Computer Science Education Kits

A massive change is coming to the ICT curriculum, a subject that the government has now deemed irrelevant. As of September 2014 ICT will no longer be taught, instead the new subject of Computing will replace the old ICT syllabus.

This change has been implemented with backing from heads of industry. The department of education has said that it hopes the proposed changes will help England retain a competitive edge in the global digital economy.

The implementation of Computer Science may look attractive form an industry point of view; however what does it mean for teachers and pupils who have little or no experience of programming or understanding how a computer works.

Like myself, most teachers will have to learn this new subject as we teach it. The department of education has promised to release the complete new curriculum in autumn 2013, leaving only a year to prepare.

One of the problems I foresee is that the majority of pupils will have no parents, uncles, aunts or family friends with any computer science experience. This will make teachers the only port of call for any queries; hence it is vital that we really know this new subject inside out. Personally I feel that the sooner we get to grips with what will be expected of us the fairer it will be on the pupils and the less chance for any nasty surprises.

So what am I doing to prepare for the new curriculum? Firstly I have looked into the new technologies that have kick started this change. The name on everyone’s lips is the Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi was released in February 2012 with the aim to attract more students into computer science at university, it has been recommended by companies such as Google for use in schools. What is the Raspberry Pi? It is a very small computer which can be plugged into a monitor and keyboard.

The clear set out and well laid out diagrams makes the Raspberry Pi ideal for teaching the components of a computer. It also has built in programs for spreadsheets, word processing and playing videos. While these functions make it a useful computer the main attraction of the computer is how easy it is to program.

While on its own the Raspberry Pi could be used to implement the new computer science curriculum there are companies who have been working with the Raspberry Pi to make computer science more exciting to teach.

By allowing pupils to program an object they can see and interact with, the real world applications of computer science can be quickly realised.

The hands on approach to computer science will be sure to demystify a subject that has for too long been taught only in universities. Any fear of an unfamiliar topic of study is likely to be forgotten as the pupils are swept away with an enthusiasm to program a robot.

These kits are specifically designed to be ready straight out of the box and intuitive for new users who are unacquainted with technology. They are also great entrance to further computer science studies for both boys and girls.