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Through the Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) initiative, AAC&U is helping students, their parents, policymakers, and others understand what really matters in college—the kinds of learning that will truly empower college students to succeed and make a difference in the twenty-first century. Launched in 2005, LEAP is organized around a robust set of essential learning outcomes. The 'Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution' is one of NSF's '10 Big Ideas' that aims to empower U.S. Researchers to propel the science and engineering of quantum phenomena through high-risk, high-payoff projects.
The authors of the BJC curriculum think that computer programming is one of the most satisfying of all human activities—it's generally fun (when it's not frustrating because of a bug you can't find), but it's what Seymour Papert called 'hard fun,' mind-stretching and, because the authority is the computer rather than the teacher, a big change from jumping through hoops. It's a game of skill, like chess, but without the competitive aspect, and with useful results beyond the act of programming itself. That's the best reason to study computer science, and we want all kids, not just the ones who fit the nerd stereotype, to experience our joy in programming.
We also think that computer programs (not just the pictures that programs can produce) can be things of beauty. Yes, programs can also be ugly, if they're long sequences of assignment statements with no structure. But good programmers develop a sense of programming aesthetics. This is one reason why it's so important to us to include recursion in the curriculum: A recursive program can generate a complex, intricate computing process from a very small piece of code, and we remember that revelation as the moment when we discovered the beauty of programs.
It's not easy to preserve beauty and joy when translating a course taught by its authors into a curriculum for widespread use. Too much scaffolding in a project and the joy is gone; too little scaffolding and the student feels helpless and incompetent. That's why the original authors from the University of California, Berkeley, formed a partnership with the high school curriculum experts at EDC (Education Development Center). Try the curriculum to see how you think we did.
The aims of our curriculum are:
- To provide a balanced, accessible and relevant range of learning experiences
- To know our students - their strengths, interests and needs – and use this knowledge to make the best possible personalised offer to them
- To develop our students as learners and as people such that they are confident and able to secure and sustain positive, meaningful and relevant post 16 destinations
- To provide our students with the most up to date information, advice and guidance on opportunities that they will have after leaving
The Key Stage 4 Offer
In developing our Key Stage 4 curriculum, our main aim has been to maximise the chances that, after they have left us, our students will engage positively in education, employment or training. Having been assessed as part of their induction, our students will find themselves on a pathway that is either vocational or academic or a combination of the two.
There are five key elements to our KS4 curriculum:
- Literacy and Numeracy: we place great emphasis on these in all subject areas and, for some, targeted intervention is also applied. Mathematics and English occupy a large part of the timetable.
- Qualifications: all courses taught are accredited. LEAP has consistently been one of the best performing PRUs in London where qualifications are concerned. As well as English and Maths at GCSE or Functional Skills, a broad range of vocational and academic qualifications is available. All of these the qualifications we offer are fully recognised in education and industry and we have sought to offer practical courses that reflect the local job market. We have fully equipped practical resources including a hair salon, a bicycle workshop, a teaching kitchen, a digital music suite and more.
- Enrichment: Another important part of our work on personal development is our Enrichment programme which takes place every Friday morning. This is in its first year and has already included independent travel, self-defence for girls, boxing, rugby and other sports, song writing, photography, street dance and, hugely popular, driving test theory.
- Information, Advice and Guidance: as well as forming a large part of the Achieve course, we go to great lengths to help our students to find the right post 16 destinations, ones that they can access and sustain and that they will enjoy. More than that, we now stay in touch with all our leavers for the whole of their first year in post 16, tracking their progress and supporting them when needed.
Leap Motioneffective Curriculum Ideas Activities