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Computing expertise to shape new generation of programmers

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27 June 2012

Computer scientists from Glyndŵr University will teach computer programming to pupils from seven schools in north Wales after winning a prestigious education award.

The university is one of just 31 organisations in the UK, and the only one in Wales, to receive an Education Bursary from the British Computer Society (BCS).

This year more than 200 educational institutions applied for one of the bursaries, launched by the BCS to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, one of the founding fathers of computer science

The award, worth £1000, will fund an outreach programme which will see academics from the university visit schools in Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire in partnership with Techniquest Glyndŵr.

Using Lego robots from Techniquest, pupils will be taught the basics of computational commands and witness how altering computer codes affects the way robots act and move.

The pupils will then be set a challenge over a set number of weeks, with the opportunity to update their work and track their progress through a website which will accompany the project.

Professor Vic Grout, academic leader for computing at Glyndŵr University, said: “Awards from the BCS are exceptionally hard to get as competition is so fierce so this is excellent news for the university.”

The project will tie in with Glyndŵr University’s role as the north Wales hub for Computing At School, a BCS-backed scheme designed to promote the teaching of computer science at school.

Education secretary Michael Gove recently announced a radical overhaul of the computing curriculum in schools, with a stronger emphasis on computer science rather than information technology.

Professor Grout added: “For the last 20 years we haven’t been teaching proper computer science in schools and it’s been a disaster. The UK has fallen behind the rest of the world in this respect. Now that we are working towards teaching programming and other key computing skills at GCSE level, the whole industry will benefit.

“Pupils will have more advanced skills at A-Level as well, and then, when they come to us, we will be able to teach higher level skills again – producing graduates who are properly qualified and experienced, and ready for the workplace.”

For more information about Computing At School click here.

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