Student volunteers spread Christmas cheer through technology

Issue date: 20 December 2016

Pupils from Luckwell Primary School proudly display their Christmas Cards.

Staff and students at Luckwell Primary School in Bedminster have been inspired by technology through a student led project at UWE Bristol.

Postgraduate student in robotics Martin Garrad and fellow student volunteers brought a spark into the classroom in time for Christmas, funded as part of the Faculty of the Environment and Technology Outreach Awards. During the session, the student volunteers worked with the children to make Christmas cards with LED lights. Whilst making exciting Christmas cards for the children to take home and show their families, the activity covered core areas of the primary curriculum on circuits and electricity to the delight of teachers.

This activity is just one of a yearlong set of events with the school, with a series of classes for different age groups that all link to the science, ICT and engineering curriculum with exciting, hands-on activities. The activities supported by the UWE Bristol students allow teachers and pupils to get more comfortable with technology, engineering and programming. The school intend to use the materials that the project produces to enhance their class planning, in line with the National Curriculum for all schools in England and Wales.

This in-class excitement is complemented by an afterschool coding club, also run by Martin and UWE Bristol student volunteers. The aim of the club is to give the extra-enthusiastic the chance to work more closely with UWE Bristol student experts to code, build and de-bug their own computer programmes in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Each week the pupils will build on their learning and increase their digital confidence.

Errin Rixon, the Information and Commucation Technology lead at Luckwell Primary School, said, “We are delighted to be working with UWE Bristol on this project. It is fantastic for the pupils to be around role models who can show them that careers in robotics, computing and science are achievable and exciting. The activities are getting the whole school enthusiastic about what technology can do for us, and how our pupils can go on to be part of designing, building or coding new technology in the future.”

UWE Bristol Outreach Co-ordinator Dr Corra Boushel said, “Teachers are expected to prepare young children for the digital world ahead of them, but are sometimes themselves struggling to keep up with new technology. By supporting the school, Martin and the UWE team will be giving these children a fantastic opportunity to have fun with coding, expanding the capacities of teachers, and also developing their own skills in communication and adapting technology for individual user needs.”

Activities at Luckwell Primary School will continue throughout this academic year. The coding club will be open to Luckwell Primary school pupils and run until June 2017.

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