TLC Newsletter – Nov / Dec 2018

An early merry Christmas from Teaching London Computing (TLC) with our second newsletter (previous newsletters can be found here). There are more details of the free Christmas talk taking place on Wednesday 5 December 2018 and plenty of festive resources for your classroom.

Table of Contents

  1. Free Christmas evening lecture on Game AI for schools and families
  2. New issue of CS4FN – out now!
  3. Christmas classroom resources
  4. E4L2C – Exercises for Learning to Code, new from TLC / CAS London Master Teachers – an online course
  5. NCCE – National Centre for Computing Education
  6. Free course from CAS and Microsoft on Creative Computing
  7. iDEA – the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award – online learning supported by the Duke of York
  8. Rocket Fund – £5,000 match funding available for projects starting after 2 Dec 2018

1. FREE schools talk – Game AI Unleashed! IET / QMUL Christmas talk – 5 Dec


Next Wednesday (5 December 2018) we have a free family-friendly twilight talk on Game AI, aimed at secondary-aged kids but all welcome. There will be free mince pies afterwards too. The talk will be held at QMUL in the People’s Palace’s Great Hall (this building is next to the main Queen’s Building, on Mile End Road). Nearest tube station is Stepney Green (buses 25/205), talk starts at 5.30pm. Bring your class!
[Register for free tickets][Full details][Flyer]

2. CS4FN issue 25 on wearable computing is here


The magazines have been printed and subscribers should be receiving copies this week so keep an eye out for them. You can also download free PDF copies (and sign up to be on the mailing list) here. We are grateful to the Institute of Coding and to King’s College London for their support for this issue. Let us know the articles you like most and share some pics with us on Twitter @cs4fn / #cs4fn

3. TLC Christmas classroom resources – download and print, and adapt for your classroom

We have Christmas pixel puzzles, Doodle art algorithms to draw a Christmas tree, or get your class to edit a Christmas greeting program in Python. We also have some computing-themed cracker mottos and are always on the lookout for more… have a look at our ‘at a glance’ Christmas computing for more.

4. E4L2C – Exercises for Learning to Code – free on Teaching London Computing

CAS London Master Teachers have created E4L2C (Exercises for Learning to Code) a range of free exercises to help people gain skills and confidence in using Python. There are beginners, intermediate and advanced exercises – Beginner exercises (Sequence, Selection, Iteration), Intermediate exercises (Arrays, Functions, File Handling), Advanced exercises (Databases). All are free to access but in order to get feedback and find out how people are using them we are asking people to contact Trevor Bragg for a password.

5. New NCCE website – National Centre for Computing Education

https://teachcomputing.org/ – scroll down the page to find out how you can sign up to hear more and get involved.

“The Centre will start working with schools across England later this year, improving teaching and driving up participation in computer science at GCSE and A-Level.

The Centre will operate virtually through a national network of up to 40 school-led computing hubs to provide training and resources to primary and secondary schools, and an intensive training programme for secondary teachers without a post A-Level qualification in computer science.” [Press release]

6. Creative Computing for KS3 – courses in London and elsewhere

Computing At School, in association with Microsoft UK, is delighted to announce a two-day funded* course which will enable new and aspiring Heads of Computing in secondary schools to develop the skills and techniques to build a creative and innovative curriculum accessible for all and to lead a thriving subject in their school.

*Teachers in Category 5 and Category 6 opportunity areas qualify for FREE places, including cover.  To apply for one of these places please use the registration form here. Funding is only available for state-funded schools. For teachers applying from outside these areas the cost will be £200 (plus booking fee) for both days of the course.

The London course starts on Friday 11 January 2019 and takes place at BCS offices in Southampton Street.

A little more detail is at the end of this email [full details on CAS website]

7. iDEA – Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award

https://idea.org.uk/  – the free scheme, supported by the Duke of York, helps people enhance their chances in the job market with digital and enterprise skills. Online challenges are split into four main categories, each with its own series of badges to be won – citizen, worker, maker, entrepreneur and gamer.

8. Rocket Fund – £5,000 available for IT projects launched this half-term

A match funding pot is available from Rocket Fund for ICT related projects this term – with 20x £250 boost available.

Rocket Fund is a free fundraising platform for schools. So far they have helped 250 schools raise over £200,000. They have just launched a new campaign with 20x £250 boosts available for tech projects launched after 3rd December. Is there any tech you’d like to buy? See Rocket Fund’s website for more details.

More detail on the Creative Computing courses

“We all want our pupils to experience an aspirational curriculum for computing that develops their knowledge, their skills and above all their interest in the subject but this can be hard when we’re struggling to keep abreast of the subject ourselves! This two-day course will help to plug some of those gaps and will help teachers who are in the early days of establishing the subject in their school to encounter engaging lessons and how they can be integrated into an inspirational scheme of work.

The course will be delivered across two days (the first in the early Spring term; the second in the Summer term) in a number of locations in England.”

If you’d like to receive a copy of the newsletter in future please use the orange form on this page.

 

 

Please make sure you’re following @CS4FN / @cas_london_crc for updates about our resources

CAS London

Teaching London Computing (TLC) is a resource hub from the CAS Regional Centre London (‘CAS London’) and we are regularly adding free activities and other resources here. TLC’s initial role was in providing CPD support to London computing teachers, which we continue to do through CAS London by supporting Master Teachers.

Although this website will remain we won’t be updating the @TeachingLDNComp Twitter feed (the feed will still be public though as people may come across our resources while searching for related things on Twitter).

The CAS London Regional Centre is one of several university-led regional centres in the UK. Ours is run by King’s College London and Queen Mary University of London (exactly the same people in fact behind Teaching London Computing!) and CS4FN is the flagship schools computing magazine and website from Prof Paul Curzon and colleagues at QMUL.

Please make sure you’re following –
@CS4FN to hear about newly uploaded activities and resources on this site
@cas_london_crc to hear about other support and events for London computing teachers

Thank you!

Have you attended one of our courses or workshops? What did you think?

If you’ve attended one of our events we’d love to hear what you thought about it as our project comes to a close. We would like to know if our project has benefitted you as a Computing teacher and, if so, how. Please take a look at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TLCFinalSurvey (the survey should take around 10 minutes to complete).

Also – our next A-level Computing CPD course starts next Wednesday with FREE places for London Master Teachers.


The current incarnation of Teaching London Computing aka ‘TLC’ (as funded by the Mayor of London’s London School’s Excellence Fund grant) is coming to an end however we are very keen to continue with the project and make it sustainable.

We know from teachers telling us (thank you!) that they really value our in-depth CPD courses, our ‘miniCPD‘ sessions, and our free workshops are perennially popular too. We also know that lots of teachers in London, the rest of the UK and even from around the world are downloading and using our free classroom resources – hooray! We know this partly because people tell us, but also from the website stats (at time of writing we’ve just passed 87,000 blog ‘hits’) and the figures telling us that our PDF have been downloaded around 28,000 times.

The team behind TLC (staff from Queen Mary University of London and King’s College London) have taken on the role of one of the new CAS regional centres (we’re ‘CAS London’) and we’ve working with CAS to enable Master Teachers to attend free* at our next course (A-level Computing CPD, starting on Wednesday 7 October 2015) *while places last.

Thank you for making this project so interesting and rewarding, from all of us at Teaching London Computing.

Summer School 2015 at @Ri_Science, for children 7-12, w Prof Paul Curzon on the magic of computer science

The Royal Institution (21 Albemarle St, London W1S 4BS) hosts public science events for all ages and is currently running a Summer School over the next few weeks with a range of science topics including maths, computing, cryptography, engineering, biomechanics and acoustics. The full programme covers workshops for children aged 7 and above with workshops for different year groups up to and including adults over 18.

Prof Paul Curzon, who has delivered many engaging workshops on the magic of computer science for teachers, will be delivering two workshops for school children on Tuesday 18th August.

The morning session will be for 7-9 year olds and the afternoon one for 10-12 year olds.

“When you learn to be a magician, it turns out you are learning the skills needed to be a great computer scientist too: computational thinking. In this workshop Paul Curzon will demonstrate some real magic tricks and teach the group how they are done so they can do the tricks themselves. Students will then use the magic to learn the linked basics of computer science and see what computational thinking is all about and how both magicians and computer scientists rely on it.

There will be a short break during the workshop and a drink and a small snack will be provided. Students should bring their own snack if they have any allergies.”

Morning workshop (Sunley Room)
The Magic of Computer Science with Prof Paul Curzon
Age group: 7-9 year olds – £30/27 (Faraday members)

Afternoon workshop (Library)
The Magic of Computer Science with Prof Paul Curzon
Age group: 10-12 year olds – £30/27 (Faraday members)

Financial assistance
The Potential Trust may be able to offer financial assistance to enable children to participate in Ri events and activities if this would otherwise be difficult. Please contact Anna Comino–James on 01844 351666 or email her at thepotentialtrust@gmail.com.

[FREE] Three new workshops for teachers from Teaching London Computing on 18 and 26 May

We’ve added another three workshops to our activities and will be running these across two sessions in a couple of weeks. Our previous workshops (at Queen Mary University of London or as part of an invited talk elsewhere) have been very popular.

Workshop One: Mon 18 May 2015, 5.30 to 7pm

Explorers need maps: Abstraction, Representations and Graphs

Overview

Abstraction – essentially just hiding information – is a core part of computational thinking that is closely linked to the choice of data representation. We will give a deeper understanding of abstraction, providing fun ways to teach it, based on cs4fn / Teaching London Computing resources. The great explorers didn’t just wander around new continents finding things. They drew maps. Maps are just abstractions of the world. Based on games and puzzles, we will see how drawing a special kind of map called a graph and a variation the finite state machine is a part of computational thinking problem solving. They are useful tools for understanding how to use, exploring and designing computer systems.

Session material
This session will cover:

  • What is Computational Thinking?
  • Inspiring ways to teach Computational Thinking.
  • What is abstraction?
  • Why does the choice of data representation matter when solving problems?
  • What is a graph and why are they useful?
  • What is a finite state machine and why are they useful?

Eventbrite - QMUL 01: Paul Curzon workshop - Abstraction, Representations and Graphs for Workshop 1 – Abstraction, Representations and Graphs
More information about this workshop on our page for Abstraction, representations and graphs.

The second and third run on the same day at half-term, on Tuesday 26 May 2015 (you can come to the first or the second or both, but you will need to register for both separately).

Workshop Two: Tue 26 May 2015, 1.30 to 3pm

Primary Computing Unplugged

Overview

Computing doesn’t need to be taught at a computer and in fact to get across key concepts it is often better (and more fun) not to. This is especially true of the early stages of learning programming and computing more generally. A core idea behind the new computing syllabus is computational thinking. We will give you a deeper understanding of computational thinking and give practical ways to teach both it and other computing topics such as programming away from computers. Computational thinking is a fundamental skill set that students learn by studying computing. We will demonstrate a range of activities that show how core ideas and concepts can be introduced using fun unplugged activities and games. We will show that computing can be fun for everyone and that it doesn’t have to be taught at a computer.

Session material

This session presents a variety of activities from the other workshops. It will cover:

  • What is Computational Thinking?
  • Inspiring ways to teach Computational Thinking.
  • What is an algorithm
  • Writing your first program

Eventbrite - QMUL 02: Paul Curzon workshop - Primary Computing Unplugged for Workshop 2 – Primary computing unplugged
More information about this workshop on our page for Primary computing unplugged.

Workshop Three: Tue 26 May 2015, 3.30 to 5pm

The Magic of Computer Science

Overview

When you learn to be a magician, it turns out you are learning the skills needed to be a great computer scientist too: computational thinking. Just like software, magic is a combination of algorithms and presentation. In this workshop we will demonstrate some simple to do but strong magic tricks. We teach the group how they are done so they can do the tricks themselves and then use the magic to illustrate the linked basics of computing. Overall we will show what computational thinking is all about and how both magicians and computer scientists rely on it.

Session material

This session will demonstrate a variety of activities from the other workshops. It will cover:

  • What is Computational Thinking?
  • Inspiring ways to teach Computational Thinking using easy to learn magic tricks.

Eventbrite - QMUL 03: Paul Curzon workshop - The Magic of Computing for Workshop 3 – The magic of computing
More information about this workshop on our page for The magic of computing.

miniCPD – one day Controlled Assessment and Programming skills (Sat 2 May)

One of the things we try and do is vary the format of our courses so that we can offer something to suit as many teachers as possible. Some prefer weekly classes, others prefer intensive week-long, some are able to take a day from work for study, others aren’t. One thing teachers have asked us for is help with controlled assessments and so we’re trying out new ‘miniCPD’ one-day sessions.

The first will be on Saturday 2 May and will be held at King’s College London (Waterloo Campus). The cost for the day will be £30 for London teachers thanks to funding from the Mayor of London (£60 for non-London teachers). The miniCPD course will run from 10-4pm.

The new one day course ‘Preparing Pupils for Controlled Assessment‘ uses Python to program solutions to problems of a similar type to those set in GCSE Controlled Assessments. The aim is to make teachers feel confident about tackling these problems and programming solutions themselves, so that they can pass their knowledge, experience and confidence on to their pupils. Teachers should already have some knowledge of the basics of Python; strings, arithmetic, ‘if statements’ and loops. This is not a course for complete beginners.

Eventbrite - KCL: miniCPD - Preparing Pupils for Controlled Assessment (Python) - Saturday short course at King's

About us

Teaching London Computing, is a successful partnership between Queen Mary University of London’s Computer Science Department and King’s College London’s Computing Education team which has been running courses and workshops for the past two years helping Computing and ICT teachers to deliver the new Computing Curricula at GCSE and A-level.

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