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Taking Computer Science and Programming into Schools: The Glyndŵr/BCS Turing Project

Elsevier Ltd
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.05.119
  • Computer Science
  • Programming
  • Computing Curriculum
  • Teacher Training
  • British Computer Society (Bcs) Academy
  • Computing At School (Cas)
  • Council Of Professors And Heads Of Computing (Cphc)
  • Lego Nxt Mindstorm
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Robot C
  • Scratch
  • Picoboards
  • Computer Science
  • Education
  • Physics


Abstract 2012 and 2013 have been challenging years for Computer Science (CS) education in the UK. After decades of national neglect, there has been a sudden impetus to reintroduce CS into the 11-16 age school curriculums. Immediate obstacles include a generation of children with no CS background and an estimated need for 20,000 new CS teachers - existing UK IT teachers being insufficiently qualified and experienced. The Computing at School (CAS) movement has been instrumental in this quantum transition from an IT to Computing syllabus, as have the British Computer Society (BCS), leading UK universities and a number of major international technology companies, including Microsoft, Google, IBM, British Telecom and Facebook.This paper discusses the background to this position and the progress being made to address these challenges. It describes, in particular, the work of the BCS-funded Glyndwr University ‘Turing Project’ in introducing Welsh high-school students and staff to high-level programming and ‘computational thinking’. The Turing Project uses an innovative combination of Lego NXT Mindstorm robots, Raspberry Pi computers and PicoBoard hardware together with the Robot C and Scratch programming platforms. The paper discusses initial objectives and the general approach, describes focused delivery across different age groups and ability ranges and presents results and analysis demonstrating the effectiveness of the programme. Lessons learnt and future directions are considered in conclusion.

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