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Sorry to see you go ....
30 Jun 2015
I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Mark Dorling every success as he leaves the staff of Computing At School to start his own company in the world of computing education.
Those of us who have had the privilege of working with Mark know him as a passionate advocate of Computing in schools who has worked tirelessly to make the CAS Network of Excellence the success it is today.
We’ll miss him enormously as a work colleague, but he isn’t really gone because we’ll continue to work with him as a CAS volunteer when he isn’t busy running his company. We wish him well and hope his new venture is massively successful. We know Mark will continue to be a highly active and valued CAS member in the months and years ahead.
NEW CAS Survey for Teachers
02 Jun 2015
Research is being conducted by a PhD student at the Institute of Education to look at how your participation in the CAS online community impacts your classroom teaching. Information from this survey will also be fed back to CAS to help us make improvements to the online community.
The survey will be open for 4 weeks (from 1 June - 26 June). It’s short ( <20 questions) and at the end of each week there will be a chance to win a £25 Amazon.co.uk voucher.
Help us make CAS a better online community for you. Click the link below to learn more and take the survey.
First teachers receive new Certificate in Computer Science Teaching
22 May 2015
The first teachers in the country to have completed the new BCS Certificate in Computer Science Teaching will receive their certificates at a special presentation in Birmingham next month.
The certificate enables teachers to demonstrate their teaching competence in the computer science elements of the new computing curriculum. Devised and implemented by Computing At School (CAS) and accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, the certificate was launched last autumn.
Teaching computing requires a good understanding of computer science as it is taught in school as well as the development of appropriate skills. The certificate provides professional recognition for this. Working towards the certificate helps teachers who do not have formal teaching qualifications in computing but need to demonstrate competence in order to progress and gain recognition. It also helps to consolidate and extend existing skills and support work in the classroom.
Simon Humphreys, National Coordinator, Computing At School (CAS) part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said:
“Computing affects almost everything we do and it is vital that we support teachers delivering the new computing curriculum by helping them gain the skills and knowledge they need to inspire future generations - and ensure they have an excellent computing education.”
Tim Dolan, from The De Montfort School, Evesham who will be formally awarded his certificate at the 2015 Computing At School (CAS) Annual Conference in Birmingham in June said:
“I now feel more confident to deliver the new computing curriculum. It was hard work, but has been a very rewarding experience and I am confident that it will have a positive impact on my teaching and benefit my students.”
“The course was excellent and I would recommend any ICT or computing teacher to apply. It encouraged me to find new ways to engage my students - for example - using Twitter to set homework, answer questions and give feedback. This approach has improved engagement, and hence attainment in the theory part of the AS Computing course where students have traditionally underperformed.”
There are two versions of the certificate, one specifically for primary teachers and one for secondary teachers.
Further information about how to enrol can be found at: www.computingatschool.org.uk/certificate
Switched ON, Issue 17
28 Apr 2015
The latest issue of Switched ON, the CAS newsletter, is now available. The new issue 17 is focused on physical computing and is well worth a read.
Thanks, as always, to our editor Roger Davies, and all the many contributors to the newsletter.
CAS Conference 2015
13 Apr 2015
With its usual mix of plenary talks and over 40 workshops for all phases this year’s annual CAS Conference on June 20th in Birmingham promises to be better than ever! Tickets are only £36 for the Saturday and if you’re coming down on Friday night there’ll be a reception and other activity!
Nearly half the conference capacity is sold out already! Tickets go fast so don’t delay, book your place now.
View draft programme.
CAS Conference (Bham) June 20th 2015
19 Mar 2015
How’s it going? The new Programme of Study came into operation at the start of this year. How has it been? Exciting? Frustrating? This year at the annual CAS Conference we’ll take the time to review what has worked well for both primary and secondary teachers, learn from the mistakes, hear from lots of teachers who have developed some wonderful resources which are working and being well received by their classes.
2014 Teacher Conference June 20
"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)
University of Birmingham, Computer Science Building
Friday 19th June 6pm - 10pm Reception and hackathon
Saturday 20th June 9am-5pm Conference Day
What to EXPECT
- 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?
How's it going? The new Programme of Study cames into operation at the start of this year. How has it been? Exciting? Frustrating? This year at the annual CAS Conferecne we'll take the time to review what has worked well for both primary and secodnary teachers, learn from the mistakes, hear from lots of teachers who have developed some wonderful resources which are working and being well received by their classes
The new A Level specifications are also imminent, there will be several special sessions from the leading exam board s and others on how best to approach these new specifications.
There will be workshops and presentations suitable for all key stages and levels of experience including contributions from those involved in the Primary Barefoot project, Quickstart Computing, Digital Schoolhouse and so much more! The CAS Conference provides an ideal opportunity to find out about Computing including the subject, the pedagogy, find new resources, discuss with others in the same poition as you and 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.
Friday June 20th
Saturday June 20th
The conference will have its usual mix of plenary sessions, over 35 different workshops, the opportunity to network and take home practical examples of lessons and other resources that you can use in your classroom. For example:
- Building on the first year of the new curriculum
- Physical Computing for the classroom
- Where are the girls and promoting careers in computing
- CSUnplugged activities
- Managing the transition KS2 to KS3 with Digital Schoolhouse resources
- Integrating digital literacy, information technology and computer science
- Special themes for A Level teachers
- Debate how to teach programming
- What is a progamming paradigm anyway?
- Minecraft for the Raspeberry Pi
- Assessing Computing
- ... and a whole lot more!
Full programme to be published soon
Paul is an old friend of CAS and the CAS Conference where his workshops have always attracted a full house! This year, on the "main stage" Paul will shre his unique insight into computational thnking for our classrooms and using ideas and resource for encouraging an unoplugged approach to tecahing computer science. This will be a talk not to be missed!
Paul Curzon is a Professor of Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London. He runs the cs4fn ‘Computer Science for Fun’ (cs4fn) project, www.cs4fn.org. It aims to inspire school students about computer science through a series of free magazines, website and school shows. He regularly gives such shows around the UK as well as continuous professional development talks to teachers about the cs4fn approach to teaching. He is Director of the Teaching London Computing Project. He was made a UK National Teaching Fellow in 2010 in recognition of his excellence in teaching and outreach, was a finalist in the 2009 Times Higher Education Innovative Teacher of the year award and has twice won the student nominated Queen Mary award for excellence in teaching.
The Workshop Speakers
In addition, there will be presentations and workshops from some of our many CAS Master Teachers and other experienced practitioners keen to share their knowledge and understanding, including:
Peter Millican, Peter Dickman, Chris Coetzee, Pete Dring, Oli Howson, Manique Wilson, Michael Spivey, Dave White, Trevor Bragg, Christine Swan, Ben Stradling ...
For all travel and accommodation details please follow this link: Local information, i.e. hotels, travel etc.
What DOES IT COST?
NB. Only payment by credit card can be accepted.
For further information either email: Conference administrator or telephone 0121 414 4777
National CAS Survey 2015
01 Feb 2015
Computing At School and the Network of Excellence team are conducting a short survey about the Computing At School community and Computing in schools.
National CAS Survey 2015
The survey will remain open for the whole of February 2014. To get an accurate picture of how CAS is used and how Computing in schools is developing, we would like as many CAS members as possible to complete this. The survey is open to all (including non-CAS members), although there are some questions that are specific to members of CAS and some that are specific to teachers. It should not take long to complete.
For one lucky person each week, there will be a prize of a £25 Amazon voucher!
The summary data will be published by CAS in the spring.
BT Funding extends Barefoot Project in partnership with BCS
19 Jan 2015
With almost 3000 teachers from over 800 different schools in England having received training via the Barefoot Computing Project since its launch last summer, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT is pleased to announce that the scheme is to be extended. BT has agreed to support the project from March until the end of this school year. The project was originally funded by the Department for Education to from Sept 2014 to March 2015.
Led by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT in partnership with BT, and initially funded by the Department for Education - the Barefoot project supports primary school teachers to teach the new computing curriculum which became compulsory in schools throughout England last September. The scheme provides cross-curricular computer science resources and training for primary school teachers with no previous computer science knowledge. The initiative is being supported through a programme of free in-school computing workshops for primary school teachers across England.
Pat Hughes, Project Leader for Barefoot Computing said:
“The announcement that BT is providing funding to extend the Barefoot project is great news. The scheme has proved to be popular so far. As well as training thousands of teachers there have been 6000 registrations to the Barefoot website with 2500 new teacher registrations in the last two months. Barefoot helps teachers understand ideas and concepts such as algorithms, abstraction and data structures, how they occur naturally in many other disciplines that they also teach, and how they can teach them to children starting from age 5.”
School Reform Minister, Nick Gibb said:
“I am delighted that BT is extending the successful Barefoot project, providing innovative support for primary teachers on the new computing curriculum. This is an excellent example of industry working together with schools to support teachers - ensuring pupils leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.”
Clive Selley, CEO of BT Technology, Services and Operations said:
“Computing is a very important skill for BT and through our engagement with schools we’ve seen that children really enjoy it and that it can have a profound impact on other STEM subjects. We’re proud to be partnering with Barefoot Computing and that the workshops BT and other volunteers across England have been involved have been such a success; it’s great to hear from teachers that the programme has boosted their confidence. The programme is due to end in March, but given its popularity to date, BT is pleased to announce it will be working with BCS and Computing At School (CAS) to ensure that it continues to run through the summer term.”
The Barefoot training workshops are run by volunteer professionals from the IT/computing and education sectors, these events introduce the new computing curriculum to teachers and explain the support available to them through Barefoot and other related projects.
Pat Hughes continued:
“This programme of events will help equip teachers with the skills and knowledge needed to incorporate the computer science elements of the new computing curriculum into their lessons. By providing high quality cross-curricular computer science resources for primary school teachers, supported by explanations of the key computing concepts, we are providing support for teachers who may have little previous knowledge of computer science. A lot of teachers are already introducing many of these concepts in to their classrooms without realising it and we want them to see that it’s not as complicated as they may think.”
For more information about Barefoot Computing visit: barefootcas.org.uk
New computing support for teachers
15 Jan 2015
If you’re still getting to grips with the new computing curriculum that started in September QuickStart Computing may well provide essential support and help.
Quickstart Computing is a free CPD toolkit that can help you to plan, teach and assess the new curriculum.
QuickStart Computing is produced by Computing At School and funded by the Department for Education and Microsoft.
QuickStart Computing lets you develop and run CPD and training sessions in your school and cluster to help all teachers with this brand new subject. It includes a downloadable teachers’ handbook, links to resources, online videos and interactive tools.
So, whether you need to understand the basics, assess your knowledge or get inspiring ideas for the classroom, QuickStart Computing is a valuable free resource.
For more information and to access QuickStart Computing visit: www.quickstartcomputing.org
Switched ON! Winter/Spring 2015 published
09 Jan 2015
The latest issue of Switched ON is now available, bursting with 28 pages of content. This issue has a special focus on the ideas of Seymour Papert, father of Logo.
More details are available here.
CAS Scoops Education Award
04 Dec 2014
In recognition of its initiatives promoting computing in primary and secondary schools, Computing At School (CAS) has won the 2014 Informatics Europe Best Practices in Education Award.
The award is a prestigious recognition of a world-class initiative in computing education and is presented by Informatics Europe, the association of computer science departments and research laboratories in Europe.
Simon Humphreys, National Coordinator, CAS, who was presented with the award at the 10th European Computer Science Summit, in Wroclaw, Poland said:
We are delighted to receive this prestigious award from Infomatics Europe. It is fantastic to have our work as a community of teachers and professionals recognised in this way. Computing affects almost everything we do and it is important that children learn about the fundamentals of computer science from an early age. It is therefore vital that we support teachers delivering the new computing curriculum by helping them gain the skills and knowledge they need to inspire future generations - and ensure they have an excellent computing education.
The 2014 Award, sponsored by Microsoft, is devoted to curriculum initiatives promoting informatics education in primary and secondary schools. It recognises a successful teaching effort in Europe that:
- has made a measurable difference in informatics education in schools
- is widely applicable and useful for the teaching community
- has made a measurable impact in its original institution and beyond it
Carlo Ghezzi, President of Informatics Europe added:
The emphasis that the new English National Curriculum places on teaching computer science as a foundational discipline (like maths or science) rather than a vocationally-oriented technology subject is in full agreement with Informatics Europe’s mission, and in particular with our report “Informatics Education: Europe cannot afford to miss the boat” and our Committee on European Computing Education. We know that CAS’s achievements have only been possible through its partnership with BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, together with support from the Department for Education, and we praise the contribution that the organisation has made to the reform of the computing curriculum.
The UK is now, in effect, establishing computing as a brand-new school subject, from primary school onwards. Doing so requires a major, sustained programme of teacher training, and our award is partly based on CAS’s leadership in doing so. The rest of Europe is watching with great interest what the UK has done, and looks forward to observing further progress.
Computing At School provides leadership and strategic guidance to all those involved in Computing education in schools, with a significant, but not exclusive focus on the Computer Science theme within the wider Computing curriculum. Through its network of teachers, local hubs, Master Teachers and University Partners it is providing workshops and resources to support local teachers, and build their confidence and skills for the new Computing curriculum.
For more information about CAS visit: www.computingatschool.org.uk
For more information about Informatics Europe visit: www.informatics-europe.org
For more information about the Best Practices in Education Award visit:
New Issue of Switched On Published
08 Sep 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 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 email@example.com
CAS Resources - help needed
13 Aug 2014
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
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
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.
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