Schools urged to join drive for tech literacy

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Half of Scottish primary schools have signed up to a drive to boost tech literacy in the classroom in its first year.

The Barefoot Computing Project works with primary teachers to help them develop the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to teach computer science.

The programme, supported by Education Scotland and led by BT in Scotland, 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.

Education Scotland on Tuesday wrote 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 said: “It is estimated that around 90% 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 capitalise on that.

“Beyond this, we know that digital technology can truly enhance and enrich the learning experience.”

More than 1,000 Scottish schools and 3,300 teachers have registered to use the project’s online resources, helping more pupils make the most of lessons with a computing element.

During 2018, teachers working in remote and rural schools will also be able to take part in live, interactive online workshops.

Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland said: “We’ve made great progress with Barefoot since our Scottish launch a year ago, with 50% 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% 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.”

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