for each year group P1-P7 for staff to use. Finally, I team-taught a lesson remotely (I was shielding at home whilst the rest of the school returned) with each class to build that teacher’s confidence.

Throughout this work I have been able to demonstrate how accessible coding can be, and how each teacher already has most of the skills required to teach a coding lesson in the classroom. Colleagues took my ready made lesson for their own class and taught this – feedback was excellent! Staff are now much more aware of how computing science can be taught offline and are now more engaged in developing computing science in the classroom; some have actively sought out further CPD (such as digilearn) to enhance their skills and knowledge.”

“The best part of all of this work has been the educational impact on the children! They were really engaged and could make the links between skills being taught in the classroom and those linked to the wider world. The learners were engaged in the tasks and really enjoyed follow-up tasks that used online activities such Scratch or Swift Playgrounds. Children were assessed using a lot of questions and watching how they engaged with the task and how well they could remember and use new technical vocabulary, such as commands and sequence.”