Computing is now a part of our daily lives and, in order to reflect this change, the Computing syllabus of the National Curriculum in England and Wales is being overhauled and re-launched from September 2014.
To support the roll out and development of the curriculum, the Department for Education and organisations such as Computing at School are developing a “Network of Excellence” in teaching. GE aims to support this network by enabling employees to run practical computing workshops and Continuing Professional Development sessions for teachers.
Software development is a common theme across all GE businesses and supporting computing offers a different form of skills based volunteering for those from a more IT focussed background.
Despite the best efforts of the education community many teachers still feel unsure about how they should approach the new curriculum. One recent report found that:
- 54% of secondary teachers believed their students knew more about computing than they did
- 74% of "ICT" teachers admitted not having the right skills to support the curriculum
- 96% said they would welcome closer involvement from business to aid them with teaching their students relevant practical skills and knowledge
It is well known that STEM careers are facing a skills shortage in the coming generation, but this is equally true of ICT skills which are vital to the technology industry.
Feedback to a teachers' survey clearly indicated two areas where GE's support would be valuable:
- Help running practical computing workshops in the classroom, particularly at primary level
- Support with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for both primary and secondary teachers
GE has been working with the Royal Academy of Engineering, BT and CAS to best understand how we, as a business can offer this support. GE Healthcare in Amersham have piloted a group robot programming workshop (see video) and a "CPD hotline" which will enable local schools to contact subscribed employees with requests for help, simple or tricky.
We are now looking at the possibility of partnering with BT to deliver the CAS supported "Barefoot Computing" initiative in primary schools.
96% of teachers said they would welcome closer involvement from business to aid them with teaching their students relevant practical skills and knowledge
MyKindaCrowd survey for Computer Weekly