What are London teachers’ needs for the new Computing curricula? We have a survey…

Teaching London Computing is a project that is run jointly from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and King’s College London (KCL). We’re funded by the Mayor of London and Department for Education to provide support to teachers in London who are delivering the new Computing curricula (GCSE and A-level).

This includes computing subject knowledge and pedagogical support through a range of continuing professional development courses, free workshops (with fun unplugged-style activities) and free printable resources for use in the classroom.

***London Computing teachers*** – please fill in our short survey
We would like to understand more about the training needs that Computing teachers in London have and we’ve developed a short survey to help us find out more. If you are a Computing teacher based in London your participation will be very helpful. There’s an opportunity to sign up for class sets of free booklets once you’ve completed the survey which should take no more than five minutes to complete.

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

About us
The Teaching London project developed from cs4fn (Computer Science for Fun, a popular outreach project from QMUL to enthuse schoolchildren about computer science) and, in partnership with the Education department at KCL, we are providing resources for teachers who are introducing programming concepts and computational thinking into the classroom. We aim to nurture an inspiring Computing education for pupils across London.

Next courses
We’ve two new courses starting in the New Year.

We’ve published a number of research articles about computer science education, selected examples below.

Black J, Brodie J, Curzon P, Myketiak C, McOwan PW and Meagher LR (2013). Making computing interesting to school students: teachers’ perspectives. Proceedings of the 2013 Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer
Science Education (ITiCSE 2013), 255–260. New York: ACM.

Myketiak C, Curzon P, Black J, McOwan PW and Meagher LR (2012) cs4fn: a flexible model for computer science outreach. In Proceedings of ITiCSE ’12 Proceedings of the 17th ACM annual conference on Innovation and technology in computer science education, Pages 297-302, ACM New York. DOI: 10.1145/2325296.2325366

Bell T, Curzon P, Cutts Q et al. (2011) . Introducing Students to Computer Science With Programmes That Don’t Emphasise Programming. Proceedings of ITiCSE 2011, The 16th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education ACM SIGCSE. 391-391.










Website: http://teachinglondoncomputing.org Twitter: http://twitter.com/TeachingLDNComp

*New course date* Computer Science Education: Theory & Practice (Spring 2015) @ King’s

Teaching London Computing has a new course for Computing teachers, at King’s College London. The short course is a standalone module on an MA course in Education, and is suitable for those who will be teaching Computing up to A-level.

For more details and to apply for a place please visit the course information page.



Course start date – 17 January 2015
Course duration – 11 weeks part time
Course type – Online course
Course times – Saturdays 10am-4pm on campus and online Tuesdays 7-8pm
Course recurrence – Saturday then five Tuesday evenings online, another Saturday and five more Tuesday evenings online.
Location – Waterloo Campus
Entry requirements – Qualified Teacher Status in ICT or experience of teaching ICT in a secondary school.
Credit value – 30 credits at Master’s level
Academic Lead – Sue Sentance


Saturday 1: Curriculum and Computing

Seminar 1 – Communications Unplugged
Seminar 2 – Gender and Computing
Seminar 3 – Teaching early Programming
Seminar 4 – Programming Teaching Methods
Seminar 5 – Teaching by Modelling

Saturday 2: Hardware and Assignment Workshop

Seminar 6 – Flow and Learning through Games
Seminar 7 – Motivation, Uptake and Careers in Computing
Seminar 8 – Collaboration and Group Work in Computing
Seminar 9 – Programming and Mathematics, Computational Thinking
Seminar 10 – Assignment Plans and Feedback

The course is aimed at experienced ICT teachers and new PGCE graduates who do not have a computing background but would like to develop the capacity for teaching Computing/Computer Science up to A level.

Students on this course have access to online materials to enhance their subject knowledge and learn programming (Python 3). They can also attend workshops on the Subject Knowledge Enhancement course in order to improve their knowledge of the course content of current GCSE and A level specifications.

Module teaching includes two Saturday workshops one at the beginning and one in the middle of the module together with weekly tasks, readings and discussions in ten on-line sessions. A task related to the week’s theme usually including the study of a specific aspect of programming or computing education with each student posting their reactions, comments and reflections to an on-line asynchronous discussion board for others to view and respond. Online synchronous (chat) seminars in small groups to discuss the week’s theme. These happen on the same evening (Tuesday) each week.

The 30 credits from this Short Course could be transferred in to an MA Education programme.

We hope that course participants will be interested in the MA Computing in Education

The intended outcomes are that students will develop a critical understanding of the Pedagogy of Computer Science at secondary level enabling them to make critical, informed judgements in

  • managing the introduction of computing to the curriculum from years 7 to 13
  • developing strategies for selecting appropriate public examinations for their students, at KS4&5
  • writing schemes of work and devising assessment in line with research into the learning of computer science and programming
  • selecting and designing and developing their own resources and teaching materials to enhance the understanding of key concepts

for the teaching of computer science, including programming from 11-18.

This course is offered BOTH as a 30 credit module on the Modular Education MA and here as a standalone Short Course. Students successfully completing this course will gain 30 credits towards an Education Masters.

Trained and practising teachers of secondary ICT who wish to teach Computer Science.

Guide to Teaching Computer Science: an Activity-Based Approach by Lapidot and Ragonis (available from FWB library in hard copy and electronic versions).

GCSE and A level text books for Computing and Computer Science.
Specifications for current GCSE and A level examinations (available online on Exam Board websites).

This course is partly funded through the Teaching London Computing project run by Queen Mary University of London in collaboration with King’s College London.
A number of teachers in London schools will benefit by receiving a 50% discount on the cost of the course through funding received by the TLC project from the London Schools Excellence Fund.
Course cost £1000, less discount £500 (for London Teachers), net cost £500.

Saturdays 10am-4pm on campus and online Tuesdays 7-8pm


For more details and to apply for a place please visit the course information page.

A new CPD course for A-level Computing teachers – 18-22 August @QMUL

Teaching London Computing will be running a new one-week intensive course for A-level Computing teachers, from Monday to Friday (10-4pm) 18-22 August 2014. The teaching will take place at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and will be led by Dr William Marsh.

The course will follow on from our GCSE Computing courses and those attending will need to be familiar with Python.

More information
There will be more details about the course on our dedicated A-level Computing CPD course page and places can be booked at Eventbrite (see button below).

Thanks to funding from the Mayor of London we are able to offer London teachers a 50% reduction in fees (£150), for teachers outside London the full fee is £300. Please see our Fees and Fundingpage for more information.

Book a place for the next “A-level Computing CPD for teachers” course which runs during 18-22 August 2014, (10am-4pm) Monday – Friday, at QMUL
Eventbrite - Teaching London Computing - A-level Computing CPD course

Coming up in July & August from Teaching London Computing: two free workshops, GCSE CPD course, A-level CPD course

What: “Teaching Computing Unplugged to Young Children”
Where: Goldsmiths, London
When: 8 July 2014
Audience: Primary school computing teachers
Find out more

What: Programming unplugged: learning programming without computers
Where: Cardinal Pole School, Hackney
When: 9 July 2014
Audience: GCSE Computing teachers
Find out more

What: Computing CPD GCSE Summer Holiday
Where: KCL (King’s College London, Waterloo Campus)
When: 4 – 8 August 2014
Audience: GCSE Computing teachers
Find out more

What: CPD A-level Computing (one week intensive)
Where: QMUL (Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Campus)
When: 18 – 22 August 2014
Audience: People teaching the A-level Computing curriculum
Find out more – more details will be posted here soon.

Two new free computing workshops with Paul Curzon – 4pm, 25 Jun & 9 July in Hackney

We’re delighted to announce that Paul Curzon will be running another two free workshops for Computing teachers in London. These will take place in a school in Hackney on Wednesday 25 June (A) and Wednesday 9 July 2014 (B).

Workshop A – Invisible Palming! Intelligent paper? So what is an algorithm?
4pm, Wednesday 25 June 2014
Cardinal Pole School, 205 Morning Ln, Hackney, London E9 6LG

Workshop BProgramming Unplugged: Learning programming without computers
4pm, Wednesday 9 July 2014
Cardinal Pole School, 205 Morning Ln, Hackney, London E9 6LG
Eventbrite - FREE workshop with Teaching London Computing - programming unplugged for a free place.

Our other events and courses
FREE: Paul is also presenting a talk “Teaching Computing Unplugged to Young Children” for primary school computing teachers, on 8 July 2014 at a two-day workshop event at Goldsmiths in London. Please note that registration for this event is via Goldsmiths (given in link).

NOT FREE: We also have a new short course for GCSE Computing teachers which will take place at KCL from 4-8 August (Mon-Fri) 2014. “Computing CPD GCSE Summer Holiday (1-week intensive)” costs £150 for London teachers and £300 for those outside London (if space is available)




Calling UK teachers – free copies of cs4fn issue on computer science and medical devices

Free magazine for UK schools from cs4fn, about computer science, medical devices and patient safety.

cs4fn (Computer Science For Fun, based at Queen Mary University of London, QMUL) has been providing school students and teachers with inspiring resources, including magazines, magic books, puzzles and schools talks, about computer science for almost ten years.

Teaching London Computing is a spin-off project from cs4fn to explicitly support teachers. It is run jointly by QMUL and colleagues at King’s College London and provides courses and classroom resources for teachers who’ll be delivering the new KS3, GCSE and A-level Computing curricula. Primary school teachers are also finding many of the resources useful.

There’s also a bit of overlap with a third project, CHI+MED, which is adding a human dimension to cs4fn and TLC. It is funded by one of the UK’s research councils (EPSRC) to investigate how interactive medical devices could be made safer. That project runs over four universities (UCL, QMUL, Swansea University and City University) and the main investigator at QMUL, Prof Paul Curzon, is also one of the people behind cs4fn.

CHI+MED (computer-human interaction for medical devices) takes a very broad view of medical devices – how they’re designed, how they’re approved for use on the market, how people in hospitals decide which one(s) to buy and how they’re actually used in the real world by busy healthcare professionals. Computing is an important aspect of medical device design (software performs calculations and determines how the machine responds to keypresses when a nurse enters a drug dose) but it’s not the only one. It’s important to look at the people involved (the ‘human’ bit of ‘human-computer interaction) at every stage of device development and use too, for example when trying to reduce the harm that can arise when someone makes a slip in mistyping a drug dose.

Magazine cover for cs4fn's special issue on medical devices and patient safetyIssue 17 of the cs4fn magazine series is about the research that people on the CHI+MED project are doing along with related work of other groups. It provides a good overview of some of the issues that researchers are thinking about when looking at patient safety in medical devices. It also shows how computer scientists and researchers work with other types of scientists (ergonomists, human-factors experts) in trying to understand and solve a real-world problem.

Sign up for free copies of the magazine
cs4fn already sends copies of the magazines to schools who subscribe. If you are a teacher or school librarian who would like to receive one or more copies (up to a class set of 30*) of this, and future magazines, please fill in your school’s address details (UK addresses only please) on this form and we’ll do the rest (while stocks last). The magazine is free due to support from EPSRC and Google.

*If you need a larger number of copies, eg for an event, please get in touch (cs4fn@eecs.qmul.ac.uk) and we’ll do our best to get more to you.

[This post cross-posted to both Teaching London Computing and CHI+MED blogs]





What do we get up to in our free programming workshops for computing teachers? Pics from @GTaylorSTEM

Paul Curzon from Queen Mary University of London has been running a series of free Monday evening workshops for computing teachers, on introducing programming concepts into the classroom in fun and creative ways. The next workshop (the last in this series, but they’ll be repeated) is on Monday 17 March at 5.30, more details and free tickets available from Computational Thinking: it’s about people too

Gemma Taylor was kind enough to share a couple of pictures she took from the most recent workshop (Programming unplugged: learning programming without computers) on Monday 3 March, and she’s given us permission to share them here – thanks Gemma!

TLC audience pic01

Naturally you might be wondering what on earth is going on above – Paul has corralled audience volunteers into forming an ’emotional robot’ which can be programmed to react to certain sounds. You can find out the instructions for making your own in our PDF Create-a-face: programming an emotional robot which comes from our workshop page on Programming unplugged: learning programming without computers – an excerpt is below.

The class make an affective (relating to moods and emotions) robot face out of card, tubes and themselves. It is programmed to react to different kinds of sounds (nasty, nice or sudden) and show different emotions (sad, happy, surprised). The class then think up some other facial expressions and program sets of rules to make the face respond to sounds with the new expressions.

The aim of this activity is to demonstrate how apparently complicated behaviour can be programmed using some simple rules. It also shows how programs are just rules followed by computes and specifically introduces object-based programming. The activity shows how breaking a program into objects can be much easier to write than trying to write it in one go. The class get to write some simple programs to control the face they created.

In the picture below the class have created an ‘insulting program’ which comes from the classroom activity ‘The Imp Computer‘ (PDF). That resource and all the other workshop resources can be downloaded from the Programming unplugged: learning programming without computers page.

TLC audience pic02




*New free workshop* Computational Thinking: it’s about people too – 17 March 2014 @QMUL

Prof Paul Curzon is running a series of FREE workshops for London computing teachers on Monday evenings (every second Monday) at Queen Mary University of London (QML). The next one: Programming unplugged: learning programming without computers will take place on Monday 3 March 2014 (there are still tickets available).

The last in this series Computational Thinking: it’s about people too will take place on Monday 17 March at 5.30pm (registration from 5pm) in The Bancroft Building, Mile End campus.

Location: Room 1.13a, The Bancroft Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Rd. E1 4NS

Eventbrite - Teaching London Computing FREE workshop - Computational Thinking: it's about people too for the session on Monday 17th March 2014, 17:30-19:00 (refreshments and registration from 5pm).


Computing is not just about technology, it is about understanding people too. When we solve computing problems we are solving them for people. Computational thinking is the general group of problem solving skills that students learn as a result of studying computing. Often this is equated with algorithmic thinking – a direct result of learning to program. However it just as important to make programs usable by people – or they won’t be used. We will see how magic gives a fun way to introduce these ideas, how a simple game demonstrates why graphical user interfaces are effective, ways of evaluating interface designs, and by creating an interface out of kids, see how something as simple as entering numbers can tax designers and lead to trade-offs between speed and accuracy.

Session material
This session will cover:

  • computational thinking: understanding people
  • human computer interaction
  • why GUIs are better than text-based interfaces
  • evaluating interfaces
  • number entry

Activities are suitable for all age groups and can be adapted to fit your teaching needs.

This session comes with linked activity sheets and ‘story’ write-ups that you’ll be able to download from the page for this event: Computational Thinking: it’s about people too

This is a self-contained evening interactive seminar session. It will last 60-90 minutes plus time for networking. The event starts at 5pm with refreshments and a chance to network. The talk will start at 5.30. For our programme of longer courses for teachers please see CPD courses.

Paul Curzon is a Professor of Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London. He runs the cs4fn ‘Computer Science for Fun’ (cs4fn) project, www.cs4fn.org. It aims to inspire school students about computer science through a series of free magazines, website and school shows. He regularly gives such shows around the UK as well as continuous professional development talks to teachers about the cs4fn approach to teaching. He is Director of the Teaching London Computing Project. He was made a UK National Teaching Fellow in 2010 in recognition of his excellence in teaching and outreach, was a finalist in the 2009 Times Higher Education Innovative Teacher of the year award and has twice won the student nominated Queen Mary award for excellence in teaching.

About us
Teaching London Computing is a joint project between QML and King’s College London (KCL), with support from Computing At School (CAS). We are supporting London computing teachers with a variety of classroom resources (free) and programming CPD courses for computing teachers (£150 for London teachers, £300 for others if space is available). We’re funded by the Mayor of London and Department for Education to provide this support.

New free workshop: Learning programming without computers

Prof Paul Curzon is currently running a series of free workshops for London computing teachers on Monday evenings (every second Monday) at Queen Mary University of London (QML). The next free session Learning programming without computers will take place on Monday 3 March at 5.30pm (registration from 5pm) in The Bancroft Building, Mile End campus.

Lego laptop

“It’s easy to assume that programming is something you have to learn at a computer but if you want your students to deeply understand programming concepts, rather than blindly getting programs to work then unplugged techniques can work really well to get students started. We will see how to program a robot face that is made of students, look at a simple way to give a deep understanding of how variables work by making them physical, and see how to compile programs onto your class instead of onto a computer.”

For more information please visit the workshop’s information page: Learning programming without computers, and you can register for a free ticket using the Eventbrite button below.

Eventbrite - [Free workshop] Learning programming without computing for the free session on Monday 3rd March 2014, 17:30-19:00 (registration and refreshments from 5pm).

About us
Teaching London Computing is a joint project between QML and King’s College London (KCL), with support from Computing At School (CAS). We are supporting London computing teachers with a variety of classroom resources (free) and programming CPD courses for computing teachers (£150 for London teachers, £300 for others if space is available). We’re funded by the Mayor of London and Department for Education to provide this support.