The UEA, Norfolk High Schools, Industry and Norfolk County Council are coming together to help promote computing at school by working with a national organisation called Computing At School (CAS). They are planning a county wide competition aimed at Key Stage 3 pupils and will be running a free evening class for teachers next term to learn Visual Basic programming.
The computing industry is a major part of the UK economy, but there is a shortage of skilled computing graduates. Computing At School (CAS), established in partnership with BCS.The Chartered Institute for IT and supported by many schools and universities, as well as eading industry figures such as Microsoft, Google and Intel, is a grass-roots organisation that aims to change this.
Schools are good at teaching ICT but not necessarily so good at teaching computing.The two are quite different: ICT is mostly about how to use computers, whereas computing is about how computers work - how they are designed, programmed and connected together.
Basic ICT skills are vital for everyone. Computing qualifications, however, are needed by those who want to have a rewarding and enjoyable career in the computing industry. It is these people who will be developing the next generation of computers, software, websites, smartphones, games, apps and a million other things that haven't even been thought of yet.
Computing can also really inspire some pupils. These are typically the pupils who race through their ICT work but find it dull and unchallenging. If you let these pupils loose on developing a new app for their smartphone, however, or developing a new computer game they can play with their friends, then suddenly their eyes light up and their interest is set on fire. Inspiring these pupils is what CAS is all about.
So how can your school help? The best route is to join the Norfolk CAS Hub and come along to one of our meetings. These meetings are open to anyone interested in promoting computing in schools and to keep updated, please join the Google Group
For more information on CAS - see http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/.