Computer Science students are taking part in Oakham School’s first ever Hackathon! The all-day event has been specially designed to encourage and develop students’ problem solving skills and abilities.
Students will be challenged to work in teams to solve a range of different Computer Science conundrums – just as they would in Hackathons that take place in universities and in the commercial world. “Our focus is on fun problem solving. There will be a variety of challenges – some of which will feel familiar, but will encourage students to practise and hone skills they already have,” says Michael Crofts, Head of Computer Science. “Others have been specifically included to introduce new concepts and skills – to encourage students to be brave and not fear a challenge, but to apply skills they have into a new area.”
There are also a series of workshops – which run concurrently to the activities – which aim to support students by equipping them with more knowledge to be able to take on some of the challenges they face.
“Having an entire day allows us to encourage students to think creatively over an extended period of time, as well as being able to give them larger, more complex problems to solve that couldn’t be handled during lesson time,” adds Mr Crofts. “However, it isn’t just about giving students more time to find a solution; the focus of the day is to really encourage them to enjoy the problem solving process, to build perseverance and commitment, rather than fixating on reaching the solution.”
Nearly 40 Form 3 and Form 4 students are travelling to Beaumanor Hall to take part in the event. It is an incredibly fitting location, given it played a key role during WWII, with operatives intercepting German communications and passing them forward to Bletchley Park for deciphering.
Oakham’s Computer Science Department is incredibly well regarded – with a leading curriculum and highly experienced teaching staff. “Our focus is not just to teach coding by using a task-based ICT approach,” concludes Mr Crofts. “Instead we strive to encourage students to gain the skill of Computational Thinking.” The department’s success is evidenced in the number of students going on to study the subject at university – most notably and recently, to Oxbridge.