WASPS - HEAR

Report
Demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Skills’ was launched in
the UK (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, (2009) - this
Dr Sandra Moffett, Mrs Mairin Nicell, Dr Jose Santos, Mr Martin Doherty
School of Computing and Intelligent Systems
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‘The Demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Skills’ was launched in the UK (Department for Innovation, Universities and
Skills, (2009) - this report concluded that UK employers often report
difficulties in recruiting STEM qualified staff perceiving a shortage in STEM
skills, resulting in unpredictability of future STEM industry development
In 2008, e-skills IT and Telecoms Insights (2008) claimed that while the IT
industry was buoyant, companies stated difficulty in attracting IT graduates,
with larger organisations citing quality of applications received as a
contributing factor. Even when applicants possess sufficient skills to secure a
job, new recruits often have skills shortfalls, with 70% lacking technical skills,
30% business skills and 31% interpersonal skills
Employability projections in 2013 estimated that 141,300 new entrants to the
workforce will be required each year (until 2020) to replace both existing
workers and meet expansion needs
2000 new computing graduate opportunities in Northern Ireland each year
(Momentum)
• The University of Ulster has an international reputation for
excellence, innovation and engagement in STEM based areas
– Computer Science Research Institute listed 15th in the UK national
league table for research excellence
– Engineering Research Institute was listed 11th
– Biomedical Sciences came top in the UK (RAE 2008)
• On the Magee campus, further evidence of STEM excellence
– creation of the Intelligent Systems Research Centre
– increase in student numbers
– creation of new Centre of Engineering
• While this news is welcomed by the School of Computing and
Intelligent Systems (SCIS), attracting students to STEM subjects is
challenging (Smith, 2007; Wilson, 2009)
– Marketing of SCIS and courses
– First Lego League competition
– Computing Skill Workshops
– School engagement, careers events
– National events – BTYSE, Engineering week,
BringITon, ICT insight, open days, conferences,
seminars, etc.
– Widening Access By Introducing Programming in
School (WABIPS)
• Widening Access Skills in Primary Schools (WASPS) –
P6/7 (10/11 year old)
• Plan Bee – interactive workshop when in Year 9 (12/13
year old)
• SCIS/Seagate Summer School – week long activity, July,
when in Year 11-12 (14 to 16 year old)
• Placement Engagement in Year 13 (aged 16/17)
• Information Events in Year 14 (aged 18)
• The aim of the WASPS initiative is to stimulate
interest in Science, Technology, Engineering
and Mathematic (STEM) subjects with children
aged 10-11 years (P6 – P7)
• Information
Technologies
(ICT)
skills
development
– University of Ulster teaching and learning
principles
– Northern Ireland ICT curriculum, Key Stage 2
The aim of WASPS is to provide the opportunity for participating pupils to enhance
their skills set in terms of conceptual, creative, marketing, computational,
communication and presentation skills.
Original Schedule
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Launch event - pupils from participating schools attend a launch ceremony, where
facilitators (SCIS staff members) are introduced and the project is explained. In
consultation with teachers, pupils are organised into small groups (4/5 pupils) to
undertake a team-project to develop a topical advertising campaign.
Workshop 1 focuses on idea generation resulting in a storyboard from each group
on their advertisement theme
Workshop 2 teaches pupils to animate characters from images, photographs,
media clips, adding visual and audio features for speech and movement
Workshop 3 takes the animated characters and builds a short movie clip for
advertisement presentation
Support provided in school between workshops
Judging panel
Award ceremony – pupils given opportunity to display work, prizes awarded in
form of ipod touches, shuffles, goodie bags, certificates, £500 for best school
New Schedule
• Launch event – Sandra/Mairin liase with the teacher,
go out to the school to introduce project to the class
• Workshops (4 per school) held in the classroom,
breakout areas for quiet work, laptops preloaded with
software, storage devices for each school
• TiS scheme and PhD students
• Support provided in school between workshops
• Judging panel
• Award ceremony – pupils given opportunity to display
work, prizes awarded in form of mini tablets (or
similar), goodie bags, certificates, £500 for best school
• At the end of three years a total of 477 pupils and
21 teachers from 17 schools had been involved
• Ten teachers and twenty-eight pupils provided
feedback on the project
• The teachers were presented with a short
questionnaire to gain general overview of project
elements
• All questions in the questionnaire were scored
positively (Figure 1) with equal important
awarded to each category (Figure 2)
• Follow-up interviews with the teachers were
conducted on a one-to-one basis
• Pupils provided their comments in focus
groups, this enabled a debate around project
elements to take place, making the children
more relaxed and forthcoming with their
evaluation comments
• Both teachers and pupils agreed that WASPS provided a positive student
learning experience (teaching and learning principle 1).
• While the aim of WASPS was not to directly recruit students (due to the
age of participants), the project did target, support and retain a diverse
range of students (teaching and learning principle 2). All levels of ability
were catered for including disabled children, those with learning
difficulties, those from ethnic and socially disadvantaged communities.
• Content included in the WASPS programme promoted and fostered
creativity and innovation in its curriculum design and delivery (teaching
and learning principle 3). Pupils found the work very engaging and fun
while teachers stressed that skills were being developed which
complimented classroom activity.
• As the WASPS content was very task oriented, learning was promoted
through relevant practice (teaching and learning principle 4). Skills
developed were suitable for the target audience range, and again while
not directly applicable to recruitment and employability the project did
encourage pupils to think about higher education and possible computing
careers when they are older.
School
No of Pupils
No of Teachers
Holy Child Primary School
25
1
St Colmcille's Primary School
48
2
Donemana County Primary School
18
1
Fountain Controlled Primary School
15
1
Nazareth House Primary School
40
2
Ashlea Primary School, Tullyally
19
1
St Eugene's Primary School
30
1
Artigarvan Primary School
25
1
Oakgrove Integrated Primary School
52
2
Gaelscoil Eadain Mhoir
27
1
Ebrington Primary School
43
2
St. Paul's Primary School
21
1
School
No of Pupils
No of Teachers
13
1
Enniskillen Integrated Primary School
32
2
Erganagh Primary School
18
1
St Mary’s, Newtownbutler
18
1
Newtownstewart Primary School
18
1
Ballykelly Primary School
31
1
Long Tower Primary School, Derry
27
1
St Aiden’s Primary School, Magilligan
12
1
St Canice’s Primary School, Dungiven
30
1
TOTAL
562
26
Coagh Primary School
FERMANAGH SCHOOLS
CURRENT SCHOOL
• By establishing relationships with schools, making pupils
aware of University facilities and provisions, these pupils
may be encouraged to undertake higher education at a
later stage
• Getting to know primary school pupils provides
opportunity to maintain contact as they progress to
secondary education
• It is hoped that some of the pupils involved in TIME will
eventually undertake tertiary level education. Based on
the numbers involved in the overall project, if ten
percent were interested in STEM undergraduate degrees,
this would generate 56 new students (£686,000),
however if this project makes a difference to one child’s
future it has been worth undertaking
• Invitations sent to primary schools for
distribution
• One day event (either Good Friday or
beginning of July) on campus
• Lego robots, app development, Makey Makey
• Judging and Prizes (up to value of £50)
• Re-establish relationships
• Information on Summer School
• Invite to provide details for further
engagement

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