For the past 5 years, Andrew Mulholland, 19, has spent countless hours leading workshops & courses for hundreds of children, with one goal: to teach them what Computer Science is.
Now a 2nd year Computer Science student at Queens University, it 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 has also taught an pilot Minecraft EDU programming with Comptuercraftedu with the school for a number of months and organised a 3 day series of workshops for the full year 8 group on “An Introduction to Programming with Raspberry Pi”
In 2015 alone, Andrew worked with over 3000 students across the UK and in 2016, that number is set to rise further.
For the past 3 years, in addition to teaching (and his own A-levels and degree!), he has worked on a personal project called PiNet designed 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
- Future of Computing conference 2013 (London)
- UK Computing at Schools conference 2014 (Birmingham)
- BETT conference 2015 (London)
- Beltech 2015 (Belfast)
- Digital DNA – Digital Futures 2015 (Belfast)
- BETT conference 2016 (London)
- Raspberry Pi 4th Birthday Bash (Cambridge)
Andrew believes every student in the UK should get the opportunity to try out and experiment with Computer Science, but there is still a long way to go before that can be realised.