WASPS – promoting computing to divided communities

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Abstract

The University of Ulster has an international reputation for excellence, innovation and regional engagement, making a major contribution to the economic, social and cultural development of Northern Ireland. The University also has strong ethos on Widening Access and Participation, by targeting “those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, other groups not represented proportionately amongst the Higher Education population, and those with disabilities.” (Widening Access and Participation Strategy 2009 – 12). The School of Computing and Intelligent Systems (SCIS) has engaged in widening access with local schools for a number of years, participating in numerous career events, school visits, placement opportunities and promotional activities, as well as the Seagate Summer School held during summer months for 14-16 year olds. In 2009, the Widening Access in Primary Schools (WASPS) initiative was established as a way to engage with younger children from socially disadvantaged areas, promoting the STEM based subject of computing and encouraging them to think about participation in Higher Education as a natural progression in educational development. Getting to know children who may become future students and graduates of the University of Ulster, and engaging with them in a fun and exciting way should encourage them to think about STEM based subjects positively, sparking interest in studying computer orientated subjects in secondary education and beyond. This paper presents details of the WASPS programme over a three year period (2009 – 2012) with a total of twelve schools (four per year). This programme has engaged with pupils from across the religious divide, from socio-economic disadvantaged areas around the Londonderry/Derry area, and from a varied education level. Evaluation of the project is presented with overall findings of the experience and direction for future implementation of the initiative.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherForum for Access and Continuing Education
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2012
EventFACE Annual Conference 2012 - Widening Access to Higher Education in ‘Divided Communities’ - University of Ulster, Magee Campus, Londonderry
Duration: 4 Jul 2012 → …

Conference

ConferenceFACE Annual Conference 2012 - Widening Access to Higher Education in ‘Divided Communities’
Period4/07/12 → …

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Moffett, S., & Nicell, M. (2012). WASPS – promoting computing to divided communities. In Unknown Host Publication Forum for Access and Continuing Education.