The David and Jane Richards Family Foundation has created a free and easy-to-use homeschooling pack to introduce young people to the world of data in a fun and interactive way. 

David Richards. DJRFF 12 February 2020

The education charity has adapted its computer science curriculum for Key Stage 3 pupils to carry on learning at home while households are in lockdown during the coronavirus. 

The material is aimed at 11-14 year-olds and introduces them to some of the ways they can interact with technology in their everyday lives. 

They are encouraged to apply this knowledge to design the concept for their own ‘smart’ product. This could be a new device to support elderly or vulnerable people living alone or an entertaining game to play with their families at home.  

David Richards, the technology entrepreneur, said: “The young people who have been studying our curriculum in schools have come up with incredibly imaginative applications.

“One of the standout concepts from students in Sheffield was a solar-powered hijab for charging mobile phones. 

“We want to carry on this creativity while classrooms are closed and that’s why we have adapted our computer science curriculum for homeschooling.”

The material introduces the Internet of Things in an accessible way with the story of the first ‘smart device’: a toaster invented in 1990 that could be turned on and off via the internet. 

Since then, people have continued to combine data and creativity to invent thousands of products which solve a particular problem or make lives easier.

The material is designed to be suitable as a self-guided activity for learners to enjoy individually at their own pace or as a more structured lesson guided by parents.

It supports the national curriculum aim to help young people “understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems”. 

Jane Richards, co-founder of DJRFF, said: “Everyone is having to adjust to new ways of living and learning as a result of coronavirus. 

“We want young people to stay in touch with the latest technology in a fun and interactive way to help set them for future success.”

For more information about the homeschooling pack, please email emily@djrff.org

About DJRFF: 

David Richards, the founder, chief executive and chairman of public software company WANdisco plc, set up djrff.org with wife Jane to educate, empower and improve the lives of children. 

The foundation is registered as a charitable incorporated organisation to operate throughout England. Its trustees are Professor Chris Brady, director of the Centre for Sports Business at the University of Salford, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, and Herb Kim, founder and CEO of Thinking Digital.

Its aims are the advancement of computing and ecology education in state schools and the advancement of environmental protection and improvement. 

DJRFF’s syllabus concentrates on data science to give young people the ability to understand and solve real-world challenges.

DJRFF provides schools with detailed educational materials, hardware such as Raspberry Pi microcomputers and environmental sensors, one-to-one teacher training and technical support.

David and Jane Richards have donated shares in WANdisco to fund its work. For more information, please visit www.djrff.org