New free issue of CS4FN computing magazine for schools coming in Summer – hooray :) ^JB

After a year-long Covid-imposed hiatus we’re delighted 🥳 🎉 that things are moving speedily towards publishing and distributing the next issue of CS4FN, the free computing magazine for schools from the Computer Science department at Queen Mary University of London.

Issue 27, due in June 2021, will be on Smart Health and all our back issues (and other booklets) can be downloaded free as PDFs here https://cs4fndownloads.wordpress.com/

Some back issues of CS4FN

After such a long wait we thought it was a good opportunity to check our mailing list with a finetooth comb and make sure everyone’s address was correct, and that they were receiving the copies that they want.

There are about 2,400 subscribers on our list and we send approx 24,000 copies out to them (some want 1, some a class set of 30, some a bigger number). We try and make sure everyone gets what they request but with a mailing list that’s been in existence for 16 years it makes sense to check it occasionally.

You might be getting an email from me (Admin Jo) to check that you are still at the school you’re subscribed with, particularly where a school has several teachers subscribed.

Of course if you or your school isn’t yet subscribed to receive free copies of CS4FN please sign up (using the purple form) here: https://teachinglondoncomputing.org/sign-up/

Finding duplicates (in some cases triplicates) isn’t always easy as people write their school’s name in different ways – compare St. Trinians, Saint Trinian’s, or St Trinian’s. An easily made typo in a postcode – 1AA 1AB versus 1AA 1BA can also hide duplication, and people move on to different schools. So it’s a delicate procedure and may take some time to get round to everyone.

Also, there is the ever-present possibility of me making a mistake somewhere…

My daftest error so far was when I decided to Find & Replace all instances of “UK” for “United Kingdom”. This would have gone very well had I restricted my manipulations only to the Country column but, alas, anyone called Luke or working at a school called St Luke’s or whose address was Duke Road etc ended up with an incomprehensible address.

I only realised when mail began to be returned with addresses like ‘DUnited Kingdome Road” on it. A cautionary example of verschlimmbesserung, or ‘disimprovementing’ – when one intends to improve something but ends up making it worse.

See also this example of ‘fixing a bug’ from Malcolm in the Middle ;)

Back issues of (some of) our cs4fn magazines available – free for UK schools

Our CS4FN magazines and Teaching London Computing booklets are hugely popular and read by school students for interest and enjoyment, as well as being used by teachers in computing classes and after-school clubs. We typically post out around 20,000 copies to subscribing UK schools (some schools take 1 copy, others have a class set) and we also send one-off boxes of magazines to UK schools and school-related events to give to visitors or to put in delegate bags.

We keep a few more copies of some of our back issues to give away to UK schools and if you’d like to order some please fill in the blue form below.

Note that this form won’t subscribe you to our mailing list(s) – if you’d like to subscribe to start receiving future cs4fn magazines and booklets please fill in [purple form 2] here, and if you’re a teacher based in London interested in our local events please fill in [orange form 1] on the same page. We’d also recommend familiarising yourself with CAS, Computing At School (it’s free to join) and particularly the CAS London Regional Centre (which is run by the same staff at QMUL and KCL that run Teaching London Computing).

 

Woohoo! Our Ada Lovelace issue of the @cs4fn magazine is here :) #lovelaceoxford

We’re delighted to introduce the 20th issue of cs4fn (Computer Science for Fun) magazine. The latest edition celebrates Ada Lovelace and her lasting influence on computer science today.

Download a free PDF copy of the magazine (see also the magazine’s homepage on cs4fn).

cs4fn 20 cover Ada Lovelace issue2015 is the 200th anniversary of Ada Lovelace’s birth. Famous as ‘the first programmer’ her vision of computer science was far wider. To celebrate, issue 20 of cs4fn magazine explores her life, her ideas and where modern research has taken some of those ideas. Women’s research is also still at the forefront of interdisciplinary computer science. We will look at what other Victorian Computer Science was around at the time and also see how her work linked to the very modern idea of computational thinking.

The magazine was written by Paul Curzon and Peter McOwan from Queen Mary University of London, Jane Waite of QMUL and CAS London, and Ursula Martin of the University of Oxford.

We’re grateful to the EPSRC, Google, the Mayor of London and Department for Education’s for funding support, and cs4fn is also a partner in the BBC’s Make it Digital programme.

To celebrate I’m giving away TEN copies (ie one copy to 10 people) of the magazine to anyone in the UK who fills in the form below. Non-UK submissions will be ignored and the form will (or at least should!) stop accepting submissions once 10 people have filled it in. Your information won’t be used for any other purpose and will be deleted once I’ve posted the magazine(s).

Introducing: free booklet “The magic of computer science: magic meets mistakes, machines and medicine”

Blogpost crossposted on both CHI+MED and Teaching London Computing sites.

We have a new booklet out which you can download as a PDF (click on the picture below to visit the book’s microsite) and find out more about where “magic meets mistakes, machines and medicine”.

The Magic of Computer Science 3: magic meets mistakes, machines and medicine
magicbookcover3cs4fn (Computer Science for Fun) is an outreach project from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) which aims to enthuse school-aged children about computer science. There’s a website and a magazine (usually two issues a year) with special issues and booklets – this is the latest magic booklet.

Paul Curzon and Peter McOwan who set up cs4fn at QMUL are both magicians and also both work on the CHI+MED project and Teaching London Computing. Previous blog posts have referred to to CHI+MED’s use of magic in our public engagement work.

“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.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 17.22.36

This comes from page 9 of the booklet.

This booklet is published by cs4fn (Computer Science for Fun) in partnership with Teaching London Computing (TLC) and CHI+MED. CHI+MED is funded by the EPSRC and Teaching London Computing by the Mayor of London and the Department for Education.

Download the Magic books

Paul Curzon from @QMUL and @cs4fn has been making faces at #casneconf :)

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
magicbookcover3This 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
Searching to Speak A5 blueThis 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

IMG_0942 - Paul Curzon at CASneconfIn 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.

Computational creativity – free PDF magazine (issue 18) from @cs4fn

From our sister project cs4fn (Computer Science for Fun) here’s the latest issue (#18) of the magazine, which is all about Computational Creativity. Download your free PDF copy or read some of the example articles at the magazine’s microsite for issue 18.

cs4fn magazine is published by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and is aimed at school pupils. QMUL has partnered with King’s College London to provide CPD courses for teachers who are teaching the new Computing curricula at GCSE and A-level. Thanks to funding from the Mayor of London we’re able to offer a 50% discount (£150) on our courses for teachers in London. More about our funding here.

Our next two courses for Computing teachers are happening over Easter – one is a one-week intensive and the other is the same length but spread over a few days.

GCSE Easter