Opinions

CAS Tenderfoot: computer science CPD for key stage 3 teachers

Do you sometimes feel that you’re only a page or two ahead of your computing students? Worried that you can’t answer the tricky questions? Struggle to communicate the bigger picture, linking up fundamental computing concepts?Without extended training and deep subject knowledge, usually gained through a computer science degree, these can be...


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Do you really understand the internet?

This is a page on the World Wide Web, within one of the 1.1 billion websites that exist today.Young people take the web for granted but do they know how a page actually arrived on their screen? To be successful in GCSE and A level computer science they’ll need to!The old ICT curriculum touched only very lightly on network hardware – students...


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Language, truth and logic

Written by: Greg Michaelson, Heriot Watt University.It’s curious how discussions about teaching programming often descend into arguments about the merits of different programming languages, especially for beginners.Right now, the main divide seems to be between visual languages, like Scratch, BYOB and AppInventor, and textual languages, like...


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Summer fun with the BBC micro:bit

It is again the time of year that I really miss being a teacher. The well-earned summer break is a chance to relax, stock up on vitamin D and maybe spend some time thinking of the next academic year.So why not combine a little forward planning with a lot of fun, and try out some BBC micro:bit projects?The BBC Make it Digital team have done a great...


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Problem solving in computing and across STEM - part 3

Our previous articles (part 1 and part 2) have looked at how problem solving is used in STEM subjects and the skills that can be transferred to other subjects to improve learning.In part 3 we learn how debugging can be utilised in other lessons as well as posing questions we as teachers should all be thinking about…Debugging – evaluation and...


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Problem solving in computing and across STEM - part 2

In part 1 we discovered that STEM subjects have common practices that can be shared and taught in the same way to reinforce and improve students’ learning. In part 2 we look at a possible approach to problem solving in computing and how this touches other STEM subjects.Solving problems in computing – a possible approachComputers process data....


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Don’t crumble under the pressure: ideas for the Crumble microcontroller

I was after a microcontroller to allow me to make displays and projects come to life with light and movement.I needed one that would run itself after it’s unplugged from the laptop and above all else it had to be easy to use with no quirky jargon. The Crumble controller fitted the bill and, amazingly, it’s the most easy to use piece...


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Problem solving in computing and across STEM - part 1

UK students are good problem solvers. PISA tests reveal that they are better than most international peers, including those from countries with better performance in mathematics and reading. Can this help their achievement in computing and other STEM subjects?This series of articles explores problem solving in computing and across STEM, asking ‘...


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Taming the Python

Python is the most popular ‘industrial strength’ programming language in UK schools. Beyond education it is widely used by data scientists and web application developers, and pops up everywhere as a scripting language.Its popularity has led to the development of lots of tools and add-ons, some of which are useful in schools. A couple of freebies...


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Struggling to make the change from ICT to computing?

Mark Dorling from Progression Pathways gives us an insight into the challenges of making the change from ICT to computing, with some helpful resources along the way.The subject of computing was introduced into the curriculum in September 2014. Listening to friends and colleagues in the computing educational community, there seems to be a growing...


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