Charity works to improve computer science education

The David and Jane Richards Family Foundation has appointed a new technical advisor to help approach changes to the teaching of computer science in the UK

The David and Jane Richards Family Foundation (DJRFF), founded by WANdisco CEO David Richards, aims to transform the way computer science is taught in classrooms and focuses on data science to give young people the ability to understand and solve real-world challenges.

Around 50 pupils have started the course at Sheffield’s Tapton School, the first institution to work with the foundation and David’s alma mater.

Joachim Dreimann has recently been appointed by the foundation as technical advisor to its programme of work advancing the education of computer science in state schools.

Dreimann, 32, is product manager and user experience lead at WANdisco, the Sheffield and Silicon Valley-based public software company founded and led by David Richards.

He will advise the UK-registered charity on the development of its educational work against a backdrop of education funding cuts and skills shortages in the tech sector.

His knowledge and understanding of computer science attracted attention inside and outside the company and he started lecturing on the subject of Open Data at Sheffield Hallam University.

Dreimann has also mentored start-up companies in Yorkshire, providing practical advice on growth strategies at the crucial early stage.

At WANdisco, he leads the user experience team and is responsible for designing the user interfaces of all of the company’s revenue-critical products worldwide, working with the product managers and company leadership.

To be able to make good decisions, you need data. Being able to understand that data is really important. You need to ask the right kind of questions. I’m not sure that’s taught enough in schools.
– Joachim Dreimann, DJRFF

He said: “I am passionate about technology education from primary school to university and beyond, and am excited about becoming technical advisor to the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation.”

“To be able to make good decisions, you need data. Being able to understand that data is really important. You need to ask the right kind of questions. I’m not sure that’s taught enough in schools.”

“I became interested in computers when I was 8 years old. My father’s office had a computer and when people weren’t at work, I would write choose-your-own-adventure video games.”

“When I was 11, I started designing websites – my favourite was space-themed, featuring information from NASA’s website and a big picture of a space shuttle taking off. At high school I particularly enjoyed a project running a virtual business and the real-life learning opportunities that this afforded.”

“You can learn so many valuable lessons about life through computer science and we need the next generation of young people to be confident with data.”

Dreimann is advising the foundation on curriculum development. Its first course for 13 year olds is underway and studies how performance can be improved through the use of data analytics.

David Richards said: “We are delighted that Joachim Dreimann has joined our foundation as technical advisor.”

“He has a deep knowledge and understanding of computer science and open data and is passionate about education at all levels.”

“We are certain he will make a very positive impact on our work as we scale up our programme to advance the education of computer science in state schools.”