As part of its Skills for Tomorrow programme, BT has teamed up with Computing at School (CAS), to launch dozens of activities, designed to support parents with their children’s digital skills at home.
The series of activities is based on the Barefoot Computing programme, a programme funded and managed by BT in partnership with CAS, to help primary school teachers deliver free, curriculum-aligned lessons in fun and relatable ways. CAS are part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
This Friday (24th April), comedian David Walliams will be showing the UK how to use some of these Barefoot resources in an ad break takeover on STV as part of BT’s Beyond Limits: Top Tips on Tech campaign. This three-week campaign featuring a host of famous faces including TV presenter Rylan Clark-Neal and broadcaster and author Fearne Cotton, has been created to help the nation with the digital skills it needs to get through this unique and challenging time.
David’s lesson sees him inspiring the nation from his own home with ideas for how to maximise home schooling using a variety of digital tools, including Barefoot Zoo; one of the interactive and educational Barefoot games helping children learn about computing.
So far, more than 8,800 primary school teachers in Scotland have already accessed Barefoot, across more than 1,600 Scottish primaries. However, with most children now having to be schooled at home, the scheme has been swiftly adapted to provide new lessons, activities and games.
Content has been developed to be easy for parents to use, with no prior subject knowledge required. Many of the activities can also be done offline without the need for a computer – ideal for managing screen time and digital wellbeing.
A recent BT study revealed that millions of parents across the UK can only spend up to two hours a day teaching their children during lockdown. Just 24% of parents say they feel comfortable teaching IT and computer science, with nearly all (92%) saying they’re uncomfortable with key topics such as coding. It’s likely that many parents will shy away from computing in favour of more familiar subjects.
The new Barefoot content includes dozens of varied activities and games to support parents and carers by inspiring children to think, learn and thrive in a digital world. From making pizza with an algorithm ‘recipe’, to using the power of abstraction to save a struggling zoo, parents and carers will find tailored educational activities to keep young minds busy and curious for hours and hours:
- Learning Together Activities – Downloads that parents and kids can do together based on our expert Barefoot Computing resources for teachers
- Mini Missions – Thirty quick, fun and easy ideas to introduce children to key computing concepts at home
- Interactive Learning Games – Imaginative online games that help children explore computing concepts independently
- Weekly ‘Computing at Home’ YouTube Live classes by schoolteacher and Barefoot Ambassador Dr Jon Chippindall
- Computational Thinking quick guide for parents, with a simple introduction to key skills taught through the national curriculum
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, said: “As a parent myself, I know how challenging it can sometimes be to balance working from home with entertaining and educating the kids. That’s why BT – with our key education partners – is supporting families to keep kids learning in these difficult times. This exciting new computing content, as part of our Barefoot programme with Computing at School, can really help parents, grandparents, and all carers to inspire their children to discover and explore the world of computing.”
Julia Adamson, Director at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, said: “We are passionate about ensuring that every child has a world-class computing education. However, BT’s research has shown that computing is the subject that parents feel least comfortable with. Given the current challenges, it’s even more important that families are given as much support as possible in this area. The new Barefoot toolkit will help parents keep their children stimulated, engaged and progressing, even if they’re unfamiliar with computing themselves.”
Skills for Tomorrow is a major new programme designed to empower 10 million people by giving them the skills they need to flourish for the digital future. Everyone is included, everyone is welcome, and no one is left behind – from school children to the older generation; from young adults looking for employment, to SMEs looking for growth.
BT continues to collaborate with leading digital skills organisations, such as CAS, to collate the best courses and information, in one easy to navigate place. All it takes to get started is to visit www.bt.com/skillsfortomorrow.