When I was a lecturer in the Computer Science department at Heriot-Watt University, one of my favourite courses to teach was Computing in the Classroom. This was a fourth year course where students spent 40 hours helping out in a high school computing class. The students really loved the course, and I enjoyed seeing how much they learned as a result. Now I'm at Edinburgh, in the School of Education, and we're offering a similar course. This time we're looking for Edinburgh based CS/Informatics students to sign up for a course to work with teachers and help out with computing in primary school classrooms. This course isn't credit bearing (so no essays or presentations!) and it is open to students in all years of study. And -let's face it- primary aged kids are soooo much more fun than high school students.
Here's some reasons why it's a good idea:
- Help to inspire and mentor children in the subject you love.
- Show children that computing can be for everyone.
- Explore whether you'd like to be a teacher one day. One of my previous students wrote about the Computing in the Classroom course “The course gave me the opportunity to see what it is like to be a teacher and has convinced me that this is something I would like to do for a career. I understand there are negatives to being a teacher but the joyous feeling you get when someone learns something you taught them can’t be beat”
- Get out of university and meet new people. As one of my students said “Overall the Computing in the Classroom course has been a very positive and rewarding course and it is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. I like the idea of being out in a real-life working environment and doing things out side of university".
- Meet software developers who have also volunteered to help - useful for networking.
- Build your cv. Students from my previous courses told me that they really appreciated the chance to develop their communication and organisation skills, and that employers were impressed by them at interview.