Tuesday, September 6, was no ordinary day for fifth grade pupils at Allisonville Elementary School in Indianapolis, Indiana, when two classes of 10 and 11 year-olds experienced an unplugged introduction to computer science as part of Microsoft’s Skype in the Classroom initiative, delivered by Technocamps from Swansea University.
The lesson, which has been developed by the Technocamps team is an extension of the current pan-Wales programme, allowing it to reach to a global audience and engage with pupils from around the world in computer science, through a series of thought-provoking questions and hands-on activities, challenging pupils to think differently about computers and computer programming.
The Technocamps programme, which has already worked with over 25,000 pupils across Wales since 2011, has for the first time engaged with International pupils through the Skype in the Classroom initiative, which is part of the Microsoft Education Community, designed to bring together an online community of experts and educators from around the world.
Professor Faron Moller, Technocamps Director and Professor of Computer Science at Swansea University, said: “Using communication technology such as Skype to deliver sessions to students across the world is allowing Technocamps to engage in a new and innovative way
“We hope to encourage schools to get involved in the Skype in the Classroom initiative to further support their engagement in computer science and other subject areas.”
Mr Steven Auslander, one of the fifth grade teachers at Allisonville Elementary School who arranged the session through the Microsoft Education Community, said: “Two fifth grade classes experienced a wonderful Skype lesson with Stewart Powell from Technocamps at Swansea University. He introduced our students to computer science in a completely unplugged and hands-on manner.
“My kids loved the interactive component to the lesson. I highly recommend this lesson for any teacher who wants to introduce the highly relevant field of computer science in their class, and you don’t need to wait until the Hour of Code!”
Mr Auslander’s class has been actively involved in the Skype in the Classroom initiative, but this was their first time experiencing a computer science lesson.
After the lesson the pupils were eager to share their thoughts.
Betty Harmless said: “I think this lesson was a great experience for both classes. All of the students were active and were engaged. It was the first time during a Skype lesson that all the kids got moving!”
Kennedy Mundy added: “I thought the lesson was well thought out and nicely presented. In the lesson, he got everyone on their feet. He had fun activities that helped us understand coding better.”
Stewart Powell, Technocamps Programme Coordinator, who developed and delivered the lesson, was extremely pleased with outcome.
He said “At first it was a daunting challenge to ensure pupils enjoyed and were engaged with the subject content, however it was an exciting and rewarding experience to deliver a Technocamps workshop through Skype to pupils from the other side of the Atlantic.”
“We’re pleased to be an education partner within the Microsoft Education Community and plan to develop and deliver additional Skype in the Classroom lessons in the coming academic year.”
Iro Steopoulou, Partner Manager and Teacher Liaison for Skype in the Classroom added: “Skype in the Classroom is an online community that uses Skype to connect and share learning experiences. It is an educational programme that aims to remove geographic and economic boundaries to education through the innovative use of technology in a classroom environment.
“We have hundreds of approved Guest Speakers who can bring to life the curriculum so students can interact live with experts rather than just read a textbook. Our aim is to provide students with real-world, authentic experiences that fit the academic content and make learning engaging for the students.”
The Technocamps: Computer Science 101 Skype in the Classroom lesson is now available through the Microsoft Education Community. More information about this lesson can be found at: https://education.microsoft.com/technocamps.
- Friday 9 September 2016 01.00 BST
- Friday 9 September 2016 15.17 BST
- Swansea University, Tel: 01792 295050