Communicating Computer Science in Schools

Module aims

In this module you will have the opportunity to support the teaching of Computer Science in a local area school. At first, you will observe the host teacher to help you understand the layout of the school, the teaching and the expecations after which you will take the lead in implementing a teaching project to help teach Computer Science in the school.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Design and evaluate an original teaching project specifically aimed at school children
  • Apply core technical knowledge and practical skills to enhance existing teaching of Computer Science in schools
  • Analyse and reflect on how your teaching skills had progressed   

Module syllabus

The main remit of this course is to help support the teaching of Computer Science in schools.

There are two parts to the course. In Part 1, you will visit a school one half-day a week during the Spring term and act as a teaching assistant. You will be required to keep regular logbook during this phase, which details their preparatory activities, teaching material prepared, and reflections on the experience. Examples of appropriate activities could include computer clubs, introducing interesting programming languages, problem solving, designing robots, etc. It depends on the school involved as well as the student.

Part 2 involves a a teaching project of your own choosing and it is relevant to promoting good Computing practice in school, and again could involve any of the aspects above. This should complement the regular experience and should be planned directly in conjunction with the teacher at the school.

Teaching methods

This module is motivated by the fact that there is a paucity of good Computer Science teachers in school (especially important in the time when this subject has been made as part of the curriculum in schools in the UK). The main aim is to place one you in a local area school to help with the teaching of this subject, while also giving you some practical teaching experience, thus enhancing your skills. In order to ensure that you are well taken care off, you will be placed with a teacher with the school (who will act as a mentor) and you will spend the first few weeks observing them to get a better understanding of the classroom. Once you feel comfortable and gain more experience, you will be able to deliver your teaching project in collaboration with the teacher at the school. We will guide you as and when necessary by providing examples as well as material (such as the CPD toolkit for Secondary Teachers to teach Computer Science in schools). We will also provide training on presentation skills as well as give you an introduction into the school environment and some dos and don'ts. At the end, the final exercise is meant for you to reflect back on how your teaching has gone and what you may have done to improve it.   

Assessments

There are five components to the assessment:

  • Classroom teaching quality (10%), which is based on discussion with and feedback from the schoolteacher
  • Weekly logbook or diary (15%), which assesses your activities on a week by week basis
  • Presentation (15%), which summarises your experience in the classroom, your teaching project(s) and what you learnt
  • Teaching Materials (25%), which assesses the content that you created in order to deliver your teaching project, for example worksheets, teaching aids, code snippets, evaluation, etc.
  • Final Report (35%), which details the whole experience including teaching activities, teaching project evaluation and evolution, personal reflections, and lessons learnt.


You will be provided with feedback throughout the term based on communication with the teachers. You will also benefit from ongoing Q&A with the module leader during your teaching activities. We will also visit the school half-way through the term and you will get verbal feedback on your progress at that stage. You will also receive personalised verbal feedback on the deliverables used to form the final assessment.                                           

Module leaders

Dr Anandha Gopalan