What is Computer Science and what's happening in the National Curriculum?
Our approach to computers and how we use them in our daily lives is changing, and I'm not only referring to the advancement of the technology itself but our thought process behind how a computer or programme really functions. Computer Science amalgamates core competencies from technology, mathematics, engineering and of course science. A combination of a skillset deficiency in the UK workforce when it comes to computing and technology roles and comparisons made to other countries both within the EU and further afield, regarding computer science graduates have been just some of the deciding factors which lead to the change in the national curriculum.
From September 2014 Computing will become a statutory part of the English National Curriculum, including fundamental Computer Science principles such as unique and creative thinking, problem solving, abstraction, precision, computation and practical application.
What impact is Microsoft Education UK having on the National Curriculum?
Having worked alongside educators as well as IT managers in schools and various institutions, Microsoft Education UK have a number of years’ experience working within the sector to help facilitate learning goals through the use of a range of devices and tablets in education as well as offering multi scale platforms and resources to equip teachers to meet the curriculum as and when it progresses. There is not such a fear of progression itself, however teaching what is unfamiliar to can at times seem challenging. 74% of teachers say they feel unprepared to teach computing and 69% are not confident that the government will provide sufficient support.
With this in mind Microsoft have teamed up with Rising Stars, who specialise in primary school KS1/2 resources to create Switched on Computing, an easy to follow guide, which will walk teachers and students through the new computer science curriculum by working through a variety of engaging mini projects. The idea behind these free resources are to stimulate pedagogical strategies with educators as well as excite pupils about the possibilities of computing and the uses of technology in the classroom. You can find out more about Rising stars and the Switched on Computing range by visiting www.switchedoncomputing.co.uk
To recap on how Microsoft Education has been supporting and following Computer Science in the Curriculum over the past few months why not check out some of our previous blog posts:
Xbox for Education Enhances New Computer Science Curriculum
BETT 2014: A is for algorithm: first steps in primary computing
Importance of Computer Science in the Curriculum Conference, sponsored by ASCL and Microsoft
Education Technology Repost: Microsoft @ BETT2014
UK Hour of Code has arrived!
What does coding have to do with computer science?
If you're new to these blogs or in case you've missed it, Microsoft Education are keen advocates of equipping students with the necessary skills to succeed in today's highly digital workforce. A proportionate amount of this surrounds coding and programming. All of us use technology which has an element of code to it, however complex. Yet very few of us have the skills to produce this technology ourselves. It is not saying that everyone should learn to programme to fix or create their own products, but it Is worth considering that there are currently 100,000 vacant jobs in the UK technology market and employees that have the skills required are in short supply. We're all aware of the employment crisis, what if we could equip the next generation and build upon the sector that is growing at an alarming rate. Microsoft believes that with the right training and support, 80% of all computer science related jobs in the UK could be filled by a UK graduate.
Microsoft has been developing some fantastic free resources to meet those who are keen to learn, right where they are at, and offer a range of other developer platforms and certifications to help them progress on an Individual level. For those wanting to learn, we certainly have the information and learning materials available. TouchDevelop, Small Basic, Kodu, ProjectSpark, Project Siena and DreamSpark to name just a few.
With an increased demand around coding, Microsoft are pleased to launch Hour of Code with Code.org UK. The UK Hour of Code is a one-hour intro to computer science, designed to demystify code during March 3-9, 2014. Every student will learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator. To find out more or to sign up check out http://uk.code.org/signup
Microsoft Education have been working alongside Miles Berry, principal lecturer in Computing Education at Roehampton University, keep an eye out in the next few weeks for our Computer Science ebook which will be available for free download on our SlideShare channel.