Primary school pupils in Wales set to become creators,not just consumers of digital technologies

Year 5 & 6 pupils (9-11yrs) from Casllwchwr Primary, Loughor, Swansea are set to take part in fun, hands on computer science workshops on 16th September, all without the use of a computer.

Playground Computing’ is a new primary programme borne out of the successful Technocamps project based at Swansea University. It is funded through the Digital Makers Fund – a fund backed by Nesta, Nominet Trust and Mozilla.

The project, which will run across South Wales, will focus on three different topics, Hardware, Data and Programming and will teach young pupils conceptual computer science principles through a variety of activities, tasks and games in a fun way.

It will provide an ‘unplugged’ version of teaching computer science that will detach pupils from the idea that computing involves using a computer as a tool.  The free lively workshops will drive home the message that computer science is about technological thinking and understanding and looking into the how and why computers work.

Professor Faron Moller of Swansea University said, ‘This project provides a perfect platform for younger pupils to start thinking about computer science as it will offer a fantastic opportunity for them to develop their computer science skills.  This will inevitably ease the transition process of Key Stage 3 pupils into secondary education and will prove valuable for pupils since, as of this year, computer science has been introduced into the secondary curriculum.  This project will give them the head start they deserve.’

‘Our aim is to plant the seeds of computer science into the next generation and inspire the digital makers of the future.  We want to enthuse and encourage young people to be creators and not just consumers of technology.’ 

The Technocamps initiative has proven to be very popular with both teachers and students in Secondary Schools across Wales and as a result is now expanding the services it offers to the younger generation. Due to an overwhelming demand for primary support, Technocamps secured funding from the Digital Makers Fund to deliver this exciting new programme to young people across South Wales.

Simon Pridham, The LIFE Programme Manager, added, ‘This collaboration with Technocamps is vitally important in engaging Primary School pupils with computer science.  The programme will also act as a pathway for the next LIFE academy cohort, which will take place Summer Term 2014.’

Amy Solder of Nesta said, “Together with Nominet Trust and Mozilla, Nesta created the Digital Makers Fund to help more young people create rather than simply use digital technologies. We’re delighted to be supporting Technocamps in achieving this by extending their offer into primary schools in Wales. We believe there’s a big potential pay-off to be won from greater digital confidence and skill; not just for the young people themselves but also for our ever more digital economy.”

Whilst pupils will not be using computers in class, they will be able to follow up with these activities by using technology. 

Next month teachers and pupils from across South Wales will be invited to come along to an event that will provide hands-on taster sessions showcasing what the Playground Computing project can offer schools.  In addition, there will be sessions from other projects from the ‘Make Things Do Stuff’ campaign funded by Nesta, Nominet Trust and Mozilla.  This will also be supported by the LIFE Programme in association with City and County of Swansea.

For more information on Playground Computing and to find out how your school can sign up to the project, please contact Bethan Evans, Primary Pupil Delivery  Officer on 07718250828 or email bethan.evans@technocamps.com alternatively visit www.playgroundcomputing.com and follow us on Twitter @playgroundcomp