Teaching Computer Science at Ada
Tina Götschi, our Head of Computing, on our approach and her role as teacher and facilitator.
I first heard about Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, through colleagues who worked in Digital Transformation for corporate clients, but who always had a passion for all education in the digital sphere. When I met Tom and Mark, Ada’s founders, I knew the college was something I wanted to be involved in as it was a groundbreaking effort to change the way we educate young people to be skills ready and job ready for the future. The skills we teach at Ada, although they have Computer Science at the heart, are not exclusively about learning to code, or learning to create digital products, but rather about problem solving, thinking skills and being a successful lifelong learner. Our values include creativity, curiosity, collaboration, resilience and rigour — all crucial, we believe, to a successful and fruitful career and future life for our students.
The importance of digital skills in today’s workplace and society in general cannot be underestimated. We teach the new BTEC in Computer Science as the range and scope of projects that our students undertake give them a chance to see the huge variety in digital from social media, to IT systems security, to building computer systems, networks and databases, to game design and development, to user interface and user experience design all the way to the impact of Computing on society. In each of these projects we have a strong industry presence in the way of talks, workshops, visits and challenges. Underpinning the course curriculum are the three strands that reflect the element's potential employers are looking for - Technical Entrepreneurial and Creative skillsets, that are developed alongside the theory and practice of computer science, including programming, fundamentals of computing systems, software development and project management.
As a teacher of computer science, I teach the range of these subjects, but as Head of Computer Science my role is more of a facilitator of learning, utilising both my networks and Ada’s various Industry links to bring the real world into the classroom and the students out into the real world. I work collaboratively with industry partners to shape students learning experience and develop and deliver workshops that all students to explore the full breadth of, say the Gaming sector or the Cyber Security sector. We are incredibly lucky at the College to have great founding partners who are willing to give of their time and expertise to give our students the benefit of their expertise as both successful IT professionals and as adults who have negotiated their way through their careers and have some great advice to impart.