Getting with the programming
15 August 2019
Maths and computer science teacher Kasim Rashid, from north London, explains how attending an NCCE summer school in York enhanced his GCSE computer science teaching and even had an impact on other subjects.
I found out about the summer school programme after asking on Facebook about summer CPD. I had previously done a term-time course with the NCCE but that involved three days out of the classroom with all the preparation and cover that entails. CPD over the summer holidays eliminated all these problems.
The booking process was really simple and easy to use, and having the NCCE cover booking processes like residential and travel costs was a big help.
I really enjoyed the summer school because you explore new ways to teach computer science concepts to students and meet new people in your field where we help each other.
Speaking to other teachers who teach the same concepts in the course gave me an idea of what I was doing well and what I may need to include or alter in my schemes of work at my school by giving me alternative methods.
The combination of face-to-face and online courses was an interesting idea as they both had benefits. The online course let me go through the content at my own pace, while the face-to-face gave me more hands-on experience with practical programming, with concepts explained more in-depth.
The face-to-face sessions gave me a chance to work with other people in the course to solve a problem, something that was hard to do with the online courses, but combining these sessions gave a unique experience of learning in different ways.
I particularly enjoyed the face-to-face programming module, ‘Python programming essentials for GCSE computer science’. Learning the concepts helped me not only understand the basics of Python, but also how programming languages work in general.
At my school, we also run an after-school VEX Robotics club where students build and program robots. The Python module enabled me to help students to program in a language other than Python; I learnt that programming skills are transferable to different programming languages.
At the end of the course, I took, and passed, the test to get the nationally recognised NCCE qualification to teach GCSE computer science. The test was a real challenge so passing it was very rewarding.
I would definitely like to go on more residential CPD sessions. I found them extremely useful in terms of increasing my subject knowledge and pedagogy of computer science by learning practical work with theory. Sharing my ideas with others on the course and vice versa was another really useful activity.