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What a busy year it has been for the computing department!

21 May 2018

Many of our students have been developing new computing skills from subject specialists in the primary school and our first cohort of computer scientists have comfortably sat their final IGCSE exams. 

What a busy year it has been for the computing department! Many of our students have been developing new computing skills from subject specialists in the primary school and our first cohort of computer scientists have comfortably sat their final IGCSE exams. 

British International School Hanoi ICT in focus
The Computer Science course we offer at IGCSE is proving to be quite popular amongst our students, doubling the number of entrants since its introduction last year. We are also excited to be introducing IB Computer Science in the next academic year, which is also proving to be a popular option for our students.

We recognise that all of our students should leave BIS Hanoi equipped with a set of core technical competencies, including document production; presentational skills; analyzing and manipulating data using spreadsheets; and creating and using databases. However, it must come as no surprise the IT sector is booming and there is less of a demand on office-based skills and a bigger emphasis on program development and problem-solving. In fact, problem-solving is the most important aspect of computer science. 

British International School Hanoi ICT 2018
Our new primary curriculum has placed more of an emphasis on the computing skills whilst primary classroom teachers have been developing the use of technology in their own classrooms, encouraging our younger students to become confident users of technology. In years 1 and 2, students have been learning how to control an on-screen character using some basic programming techniques such as repetition and conditional statements. In year 3, students have demonstrated their versatility by using a variety of languages to control onscreen objects. They have also started to learn some key subject terminology. Years 4 and 5 have demonstrated excellent programming skills using both block-based languages such as Scratch and Blockly, with year five using the popular JavaScript language to code. Finally, year 6 have been consolidating all of their programming skills but also developing their analytical skills. They have been researching and collecting data, recording and manipulating the values using functions and formulae and have then learned how to present it in the forms of graphs.  

British International School Hanoi ICT in focus

Mr. Allison will become the Primary Curriculum Specialist next year and is undergoing accreditation in computer science teaching with the British Computer Society. This is a prestigious certificate awarded by the UK’s chartered institute for IT.  We are also seeking accreditation from the UK’s Educational Technology authority and the process involves a 12-month self-reflection where we evaluate the use of technology across the whole school and its impact on student learning. We hope to receive the accreditation early 2019. 
You may be aware of Nord Anglia’s partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop opportunities for our students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM). MIT ranks as the one of the world’s best Universities, and its motto is Mens et Manus, latin for ‘Mind and Hand.’ BIS Hanoi students are going to benefit from this collaboration too, becoming involved in many different STEAM initiatives. 

Currently, some students in years 4-7 are preparing for this year’s Global Codeathon, which will be hosted by BIS Hanoi on June 2nd at 10am. This is promising to be a very exciting event and this year’s theme is life below water, goal 14 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. With over 15 participant schools in Vietnam and across the world, there is likely to be some strong competition. We hope to be live streaming parts of the event so please make sure you follow BIS Hanoi on the Facebook page.
Martin Toner
Leader of Computing