For the past 4 years, Andrew Mulholland, 18, has spent countless hours leading workshops & courses for hundreds of children, with one goal: to teach them what Computer Science is.
This all began in 2010 when, at the age of 14, he founded his school’s robotics club. Since then, the club has had over 200 children pass through it, building all manner of projects under Andrew’s careful instruction – from an internet connected pill dispensing robot to a quadcopter made of cardboard! More recently, Andrew has worked tirelessly to bring the Raspberry Pi computer into classrooms across the UK. As a result of his use of this credit-card sized computer to simplify computing education in classrooms, he was awarded a prestigious Gold CREST award by the British Science Association. Furthermore, he has delivered a pilot programme designed to teach secondary school teachers in Northern Ireland innovative ways of using the Raspberry Pi in the classroom alongside STEMNET NI and W5.
He has worked with a number of Northern Irish schools to work on introducing Computer Science to students. Most recently, he was worked extensively with Victoria Collage in Belfast with a group of 20 year 9 students for 4 months on their First Lego League Robotics Competition entry. A competition they went on to win in Northern Ireland and represent the province in the UK finals.
He also has run a pilot 3 day series of workshops for the entire year 8 on “An Introduction to Programming with Raspberry Pi” and now teaches 2 timetables ICT classes in the school and runs a weekly Minecraft coding club.
In 2014 alone, Andrew taught over 1200 students across the UK in Computer Science.
For the past 18 months, in addition to teaching (and his own A-levels and degree!), he has worked on a personal project to make using the Raspberry Pi in classrooms even easier. His free, open-source software helps significantly in schools of all sizes by migrating the storage of data to a central server hosted by each school, rather than on each Pi – this both simplifies management, and saves the school money on extra SD cards, making the Pi an incredibly viable option in classrooms. Furthermore, Andrew has also spoken at several technology and education events, including the “Future of Computing” conference in London, BETT conference with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the UK Computing at Schools conference in Birmingham and at BETT – giving a talk to over 60 teachers about teaching Computer Science through the use of robotics in the classroom!
Andrew believes every student in the UK should get the opportunity to try out Computer Science, but right now, the majority don’t ever get a chance.