Nicholas Sample, Senior Manager on the Arm School Program (ASP), presents a round-up of recent developments from the team, including the release of teaching and learning resources on the Arm School Program website.
The Arm School Program (ASP) recently ran its second Innovators Competition with the Outwood Grange Academies Trust at a training center near Wakefield. The context of the challenge was an oil spill at sea, which had been cleared up as quickly as possible to minimize environmental damage. During the day, teams of students from 19 schools from across the north of England were challenged to design, build, test, and refine their solutions using an Arm-based device, in this instance a Micro:bit.
As Robert Leeman, Educational Solutions Manager explains:
"The aim of the ASP Innovators Competition is to get students, many of whom struggle to see themselves as technology creators, to work as a team to solve a problem using computational techniques. In the activity, the learners program a micro:bit, not as an abstract exercise, but to solve a real problem using Arm technology as an enabler. We are encouraging learners to prove to themselves that they can do this using STEM."
The 'Oil spill cleaner-upper' activity is also part of a recent collaboration between the Arm School Program, micro:bit Educational Foundation and the Sustainability team. It applies ASP's pedagogical approach of project-based learning to resources that support teachers in delivering the Do Your: Bit challenge in the classroom. The same context was incredibly generative as the basis for our second Innovators Competition.
Tristan Kirkpatrick, Associate Director of Computer Science at Outwood said:
"It is good because it allows students to think about their environmental responsibility and it allows them to think about programming and some of the key STEM elements. Students are going to grow up knowing who Arm are and I think that is important for them, if they want to take their careers into companies like Arm. It just provides that link, which is often missing in many ways."
Watch this space for a follow-up blog with Ben Barnes, Director of Computer Science at Outwood Grange Academies Trust.
This week we are also excited to announce the release of a suite of curriculum-linked resources on the Arm School Program webpages. These enable teachers to deliver the requirements of key parts of the Computer Science curriculum through physical computing. The free-to-access resources on the Arm School Program website apply the same pedagogical approach that is used in the ASP Innovators Competition.
Evidence suggests that, on their own, one-off STEM interventions in schools have a limited effect on the extent to which young learners identify themselves with a possible career in STEM. That is why the School Program combines both Community & Research with Content & Training, helping teachers integrate our project-based learning approach into their everyday teaching.
ASP works closely with schools and Arm partners, enabling them to deliver best practice in the classroom with the shared aim of closing the STEM skills gap.
Giles Booth, Educational Content Manager, Micro:bit Educational Foundation said:
"It has been an absolute pleasure working with the Arm School Program. ASP's approach will inform the way that we develop future resources in the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, especially for older students."