Students Staff

20 August 2012

Computing short course for Eastern region’s secondary school teachers

Professor Simon Lucas with teachers on the short course

The School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering has piloted what may be the first of a series of short courses aimed at secondary school teachers in the region.

A total of 12 schools took part in the pilot course which focused on computer programming, as this is a subject area identified as a priority for secondary schools by the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove and Science and Universities Minister David Willetts.

The course covered different programming languages C++, Java and Python and got participants to apply the knowledge gained to the theme of natural languages.

The course proved more popular than expected, and the School is looking at developing further courses covering other subject areas within computer science and electronic engineering.

The organisers Dr John Woods, Dr Sam Steel and Dr Udo Kruschwitz were taken by surprise at the popularity and demand for 'teaching teachers' and are actively engaged with Essex County Council to procure funding in this area.

Head of the School Dr Maria Fasli said: “We value our links with schools in the region and want to work with them to promote excellence in computer science and electronic engineering.

“The Government says computer science needs a higher profile in secondary schools and this was our chance to help schools in our region to achieve this.

“Our academics are lifelong enthusiasts for their subject, who are pleased to have the opportunity to help schools prepare the next generation of computer engineers and computer scientists.

“This also offers us a chance to develop a dialogue with schools about the future of their curriculum.”

The School is one of the largest and best resourced in the UK and recognised internationally for the quality of its research.

Academics delivering the initial course included Keith Primrose, Prof Simon Lucas, and Dr Norbert Voelker, as well as the organisers.

The schools taking part included Chelmer Valley High School, Clacton Coastal Academy, Clacton County High School, Colne Community School, Great Baddow High School, Hylands School, Moulsham High School, New Rickstones Academy, Newstead Wood School for Girls, Notley High School, Philip Morant School and Plume School.

Teacher Monica Cooper said: “It has been a very successful course with good resources. It is nice to have the chance to try things out and learn programming in this environment.”

Fellow teacher Chloe Garwood said: “The academics know so much about their subject, but they manage to make difficult ideas sound very simple as they can break things down so well.”

For more information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 874377.

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