We are collaborating with the BCS Academy of Computing and the Scottish Government to provide a range of learning and development opportunities for Computing teachers in Scotland. The Professional Learning And Networking for Computing (PLAN C) project provides support for teaching National 3, 4, 5 Higher and Advanced Higher Computing Science and Computational Thinking in the broad general education phase.
More specifically, PLAN C is:
- Professional Learning And Networking in Computing, a free set of sustained professional learning opportunities available to all Computing teachers in Scotland.
- strongly tied to supporting teachers to develop and refine more active and collaborative methods of teaching National 3, 4, 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Computing Science and Computational Thinking in the BGE in line with the principles of a Curriculum for Excellence.
- a way of giving teachers and their school’s professional recognition and a fantastic leadership opportunity if they become a lead teacher. All cover costs for lead teachers time out of the normal school day will be provided to local authorities although we’re keen to work with you to see if we can make use of some of the existing collegiate time to minimise disruption to learning and teaching.
- funded by a grant to the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, in partnership with Computing At School Scotland to create strong self sustaining professional learning communities with better links to HE, FE and industry.
- a core team of two seconded teachers, Kate Farrell and Peter Donaldson, and one seconded university academic, Dr Quintin Cutts, who will work in partnership with a range of other key organisations to develop and guide this professional learning process. Collectively we have over 40 years experience teaching novices Computing coupled with an understanding of the ways in which the concepts can be taught more effectively.
- focused on evidence based methods to teach long lasting Computational Thinking skills and CS concepts rather than particular applications that will soon become outdated once learners leave school.
Detailed background to the programme
With the government placing increasing emphasis on Scotland’s Digital Future and improving our infrastructure, there’s been a growing realisation that we also need to increase the number of our citizens who have the confidence to become digital creators and not just consumers of other nations’ software and services.
As one part of this wider agenda, the government has therefore granted the BCS, the chartered institute for IT, funding of £200,000 per year for the next two years to create PLAN C to update our understanding of this fast changing field and inspire our learners to master the digital technology that increasingly controls so much of our lives.
The emphasis of PLAN C is on working with teachers to develop long lasting Computational Thinking skills in our pupils and effective and engaging pedagogies, rather than training them in the use of particular applications that are soon replaced as they fall out of fashion or become outdated. An additional unique aspect of this programme is the development of solid self-sustaining teacher communities across the nation, with long-lasting links to HE, FE and industry.
A core part of PLAN C is the development of lead teachers in each local authority who will be able to tailor the various programmes of professional learning to meet the needs of teachers in their local authority.
Initially starting with programme 1. there will eventually be three programmes of professional learning:-
- A programme focussing on Pedagogical Content Knowledge for effective teaching of the new senior phase Computing Science qualifications that develops deep understanding and secure progression to further study in STEM and other disciplines.
- A programme focussing on developing Computational Thinking in the broad general education phase for Primary and Secondary teachers in the technologies curricular area.
- A programme focussing on advanced concepts and techniques in the senior phase to give teachers a greater understanding of the next step in our learners’ journeys.