Free remote training and support for Computing teachers

The National Centre for Computing Education was established in November 2018 to help train, support and equip teachers of Computing and to promote the subject as a creative, challenging and rewarding pathway for any interested student in any school.

Teach Computing

Initially, face to face training courses were very well received by teachers who were able to travel to take part. Generous bursary funding helped make it a little easier to request cover to miss lessons for Continuous Professional Development but it’s not always easy to get time out of school for training, even if it’s really worthwhile.

Then, COVID19 reared it’s ugly head and lockdown put a stop to face to face CPD courses in March 2020. Whilst COVID secure venues are beginning to open up again for some courses, one positive outcome of the pandemic has been a shift to deliver online courses with new and improved resources for remote learning.

These remote courses benefit from a blend of live video tuition, online support forums and guided personal learning. In many ways, I think the remote courses are better than the initial face to face courses as they can be done as twilight sessions after school (so you don’t have to miss lessons) and the lack of need to travel means there are loads of start dates / times to choose from.

Over 1,000 teachers have now completed the NCCE CS Accelerator scheme.

Each school receives between £920 and £1,800 when you graduate from the scheme.

That’s a huge increase boost to your department budget to spend on resources or further CPD.

Did you know?

There are loads of great courses that you can sign up for for free (if you’re a teacher at a state school in England) but the booking pages don’t say who’s leading each course.

Here’s the dates and details for courses I’m running this term in case you want to join in (or avoid them and find a different one!):

You can see a full list of all courses (online, remote and face to face) at teachcomputing.org, where you can also find out more about CS Accelerator accreditation and bursary funding details.

Do make the most of the CPD, resources and funding whilst it’s available.

If you haven’t yet got involved in a CAS Community, I’d really recommend it. When the NCCE funding runs out, it’ll be the grassroots communities of like minded teachers sharing resources and supporting each other who are left.

Hope to see some of you soon,

Pete

Free interactive Python tutorials for beginners

Try it, debug it, extend it
Try it, debug it, extend it: Python tutorials

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll hopefully be publishing a series of 20 free interactive python tutorials for beginners.

Here’s the link to the list of resources

Each activity has four sections:

Theory: what you need to know if you’re in a hurry

Try it: working code snippets that you can adapt and use

Debug it: code sabotaged with common mistakes that you can practise fixing

Extend it: open ended project ideas for your to apply what you’ve learnt.

You can track your progress through each activity and generate a free PDF certificate showing your score at the end.

The first activity is all about getting your python program to output to the screen:

What attracts you to computing

Making computing accessible for all

This series of posts aims is aimed at UK secondary school teachers to give some free ideas and resources in order to help make computing lessons engaging and inclusive in order to help attract more and more students to continue with the subject at GCSE and beyond.

When students are choosing their GCSE options they seem to love asking teachers why we chose to teach our subjects.

Often, I can almost see the cogs turning inside some of my students’ heads, weighing up whether they should choose Computing over Art; ticking off the benefits of each subject as they make the first real choice that might affect the rest of their lives.

Whatever they use to make up their mind – who teaches the subject / what their friends are choosing / what they’re good at / what they enjoy – there’s clearly a lot more that we can do to promote Computer Science as a viable, challenging, enjoyable and worthwhile option. The national figures show a pretty poor GCSE uptake of GCSE Computer Science compared to other eBacc subjects and an abysmal uptake by girls. Boys, whilst outnumbering girls at KS4 and beyond, are being outperformed by girls from KS2 onwards. So there’s definitely something not right there that needs addressing.

CAS include
CAS #include. Making computing accessible for all

I’ve been slowly working through the brilliant advice on the CAS #include site about how to ensure that my Computing lessons aren’t just catering for people like me and it strikes me that the way to be inclusive for all also looks and sounds like the way to be engaging and stretching for all. This post aims to share some of the mistakes I’ve made as well as some of the things I’m trying to put right to make sure that all students get the most out of their computing lessons, hopefully also boosting recruitment at KS4 too.

I’ve come up with 6 Cs to use as a checklist for planning engaging and inclusive computing projects:

17: Functions in python

Functions are just like procedures but with one key difference that makes them even more useful.

This tutorial guides you through what a function is, how to use them and how and when you should define your own functions.

Reuse sections of your code
Functions in python: Reuse sections of your code

Contents:

Page 1: Intro

Page 2: The theory: learn what you need to know as fast as possible.

Page 3: Try it: try out and adapt some working python code snippets.

Page 4: Debug it: Learn how to find and fix common mistakes.

Page 5: Extend it: Choose a project idea to use your newfound python skills.

16: Procedures in python

Making and using your own procedures in python is a great way to make your code more efficient, more readable and more re-usable.

This tutorial guides you through what a procedure is, how to use them and how and when you should define your own procedures.

Reuse sections of your code
Procedures in python: Reuse sections of your code

Contents:

Page 1: Intro

Page 2: The theory: learn what you need to know as fast as possible.

Page 3: Try it: try out and adapt some working python code snippets.

Page 4: Debug it: Learn how to find and fix common mistakes.

Page 5: Extend it: Choose a project idea to use your newfound python skills.