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Where can teachers of computing go for help and support?

Published: Jan 7, 2015 2 min read

Dave Gibbs

STEM Computing and Technology Specialist

National STEM Centre

The greatest source of help for teachers of computing is... Other teachers of computing! The community that has sprung up, through largely organic means, is very strong and the attitude is firmly "we're all in this together".

The education community is benefiting from enthusiasts who have maintained their subject knowledge at a level above that required for teaching the old ICT curriculum, and who are now more than happy to have an audience with whom to share it. Computing at School (or CAS) is the main locus of this activity - in face-to-face Hub get-togethers, and in online forums - but discussion forums abound that involve hobbyists as well as educators such as the vibrant Raspberry Pi community.

While a lot of the recent energy is around coding, there is lots of support across the rest of the curriculum too. Regional broadband consortiums, safeguarding children boards and national organisations such as CEOP are helping teachers with esafety advice. Get togethers such as Raspberry Jams and Maker Fairs are chock full of exciting ideas for physical computing projects, as are local hackspaces. Suppliers of computing classroom technology, such as Adafruit or Pimoroni, offer tutorials and guides to compliment their products. Teachmeets happen across the country, where teachers share their good practice openly and freely in a supportive environment.

The National STEM Centre eLibrary and physical library are growing sources of support for teachers of computing. The building houses technologies such as Arduino, Makey Makey, Shrimp and more, for teachers to get their hands on and trial before investing departmental funds. The eLibrary contains teaching resources from a range of high quality providers, searchable and linked to all key stages. Soon to come, too, is a full program of CPD from the National Science Learning Centre, working as part of the Network of Excellence. Watch this space!

So, computing teachers need never feel they are unsupported. By getting together and sharing, they have created a new subject in the space of a couple of years - something unheard of across most of the curriculum. Onwards and upwards!