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Simon Peyton Jones Microsoft Research. An amazing year......a rapidly evolving landscape, and a lot to do.

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Presentation on theme: "Simon Peyton Jones Microsoft Research. An amazing year......a rapidly evolving landscape, and a lot to do."— Presentation transcript:

1 Simon Peyton Jones Microsoft Research

2 An amazing year......a rapidly evolving landscape, and a lot to do

3  2008 CAS starts  2008-2011 chug chug chug  And then...

4 "I was flabbergasted to learn that today computer science isn't even taught as standard in UK schools," he said, "Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it's made.“ August 2011

5 We’re encouraging rigorous Computer Science courses “The new Computer Science courses will reflect what you all know: that Computer Science is a rigorous, fascinating and intellectually challenging subject. Long after today’s pupils leave school and enter the workplace – long after the technologies they used at school are obsolete – the principles learnt in Computer Science will still hold true.”

6 “Every child should have the opportunity to learn Computing at school, including exposure to Computer Science as a rigorous academic discipline.” CAS founded 2008 RS founded 1660

7  2010: zero GCSEs in Computer Science  Sept 2010 OCR introduces pilot GCSE in Computing  We have been meeting with all the awarding bodies regularly for some time; they have been supportive and welcoming... but non-committal  Jan-Mar 2012: announcements from  AQA (launch Sept 2012)  Edexcel (launch Sept 2012)  WJEC (launch Sept 2012)  CIE (launch Sept 2013)

8 Amazing media coverage e.g Observer 1 April 2012

9 “So I am also announcing today that, if new Computer Science GCSEs are developed that meet high standards of intellectual depth and practical value, we will certainly consider including Computer Science as an option in the English Baccalaureate.” Michael Gove Jan 2012 Big Deal: Head Teachers (well my HT anyway) pay a lot of attention to EBacc

10  ICT PoS will be dis-applied. Our submission gave evidence that this might lead to schools withdrawing from ICT & Computing.  Monday of this week: “As a clear statement of the importance that it attaches to ICT education, the Government has decided that ICT will continue to be a National Curriculum subject, with new statutory Programmes of Study at all four key stages, from September 2014.”  Contrary to the Report of the Expert Panel on the National Curriculum

11 What has CAS been up to?


13  Now 30 hubs  40 meetings/training sessions since Jan; over 900 teachers involved  New Primary School Task Force  Recognised by Council for Subject Association as the subject association for computer science. ...zillions more things I don’t know about



16  There are hundreds of IT professionals, who WANT TO HELP. (Goldman Sachs, Ocado...)  Do you want them?  How can they help you?  Can you give me some examples of how working with a non-school-teacher professional has worked out for you?

17  Send a substantial Strategic Information Pack to the Head of every state secondary in England.  Wales soon; independents by email; further education colleges soon; Scotland using it for raw material.  Big effort to get it written and sent; please use it!  Main “ask”: join the Network of Excellence. This is our Big Push for the coming year.


19 Apps for Good cs4fn Code Clubs Coding for kids Young Rewired State NextGen skills campaign Technocamps Games Britannia Hack to the future YouSrc Codeacademy

20  Situation unrecognisable compared to 12 months ago. The ice has melted. Everything is in flux.  The DfE is treating ICT/CS as a guinea pig. They are consciously “standing back” to allow “the community” to sort it out. (PS: that means us.)

21  National impact. CAS has moved from being a guerrilla group to an organisation with national impact.  DfE, Ofsted, Training Agency  Awarding bodies  BCS, IET, RA Eng  Grass-rooted. All this is only possible because of the innovative teaching that you are doing in your classrooms

22  Opportunity: to make a decisive lasting change that establishes computer science a proper school subject, on a par with maths or chemistry.  Danger: raised expectations not met, enthusiasm leaks away It’s not enough to hope that someone else will do it. Start a hub. Run a hack day. Upload a scheme of work. Join the Primary Task Force. Whatever. But something. There is only us.

23  Goal: to equip you and your colleagues to teach brilliant computer science at school  The need: a national programme of CPD for computing teachers  The means:  Universities deliver CS CPD to their local schools  Master teachers develop classroom materials, to help other less confident teachers  Share through hubs, web site  Coordination: Simon Humphreys, Mark Dorling, Tom Crick  Work with new Teaching Schools initiative  The challenge: to keep the excitement, commitment, and fun, while scaling up to national scale

24  Re-invigorating computer science as a school subject is so obviously the Right Thing to do!  It is educationally crucial  It is economically crucial  It is so motivating and exciting to teach  We have a fair wind: media coverage, DfE cautiously supportive  Tremendous energy and enthusiasm, within CAS and more broadly (eg Technocamps, Young Rewired State, Hack to the Future, Raspberry Pi,.NET Gadgeteer, etc) “What I'm finding striking as I put together bits for the Newsletter is just how much grassroots activity is being initiated by the CAS community. The number of hubs is exploding and the amount of self initiated CPD being organised is wonderful. This sets us apart from those who spend more time debating than doing. There hasn't been a teachers body like this before.” Roger Davies, ICT teacher, Cumbria

25  Much fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  Starting from zero: few schools, students, parents, governors, recognise Computer Science as a school subject at all  Confusion between (a) the curriculum questions of CS/ICT, and (b) the infrastructure and technology to enhance learning across the curriculum.  Teachers are under-qualified; though they are keen to learn. Major CPD programme is required  Danger: schools will withdraw from ICT altogether, just the opposite of what we all want.  Driver is the accountability system: league tables. How to argue for (hard) CS compared to (relatively easy) ICT. Biggest danger Everyone thinks someone else will do it Raised expectations are dashed We miss the boat

26  CAS has bags of credibility, thought leadership, and heavyweight backing (BCS, Microsoft, Google, Intellect,...)   No office  No staff  Very little money  Just you There is no “them”; there is only us

27 Digital literacy Technology Enhanced Learning Computer Science Information & communication technology KS1 KS2 KS3 KS4 CS A range of qualifications at KS4 ICT

28  Start with schools that are keen  Access to CPD  Share best practice  Supported by BCS, Google, Microsoft, etc.  Help other schools to join in  Get Computer Science into the EBacc

29 Computing: a curriculum for schools Influencing national policy Directly support teachers “on the ground”

30  Need to tell ourselves  Need to tell our head teachers  Need to tell DfE  Need to tell ministers If we say Computing is a discipline, we have to say what it is “Is there a core body of knowledge for Computing that doesn’t change from year to year?” DfE offical, June 2011

31 The same structure as NC Programmes of Study (but in more detail) 1.Importance of the subject 2.Key concepts 3.Key processes (what students should be able to do) 4.Range and content (what students should know) 5.Level descriptors Total 22 pages. (follow the “Documents” link)

32  Focus on fundamentals  Not much change year to year  Not much about Facebook, YouTube, mobile phones  Focus on what the subject is, not how it should be taught  You add the “how”  Initial focus on secondary (KS3, KS4). We are now adding primary (KS1, KS2) in the next few months.  Ambitious but do-able

33 Computing: a curriculum for schools Influencing national policy Directly support teachers “on the ground”

34  ICT teachers are not very good  They are happy with the status quo  They couldn’t teach computer science even if we wanted them to So: we are stuck at Square 1

35  Most teachers live and die for their students: they work nights  Few are happy with the status quo  It’s the biggest sales environment ever. Always going for figures, always going for gold, always going for 100%. ICT is purely there to boost the results in my school, that’s all it’s there for.  I’m afraid I’ve done enough dragging students through qualifications, it’s demoralising and it’s morally wrong, so I’m moving on  Half the year group choose ICT because they enjoyed it so much at KS3, but then KS4 just squeezes the creativity out, it sucks the life out of the subject and they hate it  The exam is just so easy compared to the silly amount of effort they have to put into doing the coursework in order to get basic grades… my kids do no work for the exams and do really well at them

36  Many teachers are longing to introduce computing, but they feel  isolated (seldom more than one ICT specialist in a school)  under-qualified (even specialist ICT teachers seldom have a computer science degree)  under the gun for results (a Computing GCSE will be demanding) But they are keen. Very keen. Very very keen.

37  Annual CAS Teachers Conference (June)  Teaching material, classroom resources  Local hubs  Training courses (residential, distance, teachshares)  Sixth form conferences  Newsletter (once a term)  STEM ambassadors (embryonic)  Teacher-practitioner exchange

38 Computing: a curriculum for schools Influencing national policy Directly support teachers “on the ground”

39  The cat is among the pigeons. Everything is in motion: it is a time of opportunity  The Government is explicitly stepping back and saying “you fix it”  So much to do:  Schools and teachers are beset by FUD  Danger that they’ll simply drop ICT altogether  Crying need for teacher training  And advocacy by parents, governors.. Huge opportunity

40  Join CAS – lurk on the mailing list  Give a talk at your local hub – or help to organise one  Help with Technocamps or after school clubs  Talk to school governors about whether computing is on their curriculum radar  Contribute to infrastructure: Raspberry Pi, Gadgeteer, web presence  Help fix the School Infrastructure Problem (can’t teach programming because the network is mission-critical)

41 There is no “them” There is only us

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