June 29, 2011

Programming Teacher-Practitioner Exchange - Seeking Volunteers

Hello there. Turned out nice again.

Plans for a pilot scheme to connect teachers in the UK who want to learn how to program with experienced practitioners who can coach them are starting to take shape.

The ultimate goal is to give every child in the UK a chance to try their hand at computer programming, and in order to achieve this, we aim ultimately to have at least one full-time teacher in every UK school - primary, secondary and sixth form - who can program to a standard that would enable them to help kids get the most out of their programming experience.

Since several thousand highly-paid software developers aren't about to just drop everything and go and retrain as teachers, our plan is to get the software community to help teachers to help themselves.

If you strongly believe that kids should be programming in school, are an experienced practitioner, and can spare 2 hours a week for about 36 weeks (with breaks for Xmas etc, of course) between September and next June, we'd really like to hear from you.

The pilot scheme will put you in touch with a teacher - preferably someone local to you, but that's not essential - who wants to learn how to program. By the time the pilot starts, we will have established a simple framework of technologies (e.g., which programming languages), programming exercises/problems and books and online tutorials and other guidance for teaching programming at various ages from primary school right through to sixth form. This framework will be organised into "programming grades", much like the grades children take when learning musical instruments. If you are coaching a primary school teacher, you will be focusing on simple and fun programming problems using tools like Scratch and languages like Logo. If you are coaching a sixth form teacher, you may be focusing on quite sophisticated projects of a few thousand lines of code, written using "grown-up" tools and languages like Java and C#. You may also be focusing on simple "grown-up" practices like working in teams, using version control, automating tests and other stuff 16-18 year olds should be capable of mastering.

Our goal here is to progressively raise the bar until kids are tackling the kinds of problems we know kids can, and to make programming at school as fun, challenging and rewarding as we believe kids deserve.

If you're a practitioner or teacher who would really like to participate in the pilot (bearing in mind the minimum commitment, and with the caveat that it will be far from perfect, so you'll need to be flexible and to roll up your sleeves and help us to shape it for the real world), please register your interest and we'll be in touch over the summer.

Ta.



Posted 3 years, 5 months ago on June 29, 2011