It is common to think that once you have a full-time job, your education stops. We believe that learning is a continuous process that you can pursue at any stage of life. We work with a lot of amazing people who have been inspired by their new knowledge of Computer Science and have applied these skills to their everyday lives.
When Ben joined some friends at a Robotics Club in Secondary School, little did he know that it would be the start of his journey into a career in Computer Science. Ben went on to participate in the First Lego League, representing the school in the national and international competitions.
The competition led to more activity and he was soon hooked, participating in workshops as part of his school curriculum. He developed a passion for programming and robotics that he handed down to younger members of the school. He passed on the competition baton and trained and mentored younger pupils.
Ben has pursued his passion for computer science and is enrolled on a degree course at Swansea University and has continued working with the Technocamps team as a Senior Ambassador. He is really keen to inspire young people like himself with little understanding of how to turn an interest in computers and robotics into a career.
“Programming and robotics were daunting to me at first. I thought I had to wait until University to start learning – Technocamps changed that for me. It was a great introduction to Computer Science and it helped me improve my programming skills as I progressed through school.”
Bryn has been a teacher at Bassaleg School for over 15 years and has led the Computer Science team for 5 years. Over 100 pupils take up Computer Science at GCSE level each year.
Bryn believes his connection with Technocamps has been vital to the continuation of the subject in school and often links up with the team for training and CPD opportunities. He is also keen to recognise the challenges: the school has a good uptake at GCSE, it is a very different story at A Level. Bryn puts this down to the perceived ‘difficulty’ of the course, and the outcome of a mixture of low results, overly challenging content, and over-demanding assessment practices.
The whole of Year 8 at Basseleg School undertook our STEM Enrichment programme over the course of a week. We delivered over 100 hours of workshops to over 200 pupils in the year group. The school has reported a significant improvement in the pupils’ willingness to engage with STEM ever since.
Bryn has also been instrumental in helping the team to pilot some new initiatives. In particular, our mentoring programme where Student Ambassadors and Delivery Officers are linked up with pupils from a particular school to help support GCSE and A Level studies.
“As part of the pilot, Technocamps Delivery Officers have been coming into my A Level Computer Science lessons. They have opened up a dialogue with the pupils so that they have another person to turn to for help both inside and outside the classroom.”
When Colette was deciding on a topic for one of her final assessments as part of her teacher training, she was inspired by a Technocamps workshop in her class a week earlier.
Colette is a Year 5 teacher at Ysgol y Castell in Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, and is completing her NQT year. She chose to use the workshop as a basis for a follow up lesson that focussed on creating algorithms using Edison V2.0 Robots. The lesson would lead into a new unit of work on light, so the work with the robots was contextualised appropriately.
Colette differentiated learning outcomes with different levels of skill and challenge. She used pit-stop plenaries to question pupils about their progress and keep them focussed. The questioning was also designed to stimulate the most able learners to work out higher level solutions for any problems encountered along the way.
The pupils remained on task and motivated throughout. Colette’s mentor was impressed, claiming that she had never seen a lesson hit so many teaching standards at once. A great example of how computer science can be embedded into the Primary School curriculum in a cross-curricular context. Needless to say, she is now a fully qualified teacher.
“Learners tackled the coding activity with confidence following a previous workshop. The positive rapport and the challenge provided by Colette promoted high standards of achievement – learners strived to attain their goals with resilience and sustained effort. This lesson met so many descriptors, and Colette deserves to be highly praised”
Fiona is the Head of Business and an ICT teacher at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, and she recently undertook our VTCT course. She follows two of her colleagues who have successfully completed the qualification. Fiona had been thrown into the deep end, having to teach Scratch with no prior knowledge, and learn how to think computationally. She also started a weekly code club at the school. She learnt a lot from the pupils and their passion for programming.
The Technocamps team regularly runs sessions to complement the work that already goes on at the school. Having sat in on one of the workshops, Fiona was keen to find out more.
The school has been incredibly supportive of its staff and has recognised the importance of ongoing professional development. The VTCT course requires a commitment (18 full days over the course of an academic year), but the school and its pupils are now reaping the rewards.
Fiona and her colleagues have been able to take ideas and inspiration from the course and embed them into their lesson plans, revolutionising the way pupils learn about computer science. The course has created a highly skilled department ready and willing to embrace digital learning for the benefit of all learners at the school.
“I now feel that I have the skills and understanding to teach aspects of computer science confidently. I can solve problems quicker and more easily as the Technocamps course has equipped me with the knowledge and experience to provide more challenging and engaging lessons.”
Swansea University’s Degree Apprenticeship in Applied Software Engineering adopts a ‘learn and earn’ approach, combining work and study. For Paul, this apprenticeship was a chance to improve his company’s IT systems and develop his digital skills.
Throughout the programme, he interacted with fellow students from a wide variety of companies all developing the same digital skill set. In his final year, Paul developed his most successful piece of software, which now forms part of his company's financial system. The software identifies and recovers contract variances, which can occur for a number of reasons but mean that a company’s contract budget can change dramatically.
Already in partial deployment, the software has saved the company £70,000, and the Director estimates that it will save £400,000 per year once fully deployed.
Through apprenticeships like this, the Degree Apprenticeship programme proves that Higher Education doesn’t have to end when you get a job. For employers, it shows that collaboration with educators can develop and upskill their workforce, better preparing their organisations for the digital future.
“The programme has given me a wide range of skills which are applicable on a daily basis. For each of the 12 modules, we carried out a work-based mini-project that transfers the knowledge and skills acquired from that module directly into our company. Having such a programme which does this for the broadest variety of companies is a remarkable achievement.”
Casey’s route into Computer Science was an unsual one. She was all set to be a French teacher until the course she'd wanted to study at Swansea Uni got cancelled due to lack of interest. Casey decided instead to study Computer Science (on the assumption it was graphics!).
After discovering it was not graphics, Casey heard of Technocamps and thought it was a great programme to get involved in so she selected a teaching module that was run by Prof. Faron Moller (Director of Technocamps). This allowed her to see computer science being taught in schools and teach it herself. She enjoyed seeing students inspired by a field that they may not have previously considered, like her.
She was also inspired by Technocamps' encouragement of girls into the field as it is dominated by men. Casey then worked as a Teaching Fellow at Technocamps, meaning she got to do a wide variety of things, from teaching 7 year olds how to make robots to teaching 16 year olds how to write programs for their GCSEs and teaching adults modules on their degree.
Her favourite part of the role was creating new workshops, finding new ways to teach and transform something that may seem dull into something students actually want to learn!
“My new job as Lecturer in Computer Science is one I never in a million years thought I would get. My time at Technocamps and teaching on the Degree Apprenticeship has been amazing. I’ve improved my teaching skills no-end and I have also almost finished a PGCHE which I was encouraged to do when I applied for the job. I have no doubt that if I hadn’t applied to be a Teaching Fellow at Technocamps, I would not be where I am now."