Hello there! Would you like to tell us who you are and what you do?
Hello! my name is Jonathon Snell and I am the Head of IT and Digital Learning at Le Régent International School.
What do your lessons look like?
At Le Régent we teach Computing across the whole school from 4-18 years old. What the lessons look like does very much vary due to the age of the students. But we have some fundamental philosophies in the Computing Department which we always work with: Are the students being challenged? Are the students enjoying their learning and are we preparing them for the world they are going into?
With this in mind, we are always evolving what we teach in lessons and how we teach it. More recently we are doing more and more through project-based learning units. So students are being challenged to use their creativity to solve problems and develop their knowledge of Computer Science.
For example, in Year 9 at the moment we are completing a unit on data analysis. This is bringing in tools such as Google Trends. Students will learn how to ‘data scrape’ from leading social media sites and how this data is impacting our lives and our society. This type of unit also allows us to bring in digital citizenship by showing our students how organisations get their data from social media sites and how they use it.
In our IGCSE Program students focus much more on Computer Science and we are currently working through a ‘Computational Thinking’ unit where students are designing algorithms, breaking down problems, applying computational thinking to a problem and then building that solution in Python. It’s an exciting time to be a Computer Science Teacher!
What do the students enjoy the most?
I see a real benefit from ‘Physical Computing’. Students really start to understand logic and computational understanding when we bring in robotics and physical computing. They really enjoy creating something from scratch which they have full ownership of.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to learn more about computing and IT?
I suppose like most new things, it can feel daunting at first. Computer Science can definitely feel like that at first and a bit like ‘magic’, but this is what makes it so exciting! Underneath it though, the fundamentals are the same and learning the basics of computational thinking is a good starting point. There are so many websites and tutorials on learning to code on the internet these days that this is a great place to develop your skills and knowledge of these languages. My final advice is, we know this is an area of growth and these skills will become more and more valuable in the next 5-10 years.
What is it like to work in a boarding school?
It is great! I really like the sense of family and the bonds you make with people are very strong. It feels like a strong community of support around you and you really get to know people quickly.
What do you like to do in your free-time?
We have two young children, Lowen who is 3 1/2 and Marin who is nearly 1, so the concept of free time is an interesting one! We do love the outdoors and the mountains so we spend our time as a family outside as much as possible. In the winter this is skiing and walking and in the summer it is swimming and cycling. Crans-Montana is an amazing place for children, we are extremely fortunate to be able to live here and raise our children here. Outside of ‘Dad Life’ I’m enjoying ski touring when I can, exploring new parts of the mountains and developing my knowledge of swiss life.