Computer Science Education

Last updated: 20 March 2012

UK schools have been heavily criticised for neglecting computer science. In this week's programme Adam visits an initiative which aims to re-boot computer science teaching in Wales.

Broadcast Tuesday 20th March at 7pm

Listen to the latest programme online

Raspberry Pi

During his MacTaggart lecture at last year's Edinburgh Television Festival Eric Schmidt, Chariman of Google, was highly critical of the standards of computer science education in British schools. And a report published in January by the Royal Society described the teaching of computer science in many schools as "highly unsatisfactory".

So how have things gone so disastrously wrong in the nation which invented the computer and pioneered their use? This week Adam brings the Science Cafe to the University of Glamorgan and an event which will hopefully re-invigorate the teaching of computer science in Wales.

Many scientists and educators have believed for a while now that we need to change the way we teach computing, putting more emphasis on skills like programming and designing hardware and less on teaching students how to use spreadsheets and the internet. And that's how the TechnoCamps outreach project was born. Technocamps, which started nearly ten years ago, are workshops for primary and secondary school students which aim to get young people in Wales excited about computing and to teach them the fundamental building blocks of the technology they use.

And now a new phase of the project is being launched. Adam joins teachers as they attend the first ever Technoteach event, where they're being given skills, tips and advice on teaching computer science which they can take back into the classroom. Adam meets the organisers of the event: Prof. Faron Moller from Swansea University who leads the Technocamps initiative and Dr. Tom Crick from Cardiff Metropolitan University who's the Welsh representative for the organisation Computing at School. They consider why computer science teaching has gone so wrong in the UK and the part that initiatives like Technocamp and the Raspberry Pi (the newly launched cheap, programmable computer) can play in getting us back on track.

Adam also talks to Stuart Ball, Learning Programme Manager for Microsoft's Partners in Learning. He demonstrates Kodu Game Lab, a way of getting young people interested in computer programming as they create their own games using pictures and words. And in Swansea, reporter Gilbert John visits a Technocamp to meet a group of primary school children who could be the software designers and digital innovators of the future.

Links

Eric Schmidt's Speech

Royal Society's Report on Computing in Schools

Technocamps

Computing at School


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