Digital Schoolhouse, the not-for-profit programme set up by UK games industry trade body Ukie, is once again open to applications from new schools, bridging the technology and education sectors in this innovative way of teaching computing.
Following the introduction of a new computing curriculum in 2014, Digital Schoolhouse was launched as a free programme to inspire students in computing education to ultimately tackle the digital skills gap. This academic year, the programme confidently hit its 30-school milestone and more growth is expected in 2018, with over 15,000 pupils and 1,600 teachers to benefit from the creative computing workshops and support from the Digital Schoolhouse team.
Benefits of joining the programme includes:
- CPD events
- Personalised support programme for every school
- Funding opportunities
- Direct links with the UK video games industry
- Raised profile within the community
- Being part of a fast-growing network of schools locally and nationally
- Direct contact with a specialist Digital Schoolhouse teacher
- Being part of leading teaching pedagogy
Applications close 31 March 2018, when the Digital Schoolhouse team will then shortlist schools for selection. Once a school becomes a Digital Schoolhouse, a Digital Schoolhouse Lead Teacher (DSLT) is appointed to supervise the programme in their school. To support them, each DSLT will be trained by universities and industry, with free resources and CPD opportunities available, as well as personalised support programmes.
Teachers are introduced to the national network of other Digital Schoolhouses and are encouraged to collaborate with each other to form a powerful and collaborative approach to revolutionising computing education.
Julie Bond, Computing Lead at Ryder Hayes Primary School said: “Digital Schoolhouse has supported teachers across the partnership and helped teachers develop their skills and knowledge in order to help children learn.”
At the start of each academic year, each Digital Schoolhouse writes to their local schools to invite their pupils to attend a Creative Computing Day, plus free and flexible workshops are taught throughout the year by lead teachers to visiting schools.
Mark Ward, Head of Computer Science at St. John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy has been with the programme since its inception and has seen a significant impact on the engagement of his students.
Any student that experiences Digital Schoolhouse loves it. Some of the children I’d met when I lead a workshop at their primary school remember the fun they had by the time I teach them in secondary school. It’s amazing! – Mark Ward, Head of Computer Science, St. John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy
Mark explained: “Any student that experiences Digital Schoolhouse loves it. Some of the children I’d met when I lead a workshop at their primary school remember the fun they had by the time I teach them in secondary school. It’s amazing! I think every primary school should have access to Digital Schoolhouse, otherwise no change within the technology sector can be seen en masse.”
Shahneila Saeed, Director of Digital Schoolhouse, said: “We believe that the next generation is an essential driving force for the UK’s creative digital economy and if they’re to thrive, it is our duty and responsibility to ensure they are aptly equipped.’
“We need to be more visible, reach more children and more teachers. That’s why the backing of the industry and having SEGA and PlayStation on board is so important. They are household names; their names alone will get the students asking questions. And that’s where the power lies. Spark the curiosity within the child so that we can help them satisfy it.”
Dr. Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie said: “Many UK tech companies need to recruit from overseas due to a shortage of UK graduates with the necessary digital skills. Now is the time for us all to work together to solve the issue and ensure that the UK continues to lead other countries in advances in the fastest growing sector in the world.”
Ukie’s Digital Schoolhouse, powered by PlayStation and sponsored by SEGA and Warwickshire County Council, uses play-based learning to engage the next generation of pupils and teachers with the computing curriculum. Its vision is to bridge the gap between industry and education, preparing the next generation for a digital age.
To find out more about Digital Schoolhouse, visit digitalschoolhouse.org.uk.