Since receiving his first computer as a gift at age 11 (25 years ago), Leigh Edwards has had an interest in how computers can be a vehicle for creativity, and how varied this can be. He is now a teacher at Hirwaun Primary School near Aberdare in Rhondda Cynon Taf, where he is the school’s Digital Champion, responsible for DCF within the school and is part of the Science & Technology Area of Learning.
Leigh became a Technocamps Certified Teacher earlier this year, upon completion of the Technocamps CPD Accreditation Programme for Primary Schools and Teachers, as well as overseeing the school’s journey toward becoming the first primary school in Wales to receive a Technocamps Gold Award accreditation. The school’s pupils in Progression Step 3 have participated in several Technocamps workshops, delivered digitally and in-person.
When developing the school’s DCF planning and coverage, Leigh carried out a staff baseline survey on teachers’ digital competence. Following that survey, it became obvious that there was a skills gap when it came to the ‘Computational Thinking’ aspect of the framework.
With over 75% of teaching staff becoming Technocamps Certified Teachers, as well as several LSAs, staff now feel more capable, confident and aspirational in this area. It is now Leigh’s role to embed and enrich this further, even targeting the remainder of staff completing Technocamps CPD training.
Some members of staff who carried out the course did so without any previous knowledge or experience of computational thinking. Although they sometimes felt a little overwhelmed, they felt that the Technocamps tutors were reassuring and supportive; listening to their difficulties whilst challenging them as learners.
The teachers were all big fans of Rhys’s teaching. His pace and delivery, patience and support were everything they needed. Rhys provided lots of examples of how to use their learning in the classroom and related the learning to real life scenarios. The teachers now hope to utilise the skills and knowledge gained from the training to support the implementation of the new Curriculum for Wales, and its four purposes, and to nurture learners, problem solvers and creators.
In the future, Leigh would like to support other schools in becoming computer science literate, while developing and embedding these skills further at Hirwaun Primary School.
“I would recommend Technocamps to all schools where a skills gap around computational thinking exists. Through Technocamps, we have been invited to present our experiences at the Education Conference in Swansea, in December.”