Case Study - Jane Challis

Here one teacher who has completed the BCS Certificate in Computer Science Teaching (Secondary) describes her experiences.

Jane Challis,
Director of ICT, Abbs Cross Academy

Jane Challis Picture Case Study

Interview with Jane

Why did you decide to enrol for the BCS Certificate in CST?

I wanted to ensure that I had the required level of subject knowledge and pedagogical competency to teach Computer Science at secondary level. The BCS Certificate in CST course offered a supported route that would allow me to learn at my own pace. Gaining recognition of completion of this course in the form of a professional qualification in Computer Science was also an incentive for me.

How did you manage to fit your working towards the certificate around your full time teaching position?

I enrolled onto two of the evening CAS online courses that were offered to support the certificate. These were particularly useful. I really enjoyed both of these courses and gained a great deal from them. The times and dates of these webinars were perfect for me. They were late enough that they did not clash with school and early enough that I was not too tired to be able to concentrate. I was able to work at my own pace on the course. When I had a particularly busy week at school, I worked a little less on my certificate work. The content of the course was so relevant to my teaching that I was frequently able to use what I had been learning in the classroom.

In what way was having an e-assessor helpful (or not helpful)?

My e-assessor was extremely helpful and supported me throughout my studies. He gave me excellent feedback which was at the level I needed. He encouraged me and praised my successes but also stretched me. Duncan marked my work promptly and with great care. He also provided programming support via a forum which was really useful. Nothing seemed too much trouble for Duncan.

Do you think undertaking the certificate is an important part of on-going professional development for teachers?

I do think it is important to have professional recognition for Computer Science teaching particularly if a teacher's first degree is in ICT or another subject.

What do you think you have learned having completed the certificate?

I have learnt a great deal about using unplugged activities and paired programming when teaching Computer Science. Most of all I have really extended my knowledge of Python

Do you feel it will help you in your career?

I do think this Certificate will help me in my career. Schools need to know that their teachers have the appropriate subject knowledge to teach the subject. This is evidence that I have reached the required standard to teach Computer Science at Secondary school. Additionally, as Director of ICT , if I was shortlisting candidates for a Computer Science teaching position at my school, in the absence of any formal Computer Science qualifications, I would be reassured to see that the teacher had achieved a pass in this certificate.

What Jane submitted

Part 2 Project Submission

Computer Science Subject Knowledge Quizzes
I have created a quiz program that welcomes the user; asks the user 10 randomly generated, multiple choice questions that have been written to and then read from a file; returns a score out of 10; writes the user name and score to a different file; generates a traffic light level based on the score achieved and prints a certificate on screen that is personalised with the user data.

Part 3 Project Submission

Using Computing Unplugged Activities to teach Computing Concepts in the Classroom Teaching binary to year 9.

Comments from Jane's E-Assessor

Duncan Maidens, Birmingham City University

From the outset it was clear Jane was determined to fully engage with all aspects of the certificate. Clearly taking advantage of all CPD opportunities she clock up almost 50 hours and was able to reflect on the good and the bad.

At the outset she underestimated the level of Python required, but immediately she recognised this she enrolled onto the Part 2 guided route for Python. On this course she fully engaged in the forums posting queries, thoughts and help on a regular basis. Working through the various exercises, she built up her skill level and got to grips with the range of commands, structure and proper use of functions. This culminated in the hand in of a very credible Part 2 project using a range of commands and concepts. It was a clear demonstration of the skills she had.mastered.

Her part 3 project was clearly defined and well constrained and explored how children best learn some aspect of Computer Science. With this focused approach and clarity of direction she was able to drawn clear conclusions and thus reflect on her own teaching.

An exemplar teacher!