Technocamps, a Swansea University outreach project, is supporting children across Wales who don’t have internet access by producing 3,000 activity workbooks and resources so they can work at home on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) if their school is closed because of COVID-19.
Technocamps has been working across its hubs in Welsh universities to provide digital resources, activities and workshops for schoolchildren in Wales since the beginning of the pandemic. Following feedback that not all children have easy access to these resources, Technocamps posted 3,000 bilingual activity packs to secondary schoolchildren across Wales to work on in their own time, requiring little or no support from parents or teachers.
While schools are closed there is the real possibility that children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can fall behind with their schoolwork. This has prompted Technocamps, an outreach programme that delivers STEM-based workshops to secondary schools in Wales, to produce physical resources to help pupils keep learning. The programme primarily targets pupils who are less likely to show aptitude towards STEM subjects and those who are less interested in studying these subjects.
The packs contain three workbooks with the themes Cryptography, Computational Thinking, and Geometry with Paper. All activities can be done at home with only basic resources such as paper and pens, and do not require internet access. Activities are aimed at all abilities and the pack includes up to four hours work.
Professor Faron Moller, Technocamps Director, said: “We have always been keen to reach the disadvantaged and to ensure a fairer Wales. The workbooks have been a great initiative to include all pupils and to plug the gaps in provision due to a lack of resources.”
Victoria Price, teacher at Ysgol Greenhill, said:“This is a great resource for our Key Stage 3 pupils who don’t necessarily have easy access to the internet. At a time when we as teachers are so busy planning and adapting, extra support with our lessons has been invaluable.”
Technocamps is a pan-Wales programme with hubs in every Welsh university, funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund and HEFCW. They offer free virtual workshops in Welsh and English, tailored to teachers' needs to support the delivery of the Computer Science and wider science curriculum. They also provide free training and CPD opportunities for teachers to upskill and address shortcomings in computing education.
Normally, participants can either take part in school or with a community club or visit Technocamps’ purpose-built outreach classroom on the University’s Singleton Campus. These hands-on workshops aim to bring STEM to life, whilst giving pupils a chance to meet the Technocamps team and get a taste of University life on campus.