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Communicating computer science to children - apply now for roles as writers and editors

Friday 30 May 2014

Learning Development are working on a summer project to develop a website and app to help primary school children learn about computer science. You don’t need to be a computer science student to get involved in the project – you just need to have an enthusiasm and interest in making computers accessible to children. All ideas need to be submitted by Friday 13 June and successful students will receive payment for their work. Find out more about the project.
 
The Context:

The School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science has for a number of years been producing highly successful magazines for students at secondary school and their teachers. These are called:  ee4fn, cs4fn and Audio! – and you can find them online as well as in print copies.

Now, to support the introduction of Computer Science into the primary school curriculum, we are planning to develop a website which introduces children (roughly aged 8-11) to computer science ideas and applications.  We’re also planning to launch an app populated by tweets that encapsulate Computer Science facts and allow users to rate and rank the most exciting of these (based on the FactFight app already developed in EECS).

The Work:

You don’t have to be an EECS student to take part, but of course you will need to show understanding of aspects of computing. We’re looking for around 10 students to write and edit the content for the website and the app. Students will work in  2 teams of 4-5 - remotely and/or face-to-face. Team members will produce 100-150 word pieces (mainly using existing cs4fn articles as a source) that are accessible and engaging for the target readership (8-10 year olds).
They’ll also turn these into 140 character tweets. Each piece/tweet will be peer reviewed by the team as a whole, and the team  will collectively decide when a piece is ready for submission.  Each team will need to work out a procedure for staying in touch and managing the process.

For examples of the kind of writing we are looking for, please see our prototype website: http://abitofcs4fn.wordpress.com/

Timescale:

Over the summer – between the end of exams and mid-September.  All work by the selected teams must be completed by the start of term to qualify for payment.

Payment:

Conditional on a minimum of 5 submissions that pass editorial review, each writer-editor will receive £150. Additional submissions will receive £15 each, up to a maximum payment of £240 overall. To qualify for any payment we will need to judge them of sufficient quality to go on the website.

Support:

Professors Paul Curzon and Peter McOwan, together with Learning Development’s Tim Morgan, Julian Ingle and Sally Mitchell, will be available to support the teams in setting up their procedures, managing peer review and judging quality.

To Apply:

Please send us a 100-150 word version of an existing cs4fn article (on any topic; see: http://www.cs4fn.org/) aimed at a primary school audience and using the prototype website as a guide. Please also send a 140 character tweet on the same topic, and a short statement of your interest and availability during the summer. Include details of how we can contact you: your usual email address/ mobile phone number.

Please send your application by email to: p.curzon@qmul.ac.uk, s.mitchell@qmul.ac.uk, and t.morgan@qmul.ac.uk. Closing date for applications: Friday 13 June.

The top 40 applications (considered to be serious attempts) will receive a £10 Amazon voucher. Only one application per person.

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