The University of Birmingham - School of Computer Science
Teaching Computer Science in Schools
Academic Year 2020/21
2. Overview of the Module
2.0 How is this module affected by the Covid-19 crisis?
It may not be possible to run the module at all!
It may be that only very few schools take part in the scheme!
It may not be possible to work at a school!
If placement at a school is not possible, you may need to assist children and/or teachers remotely.
Because of the above, you may have to switch to a different module at short notice!
2.1 How does it (normally) work?
This is a 20 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 work in the classroom, you are asked to run a lunch-time or after-school club, and to implement a programme of work for the club. This year, this may not be possible.
Because of the pandemic, you may have to support the school and the children remotely.
The assessment for this module consists of four components:
3.1 The weekly log (18%)
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.
Late penalties: If the log sheet is submitted late, a mark of zero will be recorded.
3.2 The end-of-module report (32%)
This report is meant to be written at the end of the semester, after the placement has finished, and should be based on your weekly records. You should describe which contributions you were able to make, and how you adapted your approach from one week to the next in response to teacher and student feedback. You should evaluate your work in the school and the contribution you were able to make. What would you do differently if you had to do it 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, 27th 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.
3.3 Poster presentation (30% for BSc, 20% for MSci)
You should prepare a poster (A2) that describes the extra-curricular project you undertook together with your partner. I will organise an evening at which your posters will be displayed and to which your host teachers will be invited.
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. However, the mark will be scaled to 20%.
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 placement. Questions which the teacher-mentor is expected to answer include the following:
3.5 Attendance and absences
This is an unusual module in that attendance at all of its parts is mandatory: training sessions, school visits, and poster presentation.
4. Classroom resources
5. Our Schools in 2020/21