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Returning to Ysgol David Hughes

Picture of Charlie Jones

Since March 2023, I have been gaining valuable insights in teaching, assisting, and presenting at my old high school – Ysgol David Hughes. As a past pupil, I had the privilege to return as part of my day-to-day role as a cyber security degree apprentice at M-SParc. Currently, there is shortage of digital technology teachers in Wales, specifically, there is a major shortage of Welsh speaking teachers in Wales as a whole. Teaching, digital technology, and the Welsh language are just some of things that I am enthusiastic about, and what better way to combine them all together, to help me in deciding my career choices in the future.

Begining in the last half of the winter term, I spent 2 days a week at the school. This was my warm-up stage at YDH, with some lessons spent on observing the psychology of approaching pupils of different key-stages, in addition to their understanding of the subject. I also observed my mentors (the digital tech teachers at YDH) from back when I was a pupil at the school, teaching a variety of topics within the subject. Each pupil had their strengths and weaknesses on certain topics. Some of the topics which I assisted pupils with included identifying fake news, python and scratch programming, understanding malicious cybercrime such as phishing, ransomware, and viruses, and importantly; accessibility of creative work within the digital sector, such as colourblind and contrast importance within the creation of short videos and websites.

I also had some firsthand experience with the sixth formers back in April, as with the help of Digital Communities Wales, we had the opportunity to adapt exercise bikes to help the residents at Hafan Cefni home exercise their physical health, while allowing them to exercise their long-term memory. My responsibility was helping the pupils to compile an Arduino board, which would take the inputs of buttons and the pedals to move an online map street-side view along places that the residents would have experienced at some point in their lives, such as their birth towns, or their favourite holiday destination. By carefully explaining the roles of the software, in addition to the hardware, this allowed the sixth formers to understand other types of systems that they may have not yet encountered, allowing them to understand further projects that may help them with their ideas in the future. Following this, I had the opportunity to view the work at Hafan Cefni, which gave myself, the staff at YDH, and importantly, sixth formers the opportunity to follow the project from the design stage to the real-world implementation. This gave the pupils opportunity to teach the staff at Hafan Cefni how to use the equipment, and gave the pupils experience in public speaking; S4C and BBC were present to document the project, which was broadcasted Wales-wide.

Following a break over the May and June period to complete my own college work, I returned in the first week in July for my final few days at YDH this year. This time, I had the opportunity on delivering some lessons to year 9 and 10 pupils on IoT, something I had been working with as part of my University degree, in addition within the workplace. I taught the pupils the importance of IoT devices, specifically LoRaWAN (due to its open community and reliability) and gave them experience on the planning stage of LoRaWAN implementation. I delivered the lesson over a 100-minute period, spending time explaining the technology, examples that have been implemented at M-SParc, and demonstrating of the different platforms that can be used to control these devices. The pupils then had the opportunity to create a building plan that shows the different building sensors after researching the different sensors that exists to demonstrate their understanding of the topic.

Overall, the experience at YDH has broadened my horizon on the world of education, in additionto my view of the world of digital technology. I want to express my gratitude to all the staff at M-SParc for giving me the opportunity to gain such valuable insight, in addition to YDH staff who supported me on my experience at the school. I also want to express my greatest gratitude to the staff at the digital technology department at YDH who allocated me time to assist within the lessons, the opportunity to take the helm at the classroom, and for guiding me to resources that has benefited me throughout my time at YDH. Thank you very much for the valuable experience.

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Tom Burke

Digital Innovation Manager

Tom used to work at the KFC in his hometown of Colwyn Bay before it mysteriously burned down. He then spent several years “on the lam” in East Germany, where he worked as an animator in Berlin. When the wall fell, Tom came home.

He enjoys climbing and hates ice-skating.