BAREFOOT COMPUTING PROJECT REACHES HALF OF SCOTTISH PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN FIRST YEAR
BT launches campaign supported by Education Scotland to extend Ayrshire schools’ engagement with tech literacy project.
Half of Scottish primary schools have signed up to an initiative to boost tech literacy in the classroom in its first year – and today a campaign was launched to reach more schools in Ayrshire. The Barefoot Computing Project works with primary teachers to help them develop the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to teach computer science. Supported by Education Scotland and led by BT in Scotland with BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, the programme provides free workshops and resources for teachers, including Gaelic content. In the year since its launch, volunteers have delivered 210 free workshops to 3,000 teachers across Scotland, reaching around 82,000 Scottish school children. More than 1,000 Scottish schools and 3,300 teachers have registered to use Barefoot’s online resources, helping many more pupils make the most of lessons with a computing element. In East and North Ayrshire, around 50 per cent of primary schools have signed up on the website or taken part in a workshop, rising to 66 per cent in South Ayrshire. Across Ayrshire, more than 280 teachers have registered to use the resources. During 2018, teachers working in remote and rural schools will also be able to take part in live, interactive online workshops. Today, Education Scotland has written to all primary head teachers to encourage more schools to take advantage of the programme, designed to fit with Curriculum for Excellence. Alan Armstrong, strategic director at Education Scotland, told them: “It is estimated that around 90 per cent of jobs across the UK require an element of digital skills. As time goes on and technology becomes more prevalent, that figure is likely to increase. “This is why we must take steps to ensure that our children and young people have the digital skills required to capitilise on that. Beyond this, we know that digital technology can truly enhance and enrich the learning experience. “Technology is an integral part of the lives of our children and young people and I’ve seen some wonderful examples of it being used in classrooms right across the country. With your support, we can ensure that all pupils benefit from increasing confidence, competence and creativity through computing.” Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “We’ve made great progress with Barefoot since our Scottish launch a year ago, with 50 per cent of schools now able to access resources to boost computing confidence, competence and creativity in classrooms nationwide. But naturally we want to get that figure as close to 100 per cent as possible. “Computational thinking provides the building blocks of the digital world – like logic, abstraction and algorithms. In an era shaped by tech, these are the core abilities children need. We want to make tech literacy as important as reading and writing from the start.” He added: “Overall, Barefoot has already reached more than 52,000 teachers and 1.5 million pupils. We’d like to thank all the schools and teachers – as well as all the volunteers from BT and beyond – who’ve played a part in this success.” Getting involved with the Barefoot programme is easy and free. Teachers just need to visit the website to register. Barefoot is part of BT’s Tech Literacy ambition and forms part of the company’s long-term commitment to help build a culture of tech literacy for the UK, reaching five million young people by 2020.