About

Hello. I’m currently Head of Computing and also teach ICT (although some people might see it as the other way around :D) at a school in England. I am interested in investigating new ways of learning about Computer Science and improving the delivery and perception of education in this field.

As well as a PGCE, I have a degree in Computer Science and I used to be a Web Developer, experience which has been useful to draw on in teaching. I have created countless systems using PHP/MySQL, both commercially and as in-school type projects. I teach Python as the language for AS OCR Computing and back in the days of yore I have also programmed a bit of Java, C, C++ and Lisp. Crikey.

My current interests include:

  • How can we begin teaching the thinking skills for devising algorithms in accessible ways, pre A-Level
  • How can I make programming exciting at A-Level, whilst still teaching the (OCR) course?
  • Which new technologies are worth having?
  • Is Facebook run by the Ministry of Truth? ;)
  • How can we reduce the feeling of dependency on “techy people”, both from students and other staff? (Or the “No, I will not fix your computer” problem.)
  • Why don’t enough girls like Computing?

I’m sure I have a book or a PhD in me somewhere.

The usual disclaimer here – the views are my own and do not reflect the interests or opinions of my school or any other party.

8 thoughts on “About

  1. Excellent resources…thanks for sharing them! I am an IT teacher of 20 years, looking to update my skills in light of the curriculum changes. Interests: Rasberry Pi, Python, VB and Scratch.

  2. I can’t find a contact email address on your site. You say that you must have a book in you. I am sure you are right. I like your F452 workbook. If you are interested in talking about developing and selling workbooks for Computing / Python via my website, perhaps you would like to drop me an email. Regards

    Dave

  3. I like your thoughts on using Automated Tests to give students a bit more self confidence. I was studying agile software development a few years ago and this part of XP was really interesting. I’m in the middle of a crash course in python and am still unsure if it has the same afinity for unit testing. I’m planning to implement something like what you have put here and intigrate it with the skeleton ideas you had in your 10 projects.

    I even considered extending this to getting students to think about tests to produce before they code as part of the design. TDD: design a test, produce code to pass test. This should reduce the but this is what I want to do!

  4. I really appreciate all of your ideas for some great practice problems in programming. I am a junior Computer Science (female!) major and I have been using your projects to keep up with programming over the summer. I appreciate all of your tips. Thanks so much! If you have any tips or advice (especially as a woman in the field) please let me know. Thankfully I haven’t had any difficulty in this mostly male field and I’m hoping it will stay like that. :)

  5. You have some great resources here! I have taught IT for the last 15 years and delivered the theory sections for A Level Computing for 1/2 of that( I am fine with HTML and CSS but don’t have enough experience for anything more complex).I have now decided to take the plunge and teach GCSE Computer Science using Python so have been madly teaching myself over the last 6 months! I feel a bit unsure about where to pitch the level of coding ( doing AQA GCSE) but I guess that will work itself out as I deliver the course I have (mostly! )written so far. What aspects of learning coding do you find students struggle with most?

    • Hi Sue,
      Are you a member of CAS? Lots of useful resources on there for GCSE. I find students struggle with knowing how to piece together the concepts they know to solve the problem at hand. They tend to get bogged down with learning syntax which in the grand scheme of things doesn’t really matter that much as you can just copy it from a book or website. Good luck with your GCSE teaching!

  6. Thanks for the reply- yes I have joined CAS and there is a lot there to keep me busy. Have also found these sites really useful, http://www.pythonschool.net/ and http://usingpython.com/. Lots of ideas for exercises here,I guess that a lot of practice will be needed to get the concepts across and also stretch the more able students. Not sure how my GCSE students will manage with SQL and databases but having looked at the coursework requirements what they have to do is pretty simple. As you say, they can copy stuff and I have written a step-by-step Python course booklet for them, partly to organise my own head about how to approach it and make sure I cover all the syllabus contents. The rest of the theory is straight-forward ( compared to computational complexity and Big O Notation at AQA A2),hopefully the students will enjoy what I have planned!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s