This is the full text of the 10th newsletter which I (Jo B) email to all the UK teachers on our Teaching London Computing subscription list. Despite the name we support teachers across the UK and our resources can be freely downloaded by anyone anywhere in the world.
Details in the text below on how you can sign up if you’re reading this for the first time and would like to get the emailed version in future. It’s all free :)
Welcome to the June 2022 Teaching London Computing newsletter, our tenth (previous newsletters live here).
We have a few free London events coming up in June and July, a new issue of CS4FN imminent, and our big news is that Paul Curzon has been awarded an EPSRC grant for his work on public engagement with computer science. This will also allow us to expand the A Bit of CS4FN project for primary schools.
For new subscribers – Teaching London Computing (TLC) supports computing educators with free classroom resources and events and is a sister project to Computer Science 4 Fun (CS4FN), a free computing magazine (and website) to enthuse young people about computer science. CS4FN was founded in 2005 by Profs Paul Curzon and Peter McOwan (who died in 2019).
1. New issue of CS4FN – issue 28
Cunning Computational Contraptions is the 28th issue of CS4FN, our free computing magazine for schools. It’s currently on its way to the printers before being distributed to our UK school subscribers (not a subscriber? Fill in your details using the purple form here). This issue is about contraptions with links to computation, if not always computers themselves, and looks at the history of computing. The magazine will be online shortly, before the print copies land, so please keep your eyes on the link above.
2. Events (all are free)
2a. Barts and Queen Mary Virtual Science Festival 2022
Friday 10 June (10 – 4pm)
[Online] A family-friendly science festival for older secondary school children. This year’s festival will feature short live talks as well as fun website activities. Paul will be giving a half-hour talk at 3pm this Friday, on good medical device design and how computer scientists can help.
2b. QMUL Festival of Communities
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th June (11.30 – 4.30pm)
[In person] Our university (QMUL) hosts an annual free family-friendly event for our local communities in Tower Hamlets (everyone’s welcome though!) – no tickets, just turn up.
We’re excited to be back at the festival this year (after Covid) on the Saturday (only) with our stall in Stepney Green Park. We’ll have our ‘make a cyborg hat’ and ‘colour in a computer zine’ activities for younger visitors and Paul will be giving a talk on The Magic of Computer Science at noon, as well as doing some close-up table magic at the stall.
2c. Discovery: Humans and Machines
Wednesday 6 July (9.45 – 2pm), QMUL Mile End
[In person] This is a free event, for A level Computing students (with their teachers registering them), jointly run between Isaac Computer Science and colleagues in the Computer Science department (EECS) at QMUL. We’ve now reached capacity (~100) but there is a waiting list.
Paul will be giving the keynote talk exploring “how programmers can prevent medical error with good interaction design”.
2d. Festival of Play, from Digital Schoolhouse and Electronic Arts
Guildford: Friday 8th July 2022
Salford: Wednesday 13th July 2022
A new creative careers and Computing conference for students aged 8-15 in association with Electronic Arts to showcase the breadth and depth of roles available in the UK games industry. Book your free tickets.
3. EPSRC ICT Public Engagement Champion
Paul has been awarded funding from the EPSRC for three years as one of 5 newly appointed ICT Public Engagement Champions. The grant will enable him to produce another three issues of our ‘mini CS4FN’ magazine for primary aged children (A Bit of CS4FN) and an issue of CS4FN focusing on diversity in computing for secondary schools on diversity. These and other events planned will empower teachers to champion computer science in their own classrooms. The funding will also enable him to support academic computing researchers (at QMUL and beyond) in embedding public engagement into their work.
4. Ofsted – Research review series: Computing education literature review (16 May 2022)
Ofsted have published a review of research into factors that influence the quality of computing education in schools in England. “Its purpose is to identify factors that can contribute to high-quality school computing curriculums, assessment, pedagogy and systems. We will use this understanding of subject quality to examine how computing is taught in England’s schools.” Ofsted will (later) publish a subject report to share what they have learned. Both Paul Curzon’s and Jane Waite’s research has been included in this review.
5. CS4FN blog: Lego Computer Science
Paul Curzon has been writing a series of blog posts on using Lego as a tool to understand and teach computing.
Part 1: Lego Computer Science: pixel pictures
Part 2: Lego Computer Science: compression algorithms
Part 3: Lego Computer Science: representing numbers
Part 4: Lego Computer Science: representing numbers using position
Part 5: Lego Computer Science: Gray code