Case study:
Bridging industry digital skills gaps through teacher CPD

TechPathways London was a two-year project to bridge the gap between the digital skills acquired in education and those required by London’s digital and creative industries. It offered a programme of free training for educators working with young people aged 11-24. Funded as part of the Mayor of London's Digital Talent programme, the project was a collaboration between the Connected Learning Centre and Queen Mary University of London.

Bridging industry digital skills gaps through teacher CPD

The challenge

TechPathways London sought to help educators to develop their digital skills and to increase knowledge of, and access to, London’s diverse and growing digital sectors. Working closely with industry partners across London's digital and cultural sectors, the programme provided those working with young people the tools to support the skills development required to succeed in the modern workforce.  The project resources helped educators improve their own digital skills and better understand the digital careers landscape that their young people are entering. In doing so, we ensured that the guidance shared with their young people is relevant, informed and up-to-date. Armed with this knowledge, London’s young people are able to make more informed choices about digital training and careers, setting themselves up for success.

Our approach

Project resources on the website included:

  • Blog - containing up-to-date labour market information, features and interviews with people working in London’s digital industries. These include multimedia editor at Shamini Bundell, product manager Waleed Arshad and founder of Dr Holly Powell-Jones. 
  • Unconscious Bias Toolkit - this resource provides educators with a framework to identify, challenge and mitigate bias within their setting, with particular focus on gender and technology. The toolkit is accompanied by the online course Using the Unconscious Bias Toolkit.
  • Face-to-face courses - these live courses run in-person or, since the pandemic, as video conferences. Courses have included G Suite for Education in collaboration with Google Education, Game Design in collaboration with Digital Schoolhouse, Digital Careers and Education in collaboration with Mark Martin and a film careers festival in collaboration with BFI. 
  • Online courses - these courses are hosted on the site for participants to take whenever convenient and will be accessible until April 2023. They include Code Like a Pro – Scratch for future software developers, Creativity with iMovie and The Future of Work produced in collaboration with Nic Ponsford and the GEC.
  • Briefs - practical classroom challenges created by industry and education professionals. These include critical literacy, online media law and digital making.
  • Fortnightly newsletter - featuring upcoming courses, latest labour market information and opportunities for young people.

Our impact

TechPathways London was highlighted as an EdTech 50 organisation, an accolade that recognised our "massive scope".

Over the course of the project we worked with 986 London educators from 637 organisations. We engaged with educators through short courses, in-depth courses, briefs and events, including:

  • 53 unique live/in person events, with an average live event rating 5.58 out of 6
  • 19 online courses and 7 challenge briefs, which are still available to access online until April 2023

We also built up a network of industry experts who shared their knowledge and advice in courses, briefs and 23 interviews, in which they shared their paths to success and the digital skills that have got them there.

Feedback from educators was overwhelmingly positive:

“This has been exceptional in regards to my own knowledge of career pathways for my students.”
– Educator attending Guardian - Careers in Digital Media

“The training was delivered excellently and was able to demonstrate how fun, accessible and creative the software is. I think the young people will enjoy experimenting with this very much and can facilitate their learning in a creative way.”
– Educator attending Audio Editing and Podcasting course

“I will definitely be exploring the teaching of coding and developing my own skills.”
– Educator attending Y6-7 Computing Transition Project

“[I] will definitely implement everything I learned to run workshops with the girls I work with.”
– Educator attending Film Making with Mobile Devices

“[I have] better knowledge of careers and how students and teachers can look beyond the traditional routes.”
– Educator attending Guardian - Careers in Digital Media

And as for the impact of the work on the learners educators work with, you told us it will be:

"Massive. It will enable us to use tools to engage the disinterested population of the class."

“Learners will be able to share their thoughts with each other, document their ideas as well as create and share content. It will boost their digital skills and engagement with their learning.”
– Educator attending Intro to: using collaborative tools

“Learners will have the opportunity to enhance their programming skills and use mathematical topics within programming.”
– Educator attending Scratch Maths event with UCL

"Before any training or teaching exercise I can now use numerous techniques to assess knowledge and plan exercises tailored to the amount of support needed by the group, as well as using more real scenarios/stories or acting to make concepts stick better."
– Educator attending the Industry Pedagogy course

"The involvement of different subject experts coming together to present varied course, with no one individual having all the answers. It was thought provoking, and often asked questions rather than answered them. It promoted creative, thinking minds and didn't patronise teachers as some CPD courses can."
– Educator attending the Digital Art and Design course

"The children will understand why we learn animation and where it can lead to."
– Educator attending the 3D Animations course

What next?

The resources on the TechPathways London website will remain live until April 2023 so educators will still be able to access industry interviews, challenge briefs and online courses. 

Our project partners at Queen Mary University London have written a research paper on one of the TechPathways courses, the Introduction to programming pedagogy for IT professionals. It has been submitted to a computer science education conference and the QMUL team hopes that: 

“our work will be cascaded onwards by those who read our research and those who attended the professional development so that TechPathways London can continue to improve the teaching and learning of digital skills for young people both in London and across the world."

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions. 

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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