Tag Archives: Computing Science

Call for Proposals for the Computing Science Education Conference

Mcas-logoessage from Kate Farrell the Co-Chair of Computing at Schools Scotland(CASS)

I am delighted to announce the launch of our 2015 CS Education conference! This year we will be hosted by the School of Computing at the University of Dundee. The conference will be on Saturday 7th November 2015.

After a ‘slimline’ conference last year we will be back to our multiple strands plus workshops model that has worked well in the past. Following on from our successful BGE strand last year and the positive feedback we got from the Primary teachers attending we are carrying on with the BGE strand and expanding it so there will be BGE sessions for the full day.

I am also very pleased to announce that we are partnering with SICSA Education to have an Academic and Research strand, and we’re partnering with College Development Network and ScotlandIS to have an Industry and Vocational Strand.

This will mean professionals from Early Years, Primary, Secondary, Further Education, Higher Education and Industry all gathering together to discuss Computing Science education!

In order to make this conference a huge success we need YOU! We are opening a Call for Proposals and we are hoping that many of you will submit proposals for sessions at the conference. There are a selection of themes to give you ideas. You can get more information and ideas in our Call for Participation document.

If you would like to submit a proposal, the form is here: http://bit.ly/CASSconf15CALL

KoduKup competition

kodukup logo

 

 

KoduKup

About the Competition

The Kodu Kup is open to anyone from a Scottish school aged between seven to fourteen years old. Children must be entered by their school teacher as a team of three, forming a mini “game studio”.

What Should be Submitted?

Teachers should enter their pupils’ games by sharing them from inside Kodu Game Lab, this automatically uploads them to www.kodugamelab.com. Once uploaded, e-mail david.renton@wcs.ac.uk with team name, game name, school name, teacher’s name, link to the game (on www.kodugamelab.com), game description, screenshot, business plan and photos of merchandise created along with any additional files to backup the entry. Schools can enter as many teams as they wish, but each team can only submit a single game. Before sharing a game, please use the following structure to name it:

GameName_TeamName_KoduKupScotland

Closing date is the 29th May

Kodukup 2015 Scottish Flyer

Scratch Programming from Primary to Secondary

erc-logo-hires

 

 

P7 Pupils from the Williamwood High School cluster primaries, Carolside, Busby and Netherlee learn Scratch programming as part of their Technologies outcomes. This allows for progression when they join Williamwood High School in S1 and S2. Pupils are then able to develop their technologies skills to Third and Fourth Levels using Scratch. Pupils may then go onto choose NQ Computing Science and so have a solid understanding of the purpose and nature of programming.

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Pupils from Carolside Primary on a Scratch programming task.

 

 

Staff from Williamwood have worked closely with the primary colleagues, providing learning materials and CPD. The next steps involve introducing Scratch to pupils in P6 and P5.

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Raspberry Pi Day 17 January 2015 – University of Strathclyde – 10am to 4pm

The Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized computer, designed to improve computer programming knowledge. It is a low cost but capable device that can be used by people of all ages to learn about computing. It connects to the Internet, plays HD video, and can be installed with a variety of Linux operating systems. The Raspberry Pi supports a multitude of applications and development tools – like Scratch which is designed to teach programming concepts to young people. The Raspberry Pi also makes it easy to connect to external sensors and electronics, allowing it to be incorporated into a wide range of projects, such as robots, games, weather stations and more.

The Raspberry Pi day is an event for all levels of ability and involvement. Several talks will be given during the day, covering the basics of the Raspberry Pi, as well as programming and electronics applications. There will also be a laboratory area, with Raspberry Pis for interactive demonstrations and space for guest projects.

Book your tickets now. Tickets for children are free. Adult tickets are £2.50. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For more information: http://phys.strath.ac.uk/raspberrypiday/

Game Masters: Teachers Preview Event

Date: Tuesday 9 December
Time:
16:30-18:30
Venue: Studio 1, Learning Centre, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Cost: Free
Booking: Please book your FREE space by email schools@nms.ac.uk or phone 0131 247 4041. Tea/coffee and cake will be provided. Spaces are limited so please book your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

This session will introduce teachers to the Game Masters exhibition in preparation for visiting with a class.

The event will run as follows:

4.30pm – Registration and Refreshments

4.45pm – Introduction, practicalities about visit & overview of resources

5pm – Sarah Rothwell, Assistant Curator (Modern & Contemporary Design), introduces exhibition

5.15pm – Short tour of exhibition, followed by opportunity to explore exhibition and try games

6.15pm – Finish

More details about school visits to Game Masters: www.nms.ac.uk/schoolgames

Game Masters – The developmeny of Video Games – National Museum of Scotland

Exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland

5 December 2014 – 20 April 2015

The exhibition explores the development of video games through interviews with game designers and rare original game artwork, as well as looking forward to how independently produced games are leading the way in design, aesthetics and game play.

Location

Exhibition Gallery 1, Level 3

Pricing

Adults £10
Concession* £8
Child £6.50 (under 5s free)
Family of 3** £23
Family of 4** £28
Students*** £5 (Tuesdays only)

Members go free!

National Art Pass holders receive 50% discount (only available in person and by phone).

* Concession prices apply to 60+, students and unemployed with ID, disabled people. Carers of disabled people free.

** Must include at least 1 adult and 1 child

*** A valid NUS or Young Scot card must be shown

Further details about the exhibition can be found at: http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/whats-on/game-masters/

Higher Computing Science – half day events

As part of Education Scotland’s ongoing support of the new national qualifications a series of half day events for Higher Computing Science have been organised for later this year.  These events are a follow up to the very successful national conference held in May of this year.  The main aims of the events will be to:
•    examine a range of appropriate approaches to learning and teaching
•    exemplify new course content
•    discuss areas of course content where further support may be necessary.

The events will take place as follows:

7 November, Denholm House, Livingston

9.30 – 12.30
1.00 – 4.00

10 December, Optima, 58 Robertson Street, Glasgow

9.30 – 12.30
1.00 – 4.00

To register your interest in attending one of these events please contact russell.scott@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk

Computing Science opportunity to work with Museums and Galleries of Scotland

Pilot project for schools, using museum collections datasets as part of the Computing Science curriculum:

                                                                                                                                                                                               Museums have an untapped resource of rich data, relating to their collections, which can be explored and re-used in new and exciting ways.  

Museums in Scotland have identified digital engagement as a priority (see page 17 of One Year On: Turning Actions into Advocacy), with a focus on how to reuse assets such as digital collections records (which can be similar to library catalogue records, containing data about individual or groups of museum objects) and images.  

Education Scotland and MGS (Museums Galleries Scotland the national development body for the museum sector in Scotland) would be keen to establish up to a number of pilot projects to run over the autumn to spring terms, through which schools would make use of museum collections data, as part of the Computing Science curriculum.

Museums would provide access to museum collections data, to support coding or other exploratory work.  The time available by the museums involved in these pilot projects will vary, but there would be the opportunity to discuss with the museum what the collections data represents, and how it is currently organised, and for the museum-school partners to explore their shared interest in data reuse.  There may also be the opportunity to work with the museum to create a resource which has a life beyond the project, to present new stories about the collections in new ways to the museum and its visitors.

Education Scotland and MGS would aim to work with the school-museum partnerships to develop case studies and a report on what has been learned from the pilot projects, to share with the wider museum and education sector.

If you are interested or would like to find out more about this opportunity please contact Kirsty McFaul Senior Education Officer Technologies, Education Scotland, Kirsty.mcfaul@educationscotland.gov.uk

Education Scotland Higher Computing Science Conference

Higher Computing Science  – Conference Report

Background information

Education Scotland held a conference on Thursday 29 May 2014 as part of the ongoing support of the new national qualifications.  The need for this national event became clear following a series of meetings early in 2014 between the Technologies team at Education Scotland and the following local authorities:

  • North Lanarkshire
  • East Ayrshire
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • South Lanarkshire

Discussion with the local authority representatives focused mainly on the implications of moving from 2 Higher Grade courses in this area of the curriculum to one new higher.  The opportunity to up-date the content was quite rightly taken.  However this has resulted in a significant amount of new content which has resulted in practitioners being uneasy about their ability to deliver the subject content for this new qualification.  In order to evaluate the scale of the difficulties Education Scotland established a Short Life Working group for Computing Science to discuss the best ways to address the issues that were being highlighted.  This resulted in two main areas of activity

  • ‘crowd sourcing’ of support materials
  • organising and planning a national conference.

 The main aims of the conference were to

  • Examine a range of appropriate approaches to learning and teaching
  • Exemplify a significant amount of new course content
  • Continue to build a successful learning community for computing science
  • Examine other areas for development to be addressed over the next academic year

 Conference organisation and delivery

The programme for the event was a mix of keynote presentations and workshop sessions.  Gerry Docherty set the scene for the conference.  He is currently Chief Executive of Smarter Grid Solutions a fast-growing company, with operational bases in Glasgow, London and New York.  He leads on the implementation of the ICT and Digital Technologies Skills Investment Plan.  This plan makes explicit the need for developing skills in this key area of the Scottish economy.   It also makes clear connections to the industry working much more closely with the education sector.  From an education perspective, Education Scotland see this report as being a powerful driver behind the support we are going to be giving this area of the curriculum over the next year or two.  Gerry did a tremendous job setting the scene for the conference and many of the issues he raised in the morning were discussed again in the closing plenary. 

Peter Donaldson set the scene for the afternoon sessions by outlining the aims and objective of PLAN C (Professional Learning and Networking for Computing).  He explained that the Core PLAN C team are connected to 50 lead teachers who are then connected to a further 10-25 teachers in their local area with industry, HE and FE encouraged to link in taking a more strategic approach to supporting work in this area of the curriculum.

The workshops were delivered by 9 practitioners identified by the Computing Science Working Group and delegates were able to attend 3 workshops over the course of the day.  It was planned that each of these workshops would focus on learning and teaching as well as new course content.

Evaluations

The evaluations and conversations with various stakeholders during and after the event indicate these aims were met.  The table below indicates how successful the event was with respect to the evaluation forms returned at the end of the event.  This is based on 66 returned evaluations.  In total there were 125 delegates in attendance and 30 out of 32 local authorities had representatives and there was representatives from the private sector and from colleges.

The key statistics from the table above are

  • 92% of delegates agreed that ‘meeting and exchanging ideas with colleagues was valuable’.
  • 94% of delegates agreed that ‘the workshops sessions and discussions were helpful’
  • 89% of delegates agreed that ‘the suggested approaches to learning and teaching were appropriate’
  • 67% of delegates agreed that ‘a significant amount of new content was exemplified’

 

The figure of 67% in the final statistic is probably explained by the fact that the delegates were approaching the new content from a slightly different teaching background.  These being either a Computing Science or Information Systems background.  It is also an indication that much more needs to be done to support teachers in this area.  One of the comments from the delegates also helped explain this

‘Still need more detail.  Some subjects were over-subscribed, more access to these would be helpful.’

Further comments from delegates were very helpful and they focused on the following key areas.

Ongoing Support

The delegates recognise that this is just the start

‘More events like this to show ideas and methods.  Better continued support.  Direct guidelines to local councils as to how staff should be supported – reinforce the importance of computing science.’

‘We are still unclear about the depth of coverage and are simply guessing.  Fortunately we have a year to get the handle on this so hopefully more information will come out from SQA and yourselves.’

‘More meetings where we can gather, talk face to face and get away from being lots of ‘wee islands’ – the sessions were excellent and I am away feeling muchh more confident about the higher. Anything for ISDD would be great.’

Professional Learning Community

While computing teachers have an excellent ‘professional learning community’ through CompEdNet there is still more that we can do.

‘Local ES events welcome.  How can we develop a shared agenda?’

‘More of the same please. Always good discussions + inspiration.’

The role of key organisations

In the context of on-going work across education and the ICT sector this comment is pertinent

‘Very interesting and useful event.  Great speech by Gerry Docherty’.

Education Scotland and SQA are still expected to do more in this area too.

‘SQA arrangements still require more guidance on depth of treatment required.’

‘More detail on the support team at Education Scotland.  Who’s our contact? Who does what?’

Summary/Conclusions

Education Scotland would like to thank the Computing Science Working Group for their support in making this conference a great success.  The conference would not have been possible without their knowledge and understanding of the computing science context in local authorities and in schools.  Workshop presenters did a superb job and the level of ‘interactivity’ in the sessions was impressive. 

The following comment is one that we should finish on

‘Absolutely fantastic, we need more of these to get up to speed.’ 

It may be worth considering following this conference up in May 2015 to cover other aspects of the new higher but also have a focus on the new ‘Advanced Higher’.

Next steps

The following suggestions have been made as to how we build on the success of the conference

–          Work with the CompedNet practitioner network to identify the features within Glow that will support what they are doing through their professional on-line community.  This will focus on the added value Glow brings that is different from what’s on offer already through CompEdNet e.g. Glow TV, Glow Meets etc

–          Create user stories (identifying practice that’s worthy of sharing)

–          Monthly Computer Science update (publication, 2 sides A4)

–          Host a series of regional events to roll out the information from the conference

–          Host an online national conferences.

Education Scotland is aware that more support is required for computing science and this will continue over the next academic year.