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Computing At School Conference June 2018
Top: Shahneila Saeed, Head of Education UKIE, Digital School House delivering the keynote.
Top: Shahneila Saeed, Head of Education UKIE, Digital School House delivering the keynote.
Bottom: Stephen Howell, Microsoft, discussing developing Computational Thinking through Microsoft MakeCode.
Bottom: Stephen Howell, Microsoft, discussing developing Computational Thinking through Microsoft MakeCode.


The 5th annual ‘Computing At School’ (CAS) Conference was a celebration of the outstanding achievements this year of CAS in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to yet another full attendance at the event, Dr Irene Bell started the day by introducing the ‘British Computer Society IT Educator of the Year’, Mr Eamon O’Hare, from St Malachy’s High School, Castlewellan. Both runner-ups, Dr Caroline Pereira-Lynch from St Catherine’s College Armagh and Mrs Beverley McCormick, Newbuildings Primary School, were also warmly congratulated by their fellow teachers.

Conference attendees also celebrated the success of 42 teachers in Northern Ireland who, thanks to a Google Educator Award, will receive a full bursary to undertake the Guided Route of the BCS Certificate in Computer Science Teaching. The resources created by this project will be made available to all teachers in the province free of charge and the newly qualified teachers will each be mentoring another school in their learning community.  The third piece of news to celebrate was the addition of another two Digital School Houses (DSH) in Northern Ireland. Conference attendees welcomed St Mary’s College, Derry and St John the Baptist College, Portadown into the DSH group. Digital School House has been a major success in the province, and even more exciting was the fact that the Head of Education for UKIE Digital School House, Shahneila Saeed, was the keynote speaker at the event. Inspirational, captivating and exciting were some of the words used to describe Shahneila’s talk. When you can get 100 teachers at the end of June to play ‘Cat, cat, mouse, mouse’ and chase balloon cheese round a lecture theatre in explaining how to make a computer game … then you know you have a winning speaker!

The day was filled with the latest ideas in teaching computing in schools at all levels, not forgetting a full day of support for our secondary teachers in learning programming language Python. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) gave the after lunch talk. Teachers were eager to learn more of the exciting opportunities that exist within cyber security. Staff from the NCSC have promised to return in the Autumn term to support Northern Ireland teachers even further in this crucial aspect of computing and digital literacy. Last year St Catherine’s College Armagh were the UK runners-up in the NCSC CyberFirst Girls’ Competition. Next academic year we want the winners to come from Northern Ireland!

Thanks must go the UKIE Digital School House, Citi and PwC for supporting the event.

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