Motivating and Enhancing Computer Science Education across Wales!
What is Technocamps?
Technocamps is a "schools" outreach programme which was established in 2003 in the Computer Science Department at Swansea University- as part of its industrial engagement programme ITWales- to help address the significant drop in undergraduate applications, particularly from girls. It transpired that a lack of interest in the subject stemmed from pupils not having the opportunity to study computer science at school and that this was not just a local issue. Technocamps in now a pan-Wales programme which has University hubs based at Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Cardiff MET, Glyndwr and the University of South Wales.
To-date the programme has engaged with over 35,000 young people in over 1,500 workshops and after-school activities, and has delivered over 15,000 teacher-hours of CPD.
Since its inception, Tecnocamps has been providing hands-on computing workshops to inspire, motivate and engage young people all across Wales. In particular, during the two school years spanning 2014-16, we delivered an average of 9 hours of workshops in 97% of Wales' state-backed secondary schools. With our Playground Computing programme, we deliver day-long interactive workshops in Primary schools, one classroom at a time. During 2016-17 we delivered 175 workshops in primary schools to over 4,000 pupils and their teachers.
With our Technoteach programme we are providing vital CPD training sessions to up-skill ICT teachers in the new computer science curriculum. In particular, we provide an NQF-level 3 accredited qualification, the Certificate in Computing from Teachers, which has seen 30 teachers successfully achieve the Certificate over the past 2 years.
Below you can find out more about the successes of the Technocamps programme:
Annual Robotics and Coding competitions
2 annual competitions are run as part of the programme- Game of Codes and a Robotics competition.
This years Coding competition challenged pupils to develop a piece of software under the theme "Computer Sciensational Superheroes" which asked them to focus on looking into fictional superheroes or real-life science superheroes such as Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, Marie Curie etc.. The final was held at Cardiff University with over 20 teams from across Wales competing. The winning team "E=MC Squad" from Ysgol Bro Edern developed a game, "Smashy Spheres" which used a series of BBC micro:bits to control it! Here's a video of the winning entry.
This year's Robotics Competition theme was "Enabling Ability" where teams were challenged to design and create a robot of the future which can support people with disabilities in their daily lives. Over 30 teams took part, and Glais Primary School was the overall winner having developed a robot to look around an area to find missing hearing aids using a sound sensor.
Robotics Technoclub success!
This year also saw the success of a robotics Technoclub, Team Lightning, from Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, Carmarthenshire who were invited to represent the UK in the annual FIRST Robotics World Festival in St Louis, USA. Team Lightning was delighted to be the very first Welsh team to represent the UK! The team consisted of three year 11 pupils who each had their own key responsibility: Robotics Programming (Edwards Upton), Robotics Development (Ben Dodd), and Project Innovation (Joseph Stadius).
Teachers's Celebrate Qualification Success
On the 5th July 2017, 17 teachers from across South Wales became the second cohort of learners to successfully achieve the Level 3 Certificate of Computing from Teachers as part of a year-long Technoteach CPD programme, supported by the National Science Academy.
The course is accredited by VTCT and is delivered throughout the academic year with teachers meeting once a fortnight to develop their understanding of a range of computer science topics from robotics to Python programming. A strong focus of the course involves preparing schemes of work and accompanying resources so that teachers can use them immediately in their classrooms.
The course has received some great feedback and has positively impact all the teachers involved, Helen Clement from Ysgol Bro Dinefwr commented "My confidence in teaching the subject is much greater. I am also more organised with my resources for delivery to students. The different units covered a broad spectrum of the subject enabling different topics and learning methods to be explored. I have been teaching Python programming and algorithms to Year 10 and 11, used Raspberry Pis with Year 12 and have begun teaching the Little Man Computer to Year 12".
We're are currently accepting applications for next year's cohort, to find out more please visit here.
You can find more information about the Technocamps Programme on our website www.technocamps.com
If you're interested in getting involved please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have an active Twitter account @Technocamps where we post news of our upcoming events.