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New Issue of Switched On Published
08 Sep 2014

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The latest issue of Switched On is now available for download. It is packed full of wonderful articles and ideas to help teachers in both primary and secondary deliver the new curriculum

Thanks as always to our editor, Roger Davies. The newsletter is entirely composed of contributions from our members. If you have material you would like to share, please contact Roger via newsletter@computingatschool.org.uk

CAS Resources - help needed
13 Aug 2014

Help

Earlier this year we implemented a new taxonomy for categorising the many hundreds of user contributed resources to this site. We need your help to categorise these resources using this taxonomy. Anyone can edit the categories, so if you have a few spare minutes to donate to CAS, please pick a few resources and categorise them.

We have had a huge growth in the number of resources on the site: now over 2000! We need to make sure people can quickly navigate to the resources they need. So we have replaced “sets” with “categories”. These are a hierarchy of classifications for a resource, for example English Curriculum > Key Stage 2 > Programming. Resources can (and almost all should) be in multiple categories. You can then use the filter sidebar on the resource index to select which categories you want to browse. We do have a startup problem though: we need to classify the existing resources into categories!

Until we have classified a decent amount of resources, the browsing interface will be pointless. So if you have created a resource, please take a few minutes to classify them, to help others browse to them easily. Anyone can edit the categories, so if you have a few spare minutes to donate to CAS, please pick a few resources and categorise them. Thank you!

CAS/BCS Certificate of Computing Education
26 Jul 2014

Cassie

Computing At School offers a unique accreditation for teachers of Computing, providing professional recognition offered and accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

There is now a considerable amount of CPD available to teachers through the Network of Excellence (Master Teachers and universities offering low-cost training) and other providers. Teachers of Computing who have previously taught ICT are undertaking significant amounts of CPD to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to teach the new curriculum. It is important to acknowledge and recognise the significant amount of professional development that teachers have been engaged in in order to be able to deliver the new Computing qualifications and the new curriculum. Teachers need professional recognition that they are competent teachers of the the computer science elements of Computing and this certificate provides that!

OCR Controlled Assessments
01 Jul 2014

Cassie

Many teachers of OCR GCSE Computing will be aware of the notice posted on the OCR website regarding controlled assessment tasks recently. The original notice has been withdrawn and the resolution of the situation is explained in this latest release from OCR (see below).

We have been very conscious of the uncertainty for all concerned and have been in contact with OCR expressing our concern as well as offering assistance to move this forward. I am sure our concerns were with the students who might have been affected had OCR withdrawn the controlled assessments.

There has been a very active forum thread about this

The latest announcement from OCR is copied below:

J275 GCSE COMPUTING: UNITS A452 AND A453 CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT

“__The availability of model answers to live controlled assessment tasks for two units of GCSE Computing J275 on a number of public websites means OCR has had to act so that the assessment is not compromised and all students receive the result they deserve.

One course of action that OCR follows if sensitive information such as this is available is to ask public websites to remove the information as soon as possible. After a school got in touch last week to raise its concerns, OCR reviewed the options in line with regulatory requirements.

We have now completed that review - and while there is no suggestion of widespread malpractice - we have to act to avoid the slightest possibility that one candidate could gain an unfair advantage over another. As a result, we have decided that with immediate effect OCR will withdraw the existing controlled assessment tasks and will be replacing them for the next academic year on Interchange by 15 September 2014. To avoid penalising the vast majority of hard-working students and teachers, those candidates who have completed or just started their controlled assessment tasks with entries in June 2015 will still be able to submit their work. Schools and colleges will however be asked to submit the names of their candidates and the tasks for each unit by the end of September, and we will be in touch over the coming weeks with further details. OCR’s examiners will be extra vigilant when overseeing the marking process and will use a range of tools to ensure that no candidate has gained an unfair advantage.

We apologise for the disruption caused by this decision, and for an earlier communication posted in error on our website on Friday before today’s decision was reached.

If you have any queries about this notice, please contact the Customer Contact Centre on 01223 553998.__”

I am pleased that this is the outcome and students who had already completed, or are just starting will not be penalised. There are clearly wider issues relating to controlled assessments and indeed assessment of Computing in general and we hope this forum will remain a suitable place to discuss such issues.

Computing in the national curriculum: A guide for secondary teachers
11 Jun 2014

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Stop Press! The Secondary Computing Guidance has been released! This has been developed by Computing At School to help secondary school teachers get to grips with the new curriculum for computing.

The guide demystifies the programme of study and gives easy to follow support for planning, teaching and assessing computing. Printed copies will be arriving in schools towards the end of June (so look out for them!) but please freely share this digital copy with colleagues. We hope you find it useful as you prepare for September!

CAS #defineSouth
29 May 2014

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CAS #include is the working group for encouraging students from a wide variety of backgrounds to study Computing. We are pleased to invite you and your students to another Computing workshop day on Saturday 28th June at the Royal High School, Bath.

Bring your students along to experience three exciting workshops which could include piloting a drone, programming a wearable circuit board or making music! Perhaps they would enjoy creating a game with Greenfoot, completely taking apart a computer, learning some sorting algorithms or visualising data using a Kinect?

All of the details are on our Eventbrite page, and the event is only £5 per student which includes lunch and refreshments, and accompanying adults are free.

http://definesouth.eventbrite.co.uk

Twitter: @casinclude

Registration for Scottish PLAN C local hubs now open
04 Jun 2014

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With 50 lead teachers in local authorities across Scotland able to provide regular meetings within reasonable travelling distance of your school we’re now ready to open registration for the PLAN C local hubs. All of the local hubs will have started after the summer holidays with a few having their first meeting in June and the rest starting in mid August to early September.

Based on the feedback from CAS Scotland members, we’ve created a programme that is local and face to face, draws on the latest CS education research and is illustrated with example activities you could use when teaching the new Nationals, the old Computing or new Higher Computing Science qualifications.

This is the largest coordinated programme of inservice professional learning specifically for Computing there has ever been and it represents a unique, once in a career opportunity for us to come together and work to help reinvent Computing in the eyes of pupils, parents and our other teaching colleagues. It also provides ample evidence for GTCS professional update requirements and certification by the BCS Academy of Computing as well as access to a range of editable materials and online support.

You can register to take part in a local group by visiting http://www.casscotland.org.uk/takepart/ and we’d also encourage you to contact lead teachers in your local area to hear the difference that participation in PLAN C has already made to their teaching and, more importantly, the quality of pupils learning.

More information can be found in the PLAN C information leaflet for teachers.

CAS Primary Training Day June 20th Birmingham
19 May 2014

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Several half day sessions on introducing computing into the primary curriculum. a variety of topics to choose from led by expert primary teachers and practitioners. A terrific full day for all primary teachers.

Primary Computing CPD Training Day

This training day for primary school teachers is designed to offer practical sessions to enable you to build on current practice and gain confidence in new computing aspects of the curriculum. At the end of the day you should be feeling more confident about planning and integrating computing into school.

  • Creative computing - embedding computing into a creative curriculum in KS1 and KS2
  • Using Scratch with logo and some Python programming!
  • Managing the transition from ICT to computing
  • Using Kodu creatively in the classroom

Eventbrite - CAS Primary Computing Training Day

CAS Training Day (Secondary) June 20th Birmingham
19 May 2014

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Two (separate) whole day courses for secondary school teachers preparing for September 2014 with special focus on either programming or machine architecture. Expert teachers will be on hand to take you through the fundamentals of these topics and how to bring innovative and creative teaching practices to these topics in your classroom.

Secondary Computing CPD Training Day

  • Not teaching the computer science strand of the new 2014 Computing National Curriculum?
  • Already teaching Computing in your ICT curriculum at KS3?
  • Have you been asked to introduce GCSE computing/Computer Science from September 2014?
Come and get an introduction (or a refresher) to some useful computing skills and practices at our hands-on sessions. Each session will be presented by our CAS Master Teachers, who have been recruited to share their experience and tips in teaching these aspects of programming in your schools. One day session on learning Python Or One day session on Fetch Execute Cycle and programming using Little Man Computer (LMC)

Eventbrite - CAS Secondary Computing Training Day

2014 CAS Conference (Bham)
17 May 2014

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The CAS Conference (Birmingham) will be held at University of Birmingham on June 21st 2014

The CAS Conference (Birmingham)

"The conferences in Birmingham are inspirational and have helped me improve my teaching. I have been to three and each time have learnt new things which I have been able to use in the classroom." (JW, 2014)

"On your marks ... get set ..."

  • Looking for inspiration to breathe more life into your lessons?
  • Do you struggle to find dynamic resources to engage your pupils?
  • Do you wish to enhance your own skills?

The new Programme of Study comes into force this coming September.  Are you ready?  Do you feel prepared?  The CAS Conference provides an ideal opportunity to find out about the new curriculum, meet and learn from other experienced teachers and lecturers about how to introduce computer science in to your classroom.
Join us, for a unique opportunity to hear from practising teachers and educators about developing computing in our schools.

The conference gets booked up very quickly, so book your ticket now!

Eventbrite - 2014 CAS - Conference for Teachers of Computing

The programme for the 2013 conference can be downloaded here

Network of Excellence Update
08 May 2014

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In April we attended our end of year review with the Department for Education to report on the progress of the Network of Excellence after this our first year.

We were able to report on a wealth of activity and interest in the development of the network but also on the anticipation with the new Computing curriculum. The DfE grant has resulted in a hugely disproportionate amount of activity that has been generated though the dedication and commitment of the Master Teachers, the Lead Schools and our university partners. It is too early to demonstrate the long-term impact of the Network, but there is clear evidence supportive of the role being played by the local champions in the Network and much that indicates the model in place is, and will be, effective in the long term.

This is only the end of the first year and so there is still much to be done. Introducing a new subject and supporting the teachers will not happen in six, twelve or even twenty four months. Some of the high level statistics include:

  • 1000 registered schools
  • 303 lead schools
  • 93 Level 2 Master teachers and Regional Coordinators
  • 83 events run by NoE team (inc Master Teachers) with nearly 100 planned for the summer term
  • 233 applicants for next round of Master Teacher recruitment

The funding is good until the end of March 2015 but we meet them again in September to put the case for continued financial support of the NoE.  Being able to demonstrate to them how their money is being spent and the benefits to classroom teachers is really important.  Please share with us your stories, your feedback, your experiences whether you have been helping local teachers or have been on the receiving end!

Simon Humphreys, CAS National Coordinator

News from CAS North East Scotland
07 May 2014

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There is lots of CAS activity north of the border! Here Claire Griffiths, CAS Hub leader, for North-East Scotland, writes about what has been happening in her area. Claire is based in the Moray area, to the east of Inverness.

In November, a Computing-themed CPD day for Teachers in Moray was held at Forres Enterprise Park, Moray. Fourteen teachers and three UHI lecturers attended the training day. Activities included a Raspberry Pi demonstration and an opportunity to set up one of the Pi kit. There were discussions on how the Pi kits could be used in the classroom alongside other innovative hardware and software. Later in the day there was an opportunity to see satellite tracking with a venetian blind/Arduino set-up and a demonstration of the T-Exchange’s home-made 3-D printer Mk1 (Mk2 is at the planning stage).

In January, Moray College hosted two Computing clubs for under 18s in Moray. It was the first meeting for the younger Coderdojo Moray for 9-11 year olds. A mixed group of enthusiastic boys and girls came to learn coding using the free Scratch programming language. In the afternoon there was a mixed group of 12-17 year olds. Both clubs had an opportunity to set up Raspberry Pi mini-computers and to code using the programming language Python. The next coding meeting will be in May as advertised on the Coderdojo Scotland website. More information can be found here.

In March over a hundred young people attended a CAS Coding Fun Factory. The all-day event took place as part of the Moray College Science Festival Families Day. The children had the opportunity to learn to code using the Scratch. The young people were soon adapting the code creating their own animations and other ideas. They were introduced to the resources on the Scratch website including tutorials, help forums, games and animations. There was enthusiastic interest in a new code club for 9-11 years, which will start in the next couple of months to join the existing Coderdojo Moray for 12-17 year olds.

What’s next? There will a Lego Mindstorms-themed Coding Club meeting in May/ June. After the summer there is a Raspberry Pi display planned in September within a larger STEM event in Forres. I hope some members of my aspiring Pi enthusiasts from the two monthly Saturday clubs will display and talk about their Pi Adventures at the event.

Claire Griffiths CAS Hub Leader North East Scotland

Barefoot Computing Competition!
06 May 2014

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The Barefoot Computing project is about helping primary school teachers get ready for the computer science element of the new computing curriculum.

The new Barefoot Computing website is now live!

Enter our competition!

The Barefoot team are running a competition for primary school pupils to design a mascot for the Barefoot Computing Project. There are iPads to be won! The closing date is 23rd June and more information can be found here.

Help needed!

The Barefoot team would also be very pleased to hear from any Primary teachers willing to help review and test the Barefoot produced resources. If you are interested go to the Barefoot web site and register (click on the contact tab upper right) .

The Barefoot Computing project is funded by the Department for Education, and is developing high-quality, practical cross-curricular computer science resources and computing workshops to support primary school teachers in England.

Pat Hughes, Barefoot Computing Project Manager

Switched On - Summer 2014
02 May 2014

Newsletter-summer-2014

The latest issue of Switched On is now available for download. It is packed full of wonderful articles and ideas to help teachers in both primary and secondary prepare for the new curriculum in September

This issue takes a good hard look at the run up to the introduction of the new Computing curriculum in September 2014 and contains several articles aimed at advising teachers as they begin to plan their curriculum. CAS CPD coordinator, Mark Dorling, kicks off by offering a framework around which teachers can start to plan.

Colleagues from around the UK, particularly primary teachers, share their advice and approaches to curriculum planning and rewarding achievement. The middle pages provide a suggestion for progression pathways which you can “cut out and keep”.

In between you’ll find features and reports of exciting things already being done by teachers at the cutting edge. We hope SWITCHEDON reflects the energy and enthusiasm of an emerging ‘community of practice’.

Download here

New Countdown to Computing project: we are recruiting now
11 Apr 2014

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Countdown to Computing is a new project run by CAS over the next twelve months, and funded by Microsoft. We are recruiting:

  • A full time project coordinator for six months, gross pro-rata £55k depending of experience (i.e. gross circa £25 for six months including NI and pension contributions)

  • Two regional CAS coordinators full time for twelve months, gross including any employer contributions circa £40k depending on experience.

  • Two teachers to author ‘out-of-the-box’ CPD courses on consultancy-based contracts worth circa £6k to £9k.

The posts will start as soon as possible.

For further details please contact bcsacademy@hq.bcs.org.uk quoting ‘Countdown to Computing Project’ in the subject header. Note an automated rule will forward emails to the appropriate person based on the email header. Deadline: April 25 2014.

To help schools introduce Computing from this September Microsoft have given CAS an incredibly generous grant to enable us to double the number of CAS Hubs and double the number of Lead Schools in the Network of Teaching Excellence. The grant will also fund over 40,000 free hard-copies of a shrink-wrapped CPD course, which will be designed so that a teacher with moderate prior computing knowledge can run it as a self-contained CPD course for their colleagues. The intention of the course is to help teachers design, develop and deliver their first term of Computing from this September. The course will be CAS-Hub friendly, so that an enthusiastic teacher or teachers could run the course through a CAS Hub in a variety of delivery models depending on local circumstances. The free CPD course resources will include hard copies of all printed materials and DVDs containing multimedia, software tools and solutions, and videos of teacher-led tutorials and workshops. As much as possible existing well-regarded teaching resources will be used as the basis for CPD course materials to avoid reinventing the wheel. The course will be designed in two parts, one for primary and one for secondary. The CPD course resources will also be made available online for free so that those who were not lucky enough to receive a free hard copy can still access all the materials.

The grant will also fund several major regional conferences to showcase the resources and act as a catalyst to encourage schools and universities to engage with the materials.

All applicants must have:

  • extensive experience of either working in or with schools

  • appreciation of the new statutory Computing curriculum

  • a proven record of meeting deadlines to time and budget

  • a positive attitude that is contagious

  • those interested in authoring must also have evidence of a track record of delivering outstanding lessons as measured by peer observations, and a sound understanding of current pedagogical best practice

Applicants applying for the two regional CAS coordinator roles must have as well as the above:

  • a track record of working with a diverse range of stakeholders over a spread of geographical locations

  • an ability to think on their feet and use their initiative under rapidly changing external circumstances

  • demonstrable appreciation of the CAS ethos and how our community works

Applicants applying for the six month project manager role should have as well as the above:

  • a track record of working with a multiplicity of stakeholders within large scale projects

  • extensive budget management and line-management skills

  • ability to manage multiple sub-projects with complex resourcing and time constraints

  • extensive experience of coordinating multiple regional launch events

We are flexible on salary arrangements for the project manager and CAS coordinators. We can hire either on a consultancy basis where individuals are paid a gross figure and are responsible for their own pension and NI, or we can arrange fixed term contracts where employer contributions are taken from the gross amount of funding available in the grant as salary. If colleagues wish to arrange for a secondment from their school we are also happy to consider that provided all financial arrangements with the school are handled by the applicant. In those cases it is entirely up to the teacher and their senior management team to negotiate the division of funds between them.

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