Our next events – one free workshop, one (not free) CPD course for A-level Computing teachers

Here’s what we have coming up so far in August… do also sign up to our mailing list to be kept informed of future activities.

1. Course for A-level Computing teachers in London
A-level Computing CPD August one-week intensive 2015 – from Teaching London Computing
Monday, 17 August 2015 at 10:00 – Friday, 21 August 2015 at 16:00 – at QMUL
This is a one-week intensive A-level Computing CPD course from Teaching London Computing. The course equips Computing teachers with the programming subject knowledge and skills to teach the new A-level Computing curricula.
[More information] [Eventbrite tickets]

2. Free workshop for Computing teachers in London
Using Turtle Graphics to Transition from Visual to Textual Programming
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 from 13:00 to 15:30 – at QMUL

How to transition from visual languages (e.g. Scratch) to text based languages (e.g. Python)?
A hands on workshop exploring the use of turtle graphics for making the transition from visual programming (using Scratch) to textual programming (using Python).

  • Comparing programs in Scratch and Python
  • Setting problems that can be soved in both visual and textual languages

Computers are provided but delegates may bring a laptop if they wish
(with MIT Scratch 2 and Python 3 installed). Some knowledge of basic programming assumed.
[More information] [Eventbrite tickets]

Do I have to be a London computing teacher to attend Teaching London Computing courses and workshops?
While we prioritise London computing teachers we do make space available for those from outside London. For our courses we charge non-London teachers the full price (£300) but thanks to funding from the Mayor of London we’re able to offer a 50% discount to London teachers only (£150). Our courses are aimed at those who are currently (or who are about to begin) teaching the Computing curricula (GCSE and A-level). Contact Jo Brodie (j.brodie@qmul.ac.uk) for further information.

Launch event for the new CAS London Regional Centre (Computing At School) – Fri 10th July

Queen Mary University of London and King’s College London will be involved in running the new CAS London Regional Centre (this is separate from Teaching London Computing project but many of the same people are involved). There will be a launch event [free] from 4.30pm on Friday 10 July and the invitation and details are below. [Eventbrite link for the meeting]

Find out more about CAS London @cas_london_crc.

Here is a map of the CAS regional hubs and Computing at School‘s website, and they’re @CompAtSch on Twitter.


We would like to invite you to the first CAS London Meeting. This is a regional collaboration bringing together primary and secondary teachers, Computing At School master teachers, hub leaders, lead schools, universities, boroughs and other training groups and interested parties to promote and support computing education in London. The meeting aims to start a discussion of how we can best mutually support each other, further developing our London education computing community.

The twilight event is on Friday 10th July 2015, at King’s College London.

Here is the link to eventbrite invitation.

Outline:

  • 4:30 Networking tasks & refreshments
  • 5:30 Keynote speaker Simon Humphreys
  • 5:45 Contributed presentations: What’s happening in London?
  • 6:30 Working together: Tasks
  • 7:00 Finish – more refreshments and networking

We aim to explore three questions about computing CPD and teaching computing in London schools: What is working well? What help do you need? What can you offer others?

If possible, can you create 1 or 2 slides with your answers to the above questions and send them to us. We will share your slides on a rolling display during the networking sessions and ask a number of contributors to talk through their slides in the contributed presentations session (maximum of 4 minutes per presentation).

Join us to celebrate the work done by our fantastic community of computing educators (that’s you) and to find out how we can further grow and develop the network of support and computing CPD provision across London.

For more information and to share your slides please contact Jane (jane.waite@computingatschool.org.uk) or Trevor (trevor.bragg@computingatschool.org.uk)

Many thanks
Paul Curzon, William Marsh, Jane Waite, Trevor Bragg, Sue Sentance

The CAS London meeting is supported by ‘Computing at School’ and ‘Teaching London Computing’, which is funded by the Mayor of London and Department for Education. The meeting is being organised by London’s CAS Regional Centre (CRC) a collaboration between Queen Mary University of London and King’s College London.’

What short courses & workshops do we have available for London Computing teachers at the moment? These!

Newly announced: we have a new free event, Understanding New Careers: Creativity and Technology on 14 July and a one-week intensive A-level CPD course coming up in August (17-21). More details about these below.

We also have space on our evening workshop session, on the 13th July, on GUI Programming in Python. (There’s a waiting list for the earlier one (identical workshop) on Monday 29 June though).

In upcoming-date order…

1. GUI Programming in Python – Monday 29 June 2015 – FREE (limited availability)

Python is a popular language for elementary programming but it not so easy to write programs with a graphical user interface (GUI). This workshop will introduce GUI programming in Python, covering:

  • the concepts common to all GUI frameworks: events, widgets and attributes
  • the role of object-oriented programming in GUIs
  • the choice of GUI frameworks (but looking mainly at tkinter, the default framework)

[Our page on this workshop]
[Link to Eventbrite tickets for 29 June workshop]

 

2. GUI Programming in Python – Monday 13 July – FREE (spaces available)

This workshop is identical to the one above.

[Our page on this workshop]
[Link to Eventbrite tickets for 13 July workshop]

 

3. Understanding New Careers: Creativity and Technology – 14 July – FREE

The event is for any London teacher who advises young people on careers, or who teaches art, or technology. Part-presentation, part-panel discussion, we will look at what happens in Tech City and discuss routes into new career opportunities in technology and creativity.

[Eventbrite link to more information and tickets for ‘Understanding new careers: creativity and technology’]

 

4. A-level Computing CPD: one-week intensive – 17-21 August 2015 – £300/150

This course equips Computing teachers with the programming subject knowledge and skills to teach the new A-level Computing curricula.

The course is taught using Python and includes much practical work. It is essential to have experience in programming, to GCSE level at least, including assignment, if statements, loops and arrays and ideally also function definitions. Delegates should be confident to solve simple programming problems requiring approx 20-50 lines, either with Python or a similar language.

The course costs £300 but thanks to funding from the Mayor of London we are able to reduce this for teachers in London.

[Our page on the A-level computing course]
[Link to Eventbrite tickets for this A-level Computing CPD]

miniCPD course / workshop on GUI Programming in Python

We have a new free workshop aimed at A-level Computing teachers in London. It is being run (twice) by William Marsh at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

The first is running on Monday 29 June (5.30-7pm) and, due to popular demand, a second run of this event is happening on Monday 13 July (5.30-7pm). [Note that the two sessions are identical, please register for one OR the other].

Eventbrite - QMUL: GUI Programming in Python - FREE workshop from Teaching London Computing for a place on the Monday 29 June free workshop.

Eventbrite - QMUL: GUI Programming in Python (rpt) - FREE workshop from Teaching London Computing for a place on the Monday 13 July free workshop.

Course details
Python is a popular language for elementary programming but it not so easy to write programs with a graphical user interface (GUI). This workshop will introduce GUI programming in Python, covering:

  • the concepts common to all GUI frameworks: events, widgets and attributes
  • the role of object-oriented programming in GUIs
  • the choice of GUI frameworks (but looking mainly at tkinter, the default framework)

Time will be spent on practical work: computers are provided but bring your own laptop (with Python 3 installed) if you wish.

Eligibility
The workshop assumes knowledge of basic Python and is aimed at those with an interest in A level computing.
Because we are funded by the Mayor of London we prioritise London teachers on our events but all teachers are welcome.

Cost
FREE

Contact
Jo Brodie

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

Surveying schools and Computing teachers – do they need training, and if so what format?

As part of the evaluation of the Teaching London Project (funded by the Mayor of London and the Department for Education to support London teachers who’ll be teaching the new Computing curricula) we have been asking Head Teachers about their perceptions of the need (or not) for training for Computing teachers. We want our courses to be helpful to teachers, as part of their CPD, and also to be available to them in a useful format (short courses versus longer ones, in-school hours versus out of hours classes).

We’ve conducted a study, with 32 respondents so far, and the summary of feedback is below, but we’re keen to hear from more teachers and head teachers in London about how schools are thinking about training needs for those teaching the new GCSE or A-level Computing.

Please visit http://bit.ly/TLCsurvey2015a to take part in our survey and pass this link on to colleagues.

In the text below ‘Computing’ refers also to ‘Computer Science’ as both terms are used in the curricula. The survey results were analysed by Nicola Plant, who also wrote the information below.

Summary Results of the Teaching London Computing teachers’ survey

We’ve had 32 responses to our survey so far.

1. Courses currently offered or planned

The majority of schools (60%) already offer GCSE Computing and a third of responding schools plan to offer the subject in the next two years with only a small proportion of schools opting not to offer the subject.

Updated graphs by Nicola

y-axis is the number of respondents, out of 32 in total

In contrast, the majority of schools (78%) do not currently offer A-Level Computing, of which two thirds plan to offer the subject in the next 2 years, and a third opts not to offer the subject. (This could be explained by the fact that the new GCSE curriculum has only recently begun to be offered and so there are no students past year 11 to continue).

2. Training requirements

31 of 32 respondents thought that teachers need subject knowledge training. For the GCSE Computing curriculum around half of schools expected that teachers would attend training both inside and outside of school time. A third of schools also expect teachers to pick up the subject as they go along.  For the A-Level perceptions were different, where only 5 schools expected teachers to pick it up as they go along, a third expected teachers to train in their own time, but half would have teachers training inside school hours. However, informal comments explained that cover is a problem as covered students don’t feel supported by cover teachers.

2 graphs

Click to enlarge

3. Format of training

There was no significant difference between GCSE and A-level Computing for a preferred format for training. Around a third to a half of schools (that would encourage staff to attend training) were split equally among workshops, shorter courses and longer CPD courses.

Schools rated staff time, course costs, choosing courses that offered subject knowledge, and choosing courses that offered knowledge of the curricula an equally important consideration for both GCSE and A-level Computing training courses. Just over 50% of schools would provide cover when staff were on training courses.

4. Recruitment

To teach GCSE Computing 40% of schools are looking to recruit more experienced staff but to teach A-Level Computing half of schools were looking to recruit more experienced staff.

5. A-level

Around 80% of schools do not offer A-level Computing because there is a lack of experienced staff and facilities.