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INSPIRING COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION IN A WIDENING ACCESS CONTEXT WITH TECHNOLOGY

This extended abstract summarises a regional widening access STEM initiative in utilizing computing programming for RaspberryPI, Arduino, Lego Mindstorms and Quadcopter Drones in a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course targeted at IT teachers from schools with a demographic that aligns with the University’s widening access strategy. The full paper, if accepted, will report on the results across several runs of a “Teach The Teachers” programme and tracking their views of Technology Enhanced Learning for Computer Science Education before and after the CPD course.

The paper will firstly address the regional environment and associated statistics that highlight the various achievement gaps. It then goes on to describe the widening access project including a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) “Teach The Teachers” course on Technology Enhanced Learning for Computer Science Education that targeted schools with a high percentage of pupils from the categories at the lower end of achievement. The paper then presents some of the results and feedback from the teachers on the CPD course and highlights how it is influencing their practice in school before concluding with future plans for the initiative.

The outreach initiative has been a success to date and the data indicates that the teachers have left enthused and believe it will help with improving and motivating the pupils in the lower achievement categories. The teachers will be contacted at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 24 months to monitor progress. From the feedback it is also intended to offer further CPD advanced courses in each of the technologies.