Paul Curzon gave a talk at the Computing At School North East conference this morning and judging from the tweets (see below) it seems that people enjoyed themselves. Paul uses magic and audience participation to demonstrate fun and easy ways of introducing programming topics into the classroom and delivers a series of free workshops for London teachers.
(More tweets from the #casneconf below)
If you’re enjoying his talk and wondering about the resources then the links below should help. We’re posting out printed copies to our subscribers but anyone can download free PDFs of our booklets.
The Magic of Computer Science 3: magic meets mistakes, machines and medicine
This book is published by cs4fn (Computer Science for Fun) in partnership with Teaching London Computing (TLC) and CHI+MED. TLC is funded by the Mayor of London and additional funding from the Department for Education has enabled us to send copies to schools of this booklet beyond London. It is also supported by Computing At School. Click on the picture for more information.
“The cs4fn magic books are collections of easy to do magic tricks (mainly simple card tricks). The twist is that every trick comes with a link to some computer science too. That means that as you learn the tricks, you will learn something about what computer scientists get up to too.
Magic is a combination of a secret method and a presentation. A computer scientist would call the method an algorithm, and that is all a computer program is too. The presentation corresponds to the interaction design of a program. For a magic trick to delight, you must get both the algorithm and presentation right. The same is true for programs”
Computational thinking: searching to speak
This booklet was produced as part of the Teaching London Computing activities and has been used in one of our free workshops. It highlights how computational thinking can help people, for example in speeding up tasks, but also focuses on remembering when it’s appropriate to use technological solutions and when it isn’t.
“Computational Thinking: Searching To Speak is a glossy booklet that shows computational thinking in action embedded in a story about helping people with disability, even without technology. It shows how the separate elements of computational thinking combine in interdisciplinary problem solving. Along the way it teaches some core search algorithms. It is written by Paul Curzon of Queen Mary University of London based on the cs4fn approach.”
Click on the picture to download a copy of the PDF, or read more about it and also see how it’s used in the workshop.
The Create-A-Face activity
In the picture on the left (taken by Sue Sentance at the CAS NE Conference) Paul Curzon is instructing members of the audience to create a face whose expression can be programmed with simple instructions.
“Explore programming by making an affective (relating to moods and emotions) robot face out of card, tubes and students. Program it to react to different kinds of sounds (nasty, nice or sudden) and show different emotions (sad, happy, surprised). Then think up some other facial expressions and program rules to make the face respond to sounds with the new expressions.”
Download everything you need (apart from the cardboard tubes!) to recreate this in your classroom, from our Create-A-Face Activity page.
Tweets from the Computing At School North East Conference about Paul Curzon’s talk
The tweets above refer to the Searching to Speak booklet and the one below to the latest magic book. Most of the final tweets refer to the Create A Face activity.