Improving technology skills with school visits

Date Posted: 04/05/2017

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Ways you can bring ICT to life for school children, in Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Surrey and beyond.

In the middle of April the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) released the results of a study that suggested that young British workers have poor technology skills compared to their counterparts in other countries.

Its research ranked UK workers as below those in countries like Germany, Canada, Estonia, Canada, Denmark, Austria, Australia, and even Korea in terms of their ability to solve problems using technology.

CIPD’s skills advisor, Lizzie Crowley called for reforms in education, in light of the report.

"It’s crucial that government works in partnership with education providers to address these deep-rooted issues that continue to blight individual and business potential,” she said.

Bringing ITC to life in the classroom isn’t always easy, though. Here are a few ideas for school trips that can give pupils a deeper understanding of the past, present and future of technology.

National Video Game Arcade, Nottingham

At the National Video Game Arcade children can explore three floors of interactive exhibitions and take part in a number of educational workshops. Options include An Introduction to Scratch for Key Stage 2 pupils. Scratch is a visual programming language that allows students to create playable games, and offers a stepping stone to the more advanced world of computer programming. Another possibility is Creative Story Writing with Twine, which lets children create their own online adventure stories and also links to the English curriculum.

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The Centre for Computing History, Cambridge

Opened at its current site in 2013, this museum was established to increase understanding of developments in digital technology. School visits to the centre take pupils through four zones; the main gallery, the games zone, the megaprocessor zone, and the classroom zone. The latter is where workshops take place on everything from Programming using a Raspberry Pi to a Zeroes and Ones session on binary numbers.  

The National Museum of Computing, Milton Keynes

The National Museum of Computing, located at Bletchley Park, houses the world's largest collection of functional historic computers, including the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The museum runs a learning programme for schools that promotes introductions to computer coding amongst young people, especially females, and aims to inspire the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.

Thorpe Park, Surrey

This theme park runs computing workshops for Key Stages 3 and 4. In these sessions pupils look at the Derren Brown Ghost Train ride and learn how digital images are manipulated on the ride. The workshops also give students the opportunity to investigate future technologies.

Apple, around the UK

Apple stores across the country are set up to welcome school groups of all ages. Visits are short, lasting between 60 and 90 minutes. During their time at the stores, pupils are given projects to work on. The form of the project varies depending on what the teacher wants for their class. Discovery and Experimentation visits are an option, though. In these sessions pupils use Apple technology to conduct experiments, overcome challenges and test theories. 

School Travel Organiser's Guide