Lincoln takes a lead in developing Computer Science in secondary schools

The School of Computer Science (SoCS) at the University of Lincoln has taken a lead in helping secondary schools to develop their computing curriculum. It has become one of the Universities that constitute the “Network of Excellence” – this is a set of hubs connected to the schools that operate in their region. The driver for this is the recent government change to the teaching of computing subjects announced by Education Minister Michael Gove (shown above).

Head of School Dr David Cobham explained “for many years secondary schools have focused on ICT – the use of office-type application software such as spreadsheets and databases to deliver the computing curriculum. The new approach is to put a clearer focus on programming, computer hardware and problem solving in the teaching of technology in schools. The idea is that this will build up the knowledge economy and exploit the UK’s abundance of talented people who can build the software we will need to compete in the global economy of the future”.

The initiative will involve SoCS staff working with local teachers to help them up-skill to be able to deliver the new curriculum. It is also planned to provide teachers with novel ideas to fire their pupils’ imaginations such as by sharing SoCS expertise in robotics or social networking, and by running events and competitions for local schools. Longer term, it is hoped that this involvement will lead to much closer links between the local schools and the University of Lincoln. “One issue we are hoping to address”, says Dr Cobham, “is the relatively low number of girls who choose technology subjects at school. We hope to encourage more girls to stick with the STEM subjects as they choose their options and carry forward that interest, possibly leading to  a University application”.

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