The University of Birmingham - School of Computer Science
Teaching Computer Science in Schools
Academic Year 2017/18
2. Overview of the Module
2.1 How does it work?
This is a 10 credit module available to final year BSc and MSci/MEng students. It closely follows the general structure of the national Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS). The module has three components:
2.2 What might you learn by taking part in it?
You may be interested in a career in teaching and in this case this module is an opportunity to find out whether this is suitable for you. If you apply for a PGCE course after graduation then having done this module will be a big plus in your record. The University of Birmingham now offers a PGCE in Computer Science as does Newman University.
Even if teaching is not where you are headed, the module offers the opportunity to learn some unique transferable skills, many of which are difficult to exercise in the other modules:
2.3. Your Time in the Classroom
Every placement is different and it is not possible to predict the arrangements at the school you will be working. Primary schools are very different from secondary schools, and the interpretation and implementation of the computer science syllabus depends on school and teacher. In general, schools are reluctant to put you in GCSE or A-level classes because they are very cautious about disturbing students' preparations for the national exams. Consequently, most placements are in Year 9 (age 14) classes or lower.
As a rough guide, you can expect the placement to evolve in three phases:
In addition to regular teaching, you may be asked to run a lunch-time or after-school club, or you may be asked to offer training to the other teachers, or you may be invited to give a presentation to sixth formers on life as a university student.
The assessment for this module consists of four components:
3.1 The weekly school experience log (20%)
You are required to record your nine placements by filling in a log sheet after every visit. Here is a template in docx and in LaTeX format. This should take you not much longer than 10 minutes. Submission is via Canvas (Mondays, 11 o'clock). For each complete logsheet two marks will be awarded.
During the first six weeks, you must on two occasions augment the log sheet with a more detailed report on one particular topic. Which topic you choose for this is up to you. Some suggestions:
The possible six points for the detailed report are on top of the two points for the log form.
In each of the final three weeks, you must include in the log sheet the lesson plan you constructed in preparation for the lesson you taught that week.
The possible twelve points for each lesson plan are on top of the two points for the log form.
Total points possible from the weekly reports: 18+6+6+12+12+12=66.
The log sheets are due by Monday, 11 o'clock. Please submit them via Canvas.
Late penalties: If the log sheet is submitted late, a mark of zero will be recorded.
3.2 The end-of-module report (30%)
This report is meant to be written at the end of the semester, after the placement has finished. You should describe the project, or sequence of lectures, that you developed and delivered in the final three weeks. You should describe your initial ideas and how they were shaped in discussions with your tutor. You should then describe how the lessons went and how the pupils reacted to your teaching. You may want to reflect on your lesson plans and how they worked in practice. You should likewise evaluate on your teaching and what you would do differently if you had to teach this subject again. You may also want to comment on the overall experience of taking part in this scheme.
The report should be about 2000 words long, and is due Monday, 23rd April, at 11 o'clock. You should submit it via Canvas.
Late penalties: For every day that the report is late, 5 out of 100 will be deducted until 0 is reached
Fourth Year MSci/MEng students can only enrol in the extended version of the module. This has an additional learning outcome: demonstrate an understanding of educational research as it pertains to Computer Science. This is assessed by an additional 1000 words in the end-of-module report which reports on and discusses a published piece of work from the area of computer science pedagogy. I will make suggestions and help with the selection. This part of the report will contribute 10% to the module mark while the 2000 words section that is common with the BSc version of the module will contribute 20%.
3.3 Presentation (30%)
You will have to give a short (10-15 minute) presentation to the rest of the class at some point in Revision Week (23rd - 27th April), the exact date will be determined once the rest of the timetable for that week has been established. You are free to base your presentation on your overall experience or on your own three lessons as described in your end-of-module report.
For MSci/MEng students the brief is exactly the same, in other words, your presentation should not include the findings of your investigation into educational research. This is to make it easier to compare the presentations among each other.
3.4 Teacher-mentor report (20%)
As noted previously, a report will be written by the teacher-mentor. This will take place after you have completed your school-based half days. Questions which the teacher-mentor is expected to answer include the following:
4. Classroom resources
5. Our Schools in 2017/18
Other schools taking part in previous years