Introduction to algorithms, programming and data for D&T teachers - face to face CP229

Learn how to use programming techniques using VEX, Crumble or Micro:bits. Create simple block-based computer programs, discover how to create algorithms and how computers use data.


Take your first steps towards teaching programming within Design and Technology, during this two-day course you’ll explore different programming techniques and how to apply them to popular platforms such as VEX, Crumble and Micro:Bit. You’ll consider how use-modify-create can be used in the classroom to support students with their programming understanding.

You’ll find out how algorithms are designed and how programs are written to provide clear instructions to machines. Learn about the binary system used by computers to store and process data, and how to convert to and from the familiar denary system of numbers zero to nine.

Create some simple block-based computer programs and discover how to implement them using the Python programming language. Use your knowledge to write programs that can handle user input and manipulate variable values before outputting simple messages to the screen.

Do you prefer to learn remotely? If so, take a look at: Introduction to algorithms programming and data for D&T teachers

Who is it for?

This course is for all design and technology teachers who may be new to the subject, or who may have taught computing in earlier years.

No prior experience or knowledge of computing is expected before attending this course. It is advised that you become familiar with the National Curriculum in Computing before participating.

What topics are covered?

01 | Programming using VEX / Crumble / Micro:Bit - this session will introduce you to the platforms VEX, Crumble & Micro:Bit. Using your selected platform, you’ll use and modify your own working programs, starting with basic programming techniques.

02 | Creating solutions using VEX / Crumble / Micro:Bit - during this session you’ll have the opportunity to create your own working programs, using programming techniques that you’ve explored during the first session.

03 | Going further with VEX / Crumble / Micro:Bit – develop your programming skills further by using loops and variables. During this session you’ll use, modify and create your own working programs using loops and variables.

04 | Introduction to algorithms – from the instructions you might give to make the perfect cup of tea, to the steps needed to sort a list alphabetically, this session will introduce algorithms. You’ll discover the three key constructs that comprise all algorithms at this level, and how to describe algorithms using flowcharts and pseudocode.

05 | Creating algorithms – this session will allow you to start creating your own algorithms represented in both flowcharts and pseudocode.

06 | Essentials of computer programming – computers do not understand English as humans do. To get a computer to carry out the instructions contained in an algorithm, a computer program must be written. In this session you’ll find out how the basics are expressed in a simple block-based language, as well as the text-based language Python.

07 | Creating programs – this session will allow you to start developing your own computer programs, starting in a block-based language allowing you to get to grips with the programming constructs sequencing, selection and iteration before moving into the text based language Python.

08 | What is data? – data is all around us, in written and electronic formats. Computers handle data in the form of binary – ones and zeros that can represent the dates, alphabetical characters, images and so on that are important to us humans. You’ll carry out basic data-handling operations through simple programs, changing inputted data into different outputted data.

09 | Using data? – this session will allow you to get to grips with binary and hexadecimal conversions, binary addition and binary shifts.

How will you learn?

You’ll engage with active learning in groups including direct instruction, hands-on activities and challenge-based learning, led by an experienced Professional Development Leader. The course will model teaching approaches that can be taken back to the classroom.

How long is this course?

This course is approximately ten hours in duration, split across two days.

This course is delivered as part of the National Centre for Computing Education.


By the end of this course you will be able to / participants will:

  • Develop basic programming skills using different platforms including VEX / Crumble / Micro:Bit

  • Understand how use-modify-create can be used to support students with programming skills

  • Learn about algorithms, how they are usually represented, and some of their most common applications

  • Recognise and use the basic building blocks of programming: sequence, selection and repetition

  • Explore developing code using block-based and text-based programming

  • Understand how binary, denary and hexadecimal are used to represent numbers, and why this is important for computer science

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