West College Scotland has announced they have received additional funding from The Digital Xtra Fund to launch Coding Clubs into a further three Renfrewshire Secondary schools.
The clubs aim is engaging S1/2 pupils in the use of the BBC Micro:Bit amongst other digital programmes and encouraging them to become more involved in coding.The clubs were launched successfully in St Andrews Academy, Gryffe High School and Gleniffer High School in early 2018.
All of them have been well attended and pupils have enjoyed exciting activities such as making smiley’s, animations & loops and rock paper scissors games using digital tools and coding skills.
Delivered by Microsoft Education Experts, WCS Curriculum Quality Leader David Renton and WCS Computing Lecturer Amanda Ford, working alongside STEM ambassadors from our HNC & HND Computing classes, the clubs have involved a wide range of activities from making jelly babies scream to creating the music from Star Wars!
Colin Deans, Teacher of Computing Science at Gryffe High School said: Our school believes this is a fantastic opportunity to engage pupils in an exciting & brand new project based in computing science. We are also keen to build long-term links with WCS to help us promote Computing Science and engage as many pupils as possible. We also aim to engage more girls in Computing Science and we see this is a perfect opportunity to launch something that will hopefully capture pupil’s imagination and increase female participation in the Faculty.
Lynsey Melrose, Principal Teacher of Business Education & Computing Science, St Andrew’s Academy, said: “Our school is trying to raise the profile of Computing Science as a subject choice in S3, particularly with girls. The clubs have provided the opportunity to raise the profile outside the classroom in a more fun environment. Hopefully the impact will be an increased number of students opting to study Computing Science.”
Steven Gould, Faculty Head, Business and Computing at Gleniffer High School, said: “We are looking for ways to improve uptake and gender balance in Computing Science. We have tried to run clubs ourselves in the past but it’s difficult to find the time to develop a club programme and resources to make sure the experience is really beneficial to the pupils. The structure and support from WCS in has been ideal.
“I think the pupils will get a lot from working with current WCS computing students; more so that from just working with teachers they know. I also think they will benefit from the subject knowledge and expertise in areas the teachers are less familiar like VR and coding for example.”
The college confirmed that continuous Professional Development sessions for Renfrewshire teachers providing learning on use of the BBC Micro:Bit, Virtual Reality and digital making activity, giving them the skills and knowledge to sustain clubs in the future are now under way.
The Digital Xtra Fund is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) that supports the delivery of extra-curricular computing and digital activities to young people, aged 16 and under, across Scotland. It specifically seeks to improve participation of girls and underrepresented groups in digital, dispel negative perceptions about computing science and promote digital as an attractive career path.
For more information on the Digital Xtra Fund and the initiatives its funding supports visit: http://www.digitalxtrafund.scot/.