The Leaders Award for STEM

Roma Agrawal , an Associate Structural Engineer at WSP, will be talking to students about her career and her role in designing bridges, skyscrapers and sculptures with signature architects over her eight year career. She will then take questions from the students in the studio and logged in on Glow TV. Roma Agrawal is being interviewed to encourage students to engage with The Leaders Award for STEM

Join us in Glow TV on Friday 25th April at 9.30am.

Learning Technologies in Argyll & Bute Council

Over the last year the learning technologies team in Argyll and Bute have been providing additional exciting, computer science related learning opportunities for young people at primary level.

The long-term goal of this project is to capture the imagination of young people, to showcase what can be created and inspire through technology.

Before commencing this project we were very aware that our young people had excellent ICT skills and made very good use of technology.  However, this project is about equipping young people at primary level with skills and knowledge to turn computing ideas into concepts, improve their understanding of how technologies work and gain some understanding of the concepts involved in computer programming. 

We feel that this project is important to the economy of Argyll and Bute, particularly as we want to offer our young people as much choice as possible in where they live and work.  We feel that the technology sector provides a number of remote working and company start up opportunities.  Additionally we are very aware that almost every field of employment now relies on technology, and our challenge is to prepare young people for jobs that may not even exist yet.

Our team has so far supported approximately 50 primary schools by providing expertise to assist them in commencing a computer programming related project.  We work with each school on an individual basis and the projects vary depending on the schools learning outcomes, expertise and available equipment. 

Our approach has been to offer centrally hosted CPD sessions for staff whilst working directly with pupils in schools.  We feel that technology related learning provides excellent pupil led and peer learning opportunities.  It is however interesting to note that in the majority of cases the pupils’ knowledge of technology quickly overtakes that of the teachers.  Subsequently, we are seeing teachers taking up more of a facilitator role in technology related learning. 

An important part of this project was to establish a loan bank of equipment.  This has given our team the opportunity to showcase a variety of technologies whilst allowing us to loan schools suitable equipment.  In addition this provides the school with an opportunity to try out various technologies before committing to a purchase. 

The two most popular activities in our schools so far are Kodu and Lego Wedo.   However schools have also being using Raspberry Pi, Lego Mindstorms, Scratch, PicoBoard for Scratch, LiveCode and .net gadgeteer.  

We have been very much encouraged by the enthusiasm and passion our young people exhibit towards technology.  We have found that about 97% of the young people have fully engaged with activities such as Kodu and have shown a real desire to learn the basics of computer programming. 

This project has provided a number of opportunities for the young people of Argyll and Bute to share their learning and skills.  We have seen pupils presenting and demonstrating technology projects at workshops.  Some of these young people have stated that as a result of this they feel more confident in using technology but also as individuals too.  In addition to this we have a number of schools establishing lunchtime, afterschool computing clubs and some schools appointing pupil ICT mentors.

The next step for this project is to implement a pupil self-evaluation framework in order that we can better measure the impact of learning computer programming in primary schools.

‘How am I supporting my child through her exams?’ A Parent’s perspective

As this year’s NQ exams approach we continue our series of posts by parents and learners.

‘At the moment I am trying to be patient with my child as I know she is under a great deal of pressure, so I am also trying to shield her a bit from unnecessary distractions or extra demands on her time, ie if she is actively revising I won’t ask her to complete her chores within the household.

I am trying to almost cocoon her a bit from the noise and bustle of a busy house where she has older and younger siblings getting on with their lives. We have rearranged her room and provided a desk so she doesn’t have to study at the kitchen table (which is a nuisance for everyone) and has a place to leave her materials undisturbed. I am encouraging her younger sister, with whom she shares a bedroom, to play in other rooms to give her a bit of peace. I am fortunate to have the space to do this.

Similarly I am keeping an eye on her diet and sleep patterns to ensure she is getting enough to eat and drink and is not over tired. I will continue to do this until the end of the exams and will up the ante considerably in the days leading up to them. I encourage her to take a break from her desk to watch TV or go out with friends to keep her from overworking.

My dad bought her some specimen papers from SQA for a few of her subjects, Maths, Chemistry and Physics which have helped her become more familiar with the new type of questioning involved in the N5 papers. She has been provided with some revision booklets etc for some subjects from school but this has been very patchy. I have been web surfing to find any extra resources to plug gaps. The new revision guides from the NPFS will be very helpful in the next few weeks providing extra examples of questions for the N5 question papers.

I am trying to keep calm myself and not get worked up if she becomes anxious or stressed.I know that I have to provide support as she needs it and to suit her…’

Parent (S4 pupil)

More posts:
Parent’s perspective (National 4/5 boy & Higher girl)
Learner’s perspective (S4)
Another learner’s perspective (S4)

Take a look at the Parentzone website which has a guide to helping your child prepare for exams, with links to revision aids and specimen papers.