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.
13 thoughts on “About”
You sound like a pretty fantastic teacher, actually interested in what you teach :O
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.
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
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!
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. 🙂
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?
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!
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!
Hi I’m a 25 year old developer about to start a new job which will train me to be able to train others. I’m really excited about this role because I would love to teach programming eventually. With that goal in mind do you have any tips?
I’m UK based so it would (hopefully) be directly relevant and because there are a lot of changes being discussed for the IT curriculum I think this could be a great time for me to acquire the skills that could get me on the right course for becoming a teacher.
On obtaining a resource for the A Level Computer Science student workbook, I was impressed and astonished regarding the detail and time taken to create such a workbook for the students. As I am new to teaching both GCSE and A Level Computer Science I found the work to be pitched at the correct level for both myself and my A Level class.
Being a bit cheeky I was wondering if I could perhaps get some of the PowerPoint presentations and linked documents to allow me to use this fully as I feel it would really benefit the students, but also myself as I continue with my CPD.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
P.S. Thanks again for sharing the resources 🙂
I have a fantastic resource that you have created what I am going to use (you’re a lifesaver) with my BTEC Computing students who are starting to program in Python. It’s the OCR F452 Computing Student Book; 88 pages of it. Wow.
I wondered if, by any chance you had an answer document to go with it too?
This would be great if you have it available.
Thank you for creating this great resource. I am definitely going to introduce it in the next few lessons of the Python course I am giving.
While experimenting with the Text widget, I wanted to change the background color, but found there did not seem to be a method for this. For example, if I set the App bgcolor=”red”, any Text widget just has a grey background. Is there any way to change the background from grey?
Sorry, I haven’t checked comments in a while! It’s not in guizero yet but you can do this by using a tkinter method (anything you can do in tkinter you can do in guizero).
from guizero import App, Text
app = App()
name = Text(app, text=”Laura”)
name.tk.config(bg=”red”) # config() is a tkinter method
I think that this might be coming up in a future release – guizero is being maintained by Martin O’Hanlon at the moment as I’m on maternity leave! 🙂