Opinions

Algorithms + data structures = programs

Are we focusing more on algorithms and forgetting about data structure when writing computer programs? The fact is programming revolves around data either by processing data, storing or retrieving data and more innovative algorithms have been created by organising data efficiently which results in improved performance."Smart data structures and...


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How to manage student coding projects

Programming projects are central to computing, but managing them can tie you up in knots. Submitting and commenting code via email, printouts, screenshots, shared drives – these will get you by but don’t scale well.The pros share code using Git or other version control systems – and teachers can use GitHub for free. The learning curve is steep,...


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STEM Ambassadors and computing education – a marriage made in heaven?

STEM Ambassadors… meet computing teachersComputing teachers have worked extremely hard to make a success of the new computing curriculum, despite only a small minority actually possessing a degree in a related field. Few have worked in industry and many have committed significant amounts of their own time to upskilling, ready to support the...


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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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STEM Learning magazine

Leaf through our termly magazine packed with engaging, useful information, ideas and resources.