BBC to give Secondary children mini-computers in Make it Digital scheme

The BBC will be giving away mini-computers to 11-year-olds across the country as part of its push to make the UK more digital. One million Micro Bits – a stripped-down computer similar to a Raspberry Pi – will be given to all pupils starting secondary school in the autumn term.

The BBC is also launching a season of coding-based programmes and activities, which will include a new drama based on Grand Theft Auto and a documentary on Bletchley Park.

The initiative is part of a wider push to increase digital skills among young people and help to fill the digital skills gap as the UK is facing a significant skills shortage, with 1.4 million “digital professionals” estimated to be needed over the next five years.

For the full article visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31834927

Scratch Your Nose coding event to raise funds on Red Nose Day!

Momentum is building for Scratch Your Nose – an interactive coding event for students, schools and coding clubs – with over 300 schools now signed up to be involved!

Taking place on Red Nose Day, March 13th, students and schools are invited to get involved by creating red nose inspired games using the free Scratch programming tool. Over 50 students will be attending a central event at Innovation Birmingham at the Birmingham Science Park where they will be guided and inspired by a variety of industry experts before showcasing to local businesses. Schools across the UK will also be running their own events in school with many of them already preparing games in anticipation.

Schools and students can find Scratch resources and video tutorials on the website. And, a livestream of the entire event will be broadcast from scratchyournose.com so students across the UK can benefit and be inspired by the expert talks.

Ray Maguire, CEO of Gazoob says “We are delighted to see how the Scratch Your Nose event is capturing the imagination of teachers and students across the UK. Not only will the day be fun and raise funds for Comic Relief, but for many students it may be their first experience of coding which can deliver a multitude of learning benefits encouraging creativity, problem-solving skills and team work. Ultimately, it might inspire students to consider a career in the games industry ”.

Students can continue to develop their games after the Scratch Your Nose event and enter into the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition. See ygd.bafta.org for details on how to enter and further game making hints and tips.

For Press Enquiries, please contact:
Claire Ridley
E: claireridley@gazoob.com
T: 07917428270

GET CODING with The Voice UK

To celebrate British Science Week the BBC is at The Big Bang Fair bringing coding to life with The Voice UK in an exciting interactive live lesson on computer science for upper key stage 2 and key stage 3. 
‘The Voice UK Make it Digital Live lesson’ will be 45 minutes long and will be webcast live on Friday 13 March 2015 at 11am! Please visit www.bbc.co.uk/livelessons to watch and interact with the live webcast. (Details will be available on the BBC website on the 2 March 2015 about how your students can get the most out of the lesson).
We will be inspiring years 6 – 8 to get creative with coding and covering key curriculum concepts. Including – algorithms, sequencing, iteration, selection, coding and computational thinking. So join Clara Amfo Radio 1’s chart show presenter for this unique computer science live lesson. We will be having amazing expert guests to demystifying and celebrating computer science’s creative potential including…Lilly Kam, Will.i.am’s coding mentor explaining coding key concepts and other special guests.
Recommendations
We encourage schools to get their Years 6 to 8 to watch the live webcast together in a school assembly room or any open space with internet and video access. Elements of the live webcast are interactive so students should have access to marker pens, paper and clipboards. 
For more information about the lesson please email BBCattheBigBang2015@bbc.co.uk with ‘INFORMATION’ in the subject line.

Software Engineering in Schools by Miles Berry

An interesting article from Miles Berry – the writer of Switched on Computing

The first stage of developing any software project isn’t coding, it’s planning. Developers will also need to draw on computational thinking in first designing their programs before they start coding. How formal this design stage is will vary from one development methodology to another, but there’s always some thinking and planning necessary before the actual coding can begin.

The national curriculum for Key Stage 2 expects that pupils will have some experience of working on larger software projects than just learning the key programming concepts of sequence, selection and repetition:

‘design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals’

The way you go about this though is up to you. Choose the approach which would work best with your pupils, and for the particular project you (or they) have in mind.

To read the full article by Miles and about the different methodologies click here