WCIT MONITOR Issue 66 Dec 2015 - Page 4

MONITOR NEWS School Pupils are Challenged to get Coding S chool children from across Northamptonshire are being challenged to design a digital game or mobile app in a county wide coding competition. The University of Northampton, Northamptonshire County Council, the Code Club and The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT), a City of London Livery Company, have teamed up to organise the Race To The Top contest to encourage increased and improved teaching of computer coding. The competition was launched at the beginning of October and WCIT Liveryman Michael Hoddy and Freeman David Barker (both pictured left) were very worthy ambassadors for both WCIT and The Livery Schools Link. There are two categories, the first being for primary school pupils in Years 4-6, who will design a game based around saving energy using the coding programme Scratch. This competition will be led by Code Club. The other category is for Year 9 secondary school pupils, who will design a mobile application based around saving energy. This competition will be led by WCIT and the University. Digital Transformation Agreement WCIT & Northamptonshire County Council A panel will judge the entries and choose a winner from the primary school and secondary school categories to be awarded prizes at an event in early 2016. WCIT have very kindly helped to sponsor the prizes for both categories through the WCIT Charity and these include a trophy shield for the school of the winning team and Raspberry Pi’s for each member of the winning team, so to keep on coding. The winners of the secondary school competition will also be invited to represent the WCIT at the prestigious Livery Schools Link Showcase event at The City of London Corporation Guildhall venue in March 2016. Scott Turner, Associate Professor in Computing and Immersive Technologies at the University of Northampton, said: “This is an exciting opportunity and shows coding is creative and fun. Coding promotes problem solving, team-work and analytical thinking – and those who code from an early age will have a real advantage in the future jobs market.” Cllr Matthew Golby, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for families and learning, said: “The council’s Race to the Top strategy, launched in February 2015, aims to raise attainment in schools and it includes a particular focus on improving performance in the science, technology and maths subjects. This coding competition is a great opportunity for schools to work with pupils to enhance their digital skills in a fun and challenging way.” The competition will run from October 2015 to the 8th January 2016. Schools wishing to be involved can find out more by visiting www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/codingcompetition. The Tech Partnership, the skills arm of the Information Economy Council (IEC), has featured our Livery Schools Link lead Freeman David Barker in their #mytechstory campaign - read his story online here: www.tinyurl.com/davidstechstory Page 4 Contributed by Chris Fidler, The University of Northampton