Posts Tagged ‘codeclub’

The skills implications of Cognitive Computing

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

STEMtech is a conference about the education of science, technology, engineering and maths. The attendees are an interesting mix of people from education and policy makers, as well as people like me from industry.

This year, they invited me to do a talk. My slides are shared but they’ll make no sense by themselves. What follows is roughly what I think I said.

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Recycling: a Scratch game for Code Club

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

Grace and Faith have been helping me work on a new project for Code Club. It’s not quite finished yet (Excuse: Thanks to the holidays, it’s still over a week till my next Code Club class!), but it’s close enough that I thought it’s worth sharing the work-in-progress.

The basic idea (more than a little inspired by an old Mega Drive game we’ve played) is that you have to catch falling bits of rubbish and put them in the correct recycling bin.

A playable version is embedded here if you’re using a Flash-friendly browser. Press the green flag to start, use the arrow keys to run left and right, and press the space bar to throw what you’re carrying. (If the embed isn’t working, you can also get to it on the Scratch website.)

I’ve started writing up how we made it, using Code Club’s lesson format tool. (A tool that reads Markdown with a few Code Club-specific extras).

The write-up is still a little rough around the edges, but the source for what we’ve got so far is on github.

And I’ve used lesson_format to create HTML and PDF versions in the Code Club style.

Parsing roman numerals with Python

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Or… how I managed to make some of Grace’s maths homework into another Code Club session

IMG_0355 Grace had some maths homework to do this weekend, converting a bunch of roman numerals into normal numbers.

Being an interfering sort of parent, I got her to show me what she’d done when she finished.

I could see that she’d gotten a lot of them wrong. She had missed the subtraction you’re supposed to do when a large value follows a smaller value.

I’m a big fan of rubber duck problem solving, but she hadn’t spotted that she’d gone wrong. I decided to try something similar.

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Kids should learn to code

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Does a five-year-old need to learn how to code?

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by the BBC. In a fairly long phone call, I either rambled inanely or provided detailed and nuanced answers in context. That depends on your point of view.

Either way, obviously not a lot of it could make it into their story, as they really only needed a few quotes. So I thought I’d put more of what I said here.

The background for the story was the changes to the UK school curriculum which means that all kids are being taught to code. And the basic premise for the piece was that as we’re “entering an era when computers are actually beginning to teach themselves” that this is unnecessary and that coding itself is becoming an outdated skill.

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Starting a Code Club

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

logo This year I started a Code Club at my local primary school.

It’s still early days for me (I’ve only run four sessions of the Club so far) so I’m obviously not an expert on this stuff. But I thought I’d share some of my first impressions as a volunteer.


What is Code Club about?

If you’ve not heard of it before, Code Club is about giving children aged 9 – 11 a chance to try computer programming.

“A nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11”

It isn’t something that they normally cover in primary school (in theory, this should all change from September 2014 with Year of Code, but we’ll see how that works out), so Code Club is an attempt to introduce programming in primary school, rather than wait until it gets introduced in Secondary school.

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