Programming is not an easy subject to teach, and learning to teach programming is even more challenging. A recent survey shows that 74% of ICT teachers feel unprepared for new computing curriculum. Programming constitutes up to 60% of the current Computer Science GCSE grade (for students ages 16-18), so our priority is to offer teachers support in this area.
The workshops we held at Edspace recently were a huge success. To our surprise, many attendees came from outside London and some were willing to make a six hour journey for a three hour coding class. As with most events, the key to success was the right combination of engaging content, timing and location.
We used the Codio cloud IDE (integrated development environment) as a programming environment, with a main focus on programming skills (Python) and using open-source libraries (Flask and SQLAlchemy) in the classroom. We shared the code created at the workshops with participants and it was great to see teachers using it with students back at school in the days afterwards.
Teachers have classroom commitments so you have to work around their busy schedules. We experimented by offering a choice of timings for four workshops. Friday morning filled up quickly with teachers who were able to take time off work. Saturday morning was also fully booked, and many teachers mentioned that Saturday is the only day they have for professional development events.
Teachers spend most of their time in classrooms, so we wanted to bring them to a place that would be different yet related to learning and technology. Edspace was perfect in this respect, and the teachers loved the startup vibe. Or maybe it was just the fact that there were no kids running in the hallways?
We hope to be back to Edspace with more coding events for those who train future computer scientists and programmers.
Svitlana Yarmolchuk, Head of Education, Codio