Sunday 24 June 2012

The role of the teacher – facilitating expert advice by Peter Kemp

“98% of Google engineers were exposed to computing at school”

Peter started his talk with this statistic to re-emphasise the fact that we cannot simply expect students to learn computing at home on their own, they must be exposed to it at school. But what happens, if as an ICT teacher you have little/no computing skills. Well to start with, it’s never to late to start learning. Peter started learning Blender a Free 3D animation program which is similar to Maya /3D Studio Max. He then exposed his students to it and they created this stunning animation for the Manchester University Animation Competition. Based on Peter’s introductory course as to how to make a cup, students taught themselves and relied on Peter’s network to create their animation in less than 3 months:

Peter’s expert which helped facilitate the course was called Tom. He is a Doctoral Researcher in AI at Queen Mary Universtiy. Of course, this was a great help, but what if we don’t have a large network?

1)     Sign up to CAS and attend your local CAS hub
2)     Sign up to which links professionals with school. There is no shortage of professional volunteers, but there is a shortage of schools! Computing Plus Plus also do CRB checks for you through STEMNET.
3)     STEMNET Has lots of groups such as BT IT ambassadors, Girl Geeks, Video Games Ambassadors, E-Skills UK. Which will all be willing to offer help and advice for your students
4)     Your local university
5)     Universtiy Ambassador Scheme e.g. KCL and 15+ other universities have student volunteers doing outreach work with schools all over the UK

Peter’s advice for how to write to professionals is to simply be bold and ask. People are looking for solutions, not problems. Give them a date and what you need from them. The worse they can say is “No”.

Peter restated that for Outstanding computing, we need just 3 ingredients:
1)     Experts
2)     Teachers
3)     Resources

All of these were outlined in his excellent talk.

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