Over 20 teachers from around the region attended the first session of our three part course ‘The transition from ICT to Computer Science’ at The Innovation Centre, Bradford (TICB) on Monday. The course focussed on some underlying principles of computational thinking which are likely to endure far longer than any particular device or system. Aspects of computer programming were discussed such as accuracy with syntax and attention to detail which can enhance the understanding of sentence structure and grammar in English or the writing of algebra or formulas in Maths and Science. Participants toyed with Ascii codes which convert Binary Data into more easily understandable information such as characters, symbols, pictures and sounds.
An extended hands-on session explored several ways in which interactive computer programming can be taught in stimulating and engaging ways. Teachers programmed acrobatic cats and cartoon characters to perform tricks, crazy fish to swim, and robots to dance. They created elaborate patterns using procedural abstraction, variables and iterations before moving on to Maths based shoot-em-up games. They explored the potential of creating original animated stories and interactive games which can be shared across the web. Within 20 minutes the room started to sound like an amusement arcade!
The session finished with participants coding a web page complete with hyperlinks, formatted text, and pictures using only Notepad software. There seems to be an appetite amongst many cross-phase teachers for a collective approach to planning and resourcing a new rigorous Computer Science curriculum at the appropriate level and key stage. Watch this space for further news and information on this exciting development!