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Sheffield Hallam University unveils computer workshops

Kayleigh Bateman

Sheffield Hallam University is running a series of computer programming and robotics workshops to teach local school children and their teachers computer science skills.  

Sheffield Hallam University’s department of computing and teacher education is running the interactive teaching programme and workshops.

The workshops are being part-funded by bursaries from the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Participating schools include Notre Dame High School and Stocksbridge High School in Sheffield; Lady Manners School and Hope Valley College in Derbyshire; and Tupton Hall, in Chesterfield.

Natalie Vernon, 13, a pupil at Hope Valley College, learnt how to programme small robots to carry out simple tasks. As part of Sheffield Hallam University’s workshop, Vernon programmed the robots to carry a Malteser chocolate without dropping it, in a race.

Vernon said: "Programming the robots was hard but fun. I had never done anything like this before and I enjoyed learning something new."

Keith Burley, head of the department of computing at Sheffield Hallam, said skills in computer programming are more important now than ever. 

“The range of career opportunities in the computing industry has increased to cover newer areas such as computer games, digital media and web development," said Burley.

"These fun, practical workshops will equip schoolchildren with the knowledge and skills they need to study the new computer science curriculum, as well as inspire them to consider the exciting opportunities in computing."    

Teachers are also learning how to teach computer science and programming.

Phil Spencer, senior lecturer in the department of teacher education at the university, said: "The new focus on teaching computer science in schools means that teachers need to be able to teach programming skills and the use of modern software development tools.

"The series of workshops, and the master's module, will help them as their schools move to the new GCSE curriculum in computer science."   

Warwick University most digitally savvy

Warwick University was recently crowned the most digitally savvy university in the UK.

Warwick University crowned the top 20 universities in the UK for computer science and IT, according to a study by Virgin Media Business. The survey looked at the use of intranets, virtual tours and social media presence to attract new students.

Newcastle University and University College London (UCL) came in a close second. 65% of the universities surveyed used new media to communicate with their students.  

Ken Punter, head of digital and online communications at the University of Warwick, said the university is honoured to receive the title.

“Digital communication is a key medium, not just for addressing students and potential students, but for a vast range of international audiences crucial to a globally connected university such as Warwick.”


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