Teaching London Computing Newsletter – October 2019

Welcome to our fifth Teaching London Computing newsletter (the previous newsletters live here) and you are welcome to forward this to colleagues – new readers can sign up using the orange form on this page.

1. Save the date [1]
Please mark Wednesday 11 December 2019 in your diaries as the date for QMUL’s annual free family-friendly Christmas Computer Science lecture, aimed at a secondary school-aged audience. This year Prof Andrea Cavallaro is talking about his ‘Vision’ work in computing. I don’t have any more information yet but I’m sure the lecture will soon appear on our public events page.

2. Save the date [2]
Please mark, Saturday 29th February 2020 in your diaries. We are running our CAS London conference again at Gladesmore. A huge day of CPD for computing educators – keep it free. Booking will open soon for early bird tickets.

3. Courses: TechPathways London
Our next TechPathways London course is free, and on 1 Nov 2019 from 9.30am to 4.30pm at Manorfield Primary School, E14. “Digital Art and Design for Secondary Schools” is aimed at both computing teachers and their art and design colleagues: “We are particularly keen to see teachers from both departments so that they can support each other in introducing digital art and design in their schools.” The course is aimed at secondary school teachers and Year 6 primary teachers but anyone educating young people aged 11-24 is welcome.

This course is being run by Queen Mary University of London as part of the TechPathways programme and is supported by the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) and the Institute of Coding (IoC).

[Book your free place via Eventbrite] [Bookmark our courses page]

4. Courses: Other
The IDEA Store in Whitechapel runs beginners’ courses in Python (we’ve not seen the course content however).

There is a five week course starting on Wednesday 30 October called Programme in Python – Beginners [IML] – 6.30pm, two hours a week (£43, £12 conc).

We also recommend keeping an eye on Computing At School where a great deal of courses are advertised on their Events page, taking place in London and beyond. It’s free to register.

5. It’s nearly Hallowe’en! – free resources from Teaching London Computing
There are some slightly spooky goings on with these algorithms aka Tudor Computational Witchcraft, ideal for getting to grips with 6, 7 and 8 times tables, and for 9 times tables we have the Cunning 9x table algorithms. For younger children we have a colour-in pumpkin pixel-puzzle and a Hallowe’en kriss-kross – download our free Hallowe’en puzzles.

Martin Gardner (whose birthday it is today, 21 October) popularised mathematical games including the hexaflexagon. It’s a simple folded strip of paper which ends up with more than two sides. Hexahexaflexagons have even more sides and you can use them to illustrate computational thinking about graphs and maps, that links contains downloadable templates for coloured hexahexaflexagons as well as blank ones for your class to create their own designs with. Here’s Prof Paul Curzon explaining how to fold one. Why not make a Hallowe’en hexaflexagon where pictures of ghosts appear and disappear as you flex it.

6. Computing and Poetry
National poetry day was on 4th October and to celebrate we created a new page of computing activities with links to poetry. Write your own odes inspired by an Ancient Greek poem about a town of automata, use rhymes to teach loops, uncompress poems to learn about compression algorithms, write programs to shape programs or go the whole hog and write a program that writes love poems for you.

7. Prof Peter McOwan and the next issue of CS4FN
Prof Peter McOwan, who sadly died in July this year after an illness, co-founded CS4FN with Prof Paul Curzon in 2005. He and Paul shared an enthusiasm for communicating computer science in fun and engaging ways, particularly using unplugged methods and magic shows. We will miss him greatly and our next issue of CS4FN will celebrate him and his research interests.

8. Royal Institution Masterclasses in Computer Science at QMUL
For the last five years we have been delivering a series of Masterclasses in Computer Science with the Royal Institution (Ri). The QMUL / Ri Masterclasses are for young people aged 13-14 and involve a series of six weekly Saturday morning workshops on a variety of topics, with sessions run by different researchers in the Computer Science department here at QMUL. The Ri Masterclasses are a UK-wide program with several running in London (not just in Computer Science but also in Maths and Engineering). You can find out more about our own sessions here and about the program as a whole (and how to sign up your students for next year) at the Ri’s masterclass portal. They’re free! You can also see what people tweet out on the #RiMasterclasses hashtag on Twitter.

9. New computing hubs coming to London
Six new computing hubs are getting ready to start to support teachers in London. There are Langley Grammar,  Newstead Wood, Saffron Walden, Sandringham, Westcliff High School for Girls (@cs_essex, c.anderson@setsa.info) and Dartford Grammar. Each of them will be contacting schools in the boroughs that they have been allocated to support in the very near future. Dartford Grammar is holding a launch event on the 15th November [we will publicise the link / update this page when we have it].

10. Isaacs Computer Science for A level students
If you teach A level Computer Science then check out the new Isaacs Computing Science online learning Centre run by the NCCE for both students and teachers. Use it in the classroom, for homework and for revision. It is a great resource to support your students in doing well at A level.

11. Lesson plans for teaching primary and secondary computing
The NCCE has launched its new Teach Computing resource repository. It contains a series of units, each containing 6 lesson plans giving coherent programmes matching the national curriculum. The units range across many topics for primary and secondary computing. It gives you off the shelf lessons with the resources to deliver them. It aims to reduce your workload whilst also supporting you to increase your subject knowledge and have a greater understanding of effective pedagogy. More units are being added all the time.

12. Miscellaneous
Techy / hacking / music stuff in London(ish)” is a curated list of organisations (mostly in London) where people can go along to learn or create or watch what other makers have produced. There’s a fairly wide range including the Barbican and V&A as well as Maker / Hack / Music hackspaces, Dorkbot London, and the Restart Project which encourages people to fix their tech where possible, rather than simply replace it.

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