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Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence and Innovate for Climate Change

Sep 13, 2022
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Climate change is a core feature of Education Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) where themes across learning include sustainability, global citizenship and enterprise, with the aim of offering students the “opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to adapt, think critically and flourish in today’s world”. The Innovate for Climate Change (ICC) course engages in real-world social issues, learners’ personal interests and communities and introduces them to industry approaches and professionals.

We’ve outlined five areas where Innovate for Climate Change supports Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence :

1. Rounded learner

The four capacities of successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors “reflect and recognise the lifelong nature of education and learning”. Throughout the ICC course, young people have the opportunity to develop the skills they need to succeed in education as well as in employment and their wider life. Importantly the ICC course encourages students to create a climate action app based on the needs of a community relevant to them, and to create the app for its identified users employing Universal Design principles on accessibility and inclusion. The premise of the ICC course, and a central tenet of the Apps for Good approach, is that technology can be harnessed for social good.

2. Cross-curricular learning

Of the eight curriculum areas that make up the Scottish curriculum, the course draws out the ‘Experiences and Outcomes’ of the curriculum area of Technologies (Computer Science, Design & Technology outcomes), in respect to digital literacy and computing. Innovate for Climate Change also offers opportunities for cross-curricular work in Sciences (Energy Sources and Processes of the Planet outcomes) and Social Studies (People, Place and Environment outcomes). See the table where we benchmark student attainment against curricula, session-by-session, through the ICC course.

3. Key Concepts

The framework for Technologies outlines knowledge, skills, attributes and capabilities around 13 key concepts/significant aspects of learning, all of which are evident in the ICC course where students explore apps developed for commercial and social purposes and look at how technology can help act on climate change. Students design and develop a working mobile phone app to share with others. The course introduces students to computational thinking, algorithms, wireframes and other processes to help them organise their thinking and work through issues systematically. Students learn to analyse apps and the functions and features they utilise.

4. Skills

Within these key concepts, students develop and demonstrate a raft of skills including: “curiosity, exploration and problem solving skills”, “creativity and innovation”, “skills in collaborating, leading and interacting with others”, “searching and retrieving information to inform thinking within diverse learning contexts”, “making connections between specialist skills developed within learning and skills for work” as well as importantly developed as “awareness of sustainability”.

5. Design Thinking

Throughout the ICC course students engage in industry methods which are utilised in the technology sector, including design thinking. With its five nonlinear stages of empathise, define,ideate, prototype and test, design thinking is highly iterative collaborative. From “Designing, building and testing computing solutions” to “Representing ideas, concepts and products”, a number of key concepts for the curriculum area of Technologies in Curriculum for Excellence focus on design development and innovation. As part of the ICC course, students ideate in teams to generate a range of creative, innovative new ideas for apps using rapid, sprint thinking. They pitch their app ideas to professionals, create prototype apps using the block-based learning tool App Lab and user-test them.

Get started!

The Innovate for Climate Change course is available now and thanks to the generous support of our partners, it is 100% free of charge to schools. We’ve built in a short teacher training session, so it’s easy for you to pick up and deliver. You can access the training via this link.

Our huge appreciation to Chris Aitken, Computer Science teacher from Wick High School in Caithness, for his expertise and guidance in aligning the ICC course to the CfE.

This blog was authored by Dr Emma Posey, Senior Learning Manager at Apps for Good.