Science Oxford’s new Creative Computing Club

Wednesday 6th January 2016

There is nothing more rewarding for the Science Oxford outreach team than to watch the excitement and wonder in the eyes of the children we engage with about science. And as technological advances are made, so we try to reflect that innovation and change in our outreach activities.

Computer coding has become a headline topic for those reporting on and impacted by the new national curriculum. ‘Computational thinking’ is a skill children must be taught to prepare them for the workplace – it should provide them with the foundation skills, knowledge and understanding so that they can participate effectively in this digital world of ours. The new programme of learning is a big challenge for teachers and pupils alike.

Here at Science Oxford we’re keen to support the new national curriculum for computing, not just through in-school outreach sessions on coding and teacher CPD, but by providing entertaining and inspiring hands-on activities for young people (aged 9+) away from the classroom environment. The freedom to be creative and innovative is vital to learning and discovery across all areas of life and we’ve embraced that ethos with our new Creative Computing Club.

Isobel Mear is our Technology Projects Officer and has devised the Creative Computing Club (CCC.) She explains more:

” Our new CCC is a monthly computing club that will run on the second Saturday of every month at the Oxford Centre for Innovation.  Each month our budding young coders will face different coding challenges and work with the SO team to learn how to solve them. Who knows whether we’ll see the next Zuckerberg, Lovelace or Gates coming through our doors, but we’re really excited to welcome anyone who has an interest in computing and wants to have some fun.”

She adds:

All club ‘members’ will learn to code in the language BASIC. We’ve chosen this language as it’s likely to be new to everyone, and this means everyone will be starting at the same point. BASIC is a text-based language so as well as developing computational thinking, attendees will develop typing skills and be ready for other text-based languages.”

To support the various computer challenges and to help CCC members to code, we’ll be using a specially-designed a programmable computer and electronics workstation called  FUZE. The FUZE system is easy to use and very accessible to young people, making it the ideal platform for learning and teaching computational thinking and computer programming. It also provides a safe environment to experiment with simple electronics. It’s very cool equipment and we are very lucky as the guys at FUZE have generously donated ten workstations to Science Oxford for our club members to use.

The challenges will relate coding to physical objects such as lights and sensors. Isobel says:

“Members will get to see how coding is used in the world around them and get the chance to learn to basic electronics in a safe environment. Parents may remember having a BBC Micro when they were younger – the FUZE offers a similar experience but using 21st century technology!” 

Although Creative Computing is called a club, we welcome new people at each session and you can book one session at a time. There are two age groups and sessions available so you can ensure you get the best workshop and activities for your requirements: in the morning we run a session for 9-12 year-olds and in the afternoon we host the 12-15 year olds. Booking is now open for our first three CCCs and we look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

  • SAT, 13 FEB 2016 – Space Alert – Blast Off! – Imagine you have just blasted off from Earth and your spaceship’s computer is broken! Have you got what it takes to fix your ship, complete the challenges and keep flying? 

10.30 – 12.30  Ages 9-12 (must be accompanied by adult)

14.00 – 16.00  Ages 12-15 (unaccompanied)

 

  • SAT, 12 MAR 2016 – Electronic Espionage – Could you be a super spy?  You’ll need the very best gadgets and gizmos, so join Science Oxford to learn how to use your computer to send secret messages and program an alarm to detect intruders. 

 

10.30 – 12.30  Ages 9-12 (must be accompanied by adult)

14.00 – 16.00  Ages 12-15 (unaccompanied)

 

  • SAT, 9 APR 2016 – Traffic Trouble – Have you got what it takes to stop a car collision? Use buttons, lights and sensors to prevent traffic accidents in this fun and interactive session.   

10.30 – 12.30  Ages 9-12  (must be accompanied by adult)

14.00 – 16.00  Ages 12-15 (unaccompanied)

Tickets start at £6. Book Creative Computing Club now by going to scienceoxford.eventbrite.com 

If you have any questions, drop Isobel an email at [email protected]

 

If you would like to come along to see the FUZE workstations and some example challenges come to Science Oxford’s Clubs open day – a FREE day full of activities for all the family! Jan 30th 2016.

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