Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Rory Cellan-Jones on one million Raspberry Pis - who's making most use of them?

Yesterday Rory Cellan-Jones reported that Britain had now seen its millionth Raspberry Pi created and gave some examples of projects that are using it.

He also said that the Raspberry Pi project...
"...may have inspired middle-aged hobbyists around the world to invent all sorts of weird and wonderful things, from a Pi-powered bear leaping out of a balloon to any number of robots, musical instruments and vehicles.

But for the Raspberry Pi Foundation that was never the aim. Their mission was to transform the way children in the UK - and then in other countries - understood and used computers.

True, the Raspberry Pi has been an important part of the debate which has seen the ICT curriculum ripped up and a commitment to bring in coding for children from the age of five next September.

But there isn't an awful lot of evidence that a computer designed for children is in the hands of many at the moment."
Read the full news story below
How the Raspberry Pi powers big and small projects BBC News (8 October 2013)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Autumn 2013 short course for teachers of GCSE computing

Queen Mary, University of London will be running its third short course in programming, for teachers of GCSE computing, in the Autumn.  

Previous short courses ran during the Spring term and there was a one-week intensive course during the Summer holidays.

Programming and more: CPD for GCSE computing
Queen Mary, University of London
Wednesday, 2 October 2013 at 17:00 - Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 19:00 (BST)
London, United Kingdom

Event details

This course is for teachers preparing to teach Computing at GCSE or beyond. The course focuses on programming using a textual language and on understanding the essential concepts of the workings of a computer.

The course will run for ten weeks, including during half term. Each session will last for two hours, from 5pm to 7pm. It will take place in the Engineering Building at Queen Mary, University of London, E1 4NS.

Programming Language: The main course language is Python, a popular language in schools, although the concepts you will learn using Python will be applicable to other languages.

Prerequisites: Programming will be taught from scratch but we recommend that you should have tried at least a little programming beforehand (for example, using Scratch, Kodu, Alice or a similar tool). It is not essential to have used a textual programming language before.

Highlights include:

  • The course fee includes a Raspberry Pi for each teacher to keep, used for programming and exploring computers, both during the course and in your own time.
  • The course leaders are from Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London, the home of cs4fn, a respected resource for teachers and students about computing. As well as teaching undergraduate computer science, they have experience of talking in schools and producing fun computing activities for students.
  • Flexible Study Pattern: Material will be available on QMUL’s VLE, which is accessible from anywhere and includes recorded lectures, forums and online tests. The study pattern provides flexibility, allowing for occassional unavoidable absence. The weekly sessions at QMUL will focus on practical programming work. To get the best out of the course, participants should expect to do additional study using the VLE.  
Topic outline
How Computers Work
Python expressions and variables.
Component of the Raspberry Pi
Writing scripts; simple input and output.
The Operating System
Conditional statement; boolean expressions
Boolean logic and truth tables 
While loops; finding faults
Binary representation
Dry running a program
Memory and storage
Arrays (lists)
CPU, caching and performance
Communication principles
Pseudo code and flowcharts
Internet components
Functions. Problem solving
Logic gates and boolean algebra
Using files; designing programs for file I/O
Binary adder circuits