Computing At School :: News

One of the UK’s biggest companies is highlighting the need to prepare the future's workforce by supporting a new course, aimed at developing teaching of the new Computing curriculum.

BT has teamed up with Computing at School (CAS - which is supported and endorsed by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT) and the University of East Anglia (UEA) to offer teachers a free, open, online course in 'Teaching Computing'.

Computing is being introduced as a new subject in schools from September 2014 and many schools are considering how best to prepare staff for this change.

BT will be previewing a trailer for the course - known as a MOOC (massive, open, online course) - at BETT, the annual education technology conference being held in London on Jan 22-25.

The eight week course, running in two parts, will help prepare teachers to deliver the new curriculum effectively to children in Years 5 to 8. Key themes include vocabulary and terminology, assessing pupil learning, and subject knowledge of computing languages.

Tim Whitley, managing director for research & innovation at BT, said: "Schools are educating the workforce of tomorrow and it is vitally important to companies like BT that young people start to develop a better understanding of computers and computing early in life.

"The new curriculum meets that need, and pupils will learn not just about how to write code but how computer systems work, as well as how to use them safely and appropriately. By collaborating with UEA and Computing at School to support the ‘Teaching Computing’ course for teachers, we aim to provide a valuable resource that will help teachers support the implementation of the new curriculum."

With a mixture of subject knowledge and pedagogical advice, the course is aimed at both ICT specialists and primary teaching non-specialists. Expert 'master teachers' from Computing at School have designed the course to make sure that teachers have the most up-to-date information which they can take into their classrooms and teach great Computing lessons.

Simon Humphreys, National Coordinator CAS, said: "From September 2014, children from primary school onward will be taught how to program and how computers work as part of the new computing curriculum.  CAS has been at the forefront of the curriculum change for computing and is delighted to collaborate with UEA to help them prepare for this change. The MOOC is able to reach a much larger audience providing a different opportunity for teachers to acquire the knowledge and understanding they need."

At BETT, BT will be showing the trailer for 'Teaching Computing' at their two stands. Also speaking on a panel at the show about MOOCs will be Helena Gillespie, associate dean for learning and teaching in the Faculty of Social Sciences at UEA. Helena said: "The UEA School of Education and Lifelong Learning has an exceptional reputation in providing teacher education and we are excited about moving into the 21st century with this open online course."

The course will be offered via the FutureLearn platform – the first UK-based provider of free, open, online courses.

For more information about the ‘Teaching Computing’ MOOC, view the trailer: