The University of Birmingham - School of Computer Science
Teaching Computer Science in Schools
Academic Year 2016/17
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 a suitable career path 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%)
At the end of each school visit, you are expected to accurately log your experiences, as this will help provide evidence of your progress, and can be cross-referenced to the teacher-mentor's views during the report-writing process. As well as recording lesson observations, your log should provide details of your individual contributions in the form of a "reflective commentary." For example, when supporting an individual pupil or group of pupils in order to complete a task set by the teacher, describe the task and your role, reflect on how you helped pupils, and consider what - if anything - you would do differently if you were asked to repeat this sort of activity again. Later on in the term, you may be able to take a more proactive part in some lessons. You should evaluate how well pupils react to your own input, whether that was an activity you have developed, or a demonstration or explanation given by you in front of a whole class.
You are entitled to keep your Log confidential from the teacher-mentor, but it will be assessed weekly by me.
Here is some general advice about filling out the Log Sheets:
Important: The log sheets are due weekly, by Monday, 11 o'clock. Please submit them via Canvas.
Late penalties: If the log sheet is 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. It is not meant to be a summary of the weekly reports! Instead, 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, how they were shaped in discussions with your tutor, and what the final lesson plans were (including a sample of the materials you used). You should then describe how the lessons went and how the pupils reacted to your teaching. You should reflect on your teaching and what you would do differently if you had to teach this subject again. You may also comment on the overall experience of taking part in this scheme. Hopefully, your weekly log sheets will prove useful when reflecting on that.
The report should be about 2000 words long, and is due Monday, 24th 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.
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 (24th - 28th 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 2016/17