Meet the Student Ambassador Helping ARK Kings Students Take a Byte Out of Computer Programming

STEM Student Ambassador Scott Johnson teaching students at ARK Kings Academy

Meet the Student Ambassador Helping ARK Kings Students Take a Byte Out of Computer Programming

Since January, ARK Kings students have been given the chance to learn a computer language thanks to an innovative partnership between ARK Kings Academy and the University of Birmingham’s STEM crente . We caught up with Scott Johnson, the person helping our students take a byte of computer programming, to find out more.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Scott Johnson and I am currently finishing the final year of my Computer Science degree at the University of Birmingham. Last year, I successfully completed a placement developing software for Blackberry.I have already accepted a software development role based in London after I graduate.

How would you describe your role at ARK Kings and how did it come about?

At the University of Birmingham, all students studying a STEM subject (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are offered the chance to become ‘student ambassadors’ and volunteer your skills at a local school.

My university’s STEM centre worked to pair me with a school that I could teach in. I was fortunately placed with Kings Academy where I have been teaching one morning a week, undertaking 3 different classes for the last 8 weeks and continuing up until Easter.

What have Kings students been learning in your lessons?

I am very fortunate to have 3 different aged groups of students with no previous programming experience. This has allowed me to teach them all from scratch so I can really see the improvement over the course.

I have been teaching the groups the basics of Python, which is a computer programming language. I aim to have them achieve a basic game of naughts and crosses which they would have developed from scratch in Python using the techniques I have taught.

With the lower ability year 9 group,I have moved onto teaching them some game programming in a program called Scratch. This is an interactive tool used to teach the principles of computer programming without getting lost in code.

My aim to help my students achieve a sound foundation in computer programming, For myself, I hope to develop a good knowledge of teaching techniques and learn more about interaction with students and their learning styles. By undertaking this experience, I am learning as well as teaching.

How have you found volunteering at ARK Kings?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I hope that I have inspired some of the students to take up further education in computer science. It was an area that was not available to me when I was at school so I am really pleased to offer it to the current students

I would like to personally thank the school on giving me this opportunity and would definitely recommend the placement to anyone else in my position.

What would you say to somebody thinking about volunteering?

I have the belief that you should try everything you can when you are given the opportunity.It goes without saying that volunteering is a great way of gaining invaluable experience and life skills that will contribute to your prospective career as well as being a really fun activity.

Those students looking to undertake science and engineering based schemes at university should definitely have a look at becoming a STEM ambassador as they give you all the help and support you need. They take out the legwork of finding placement opportunities and provide all the necessary training.