Computing Science for Schools

My own modest OER contribution (see previous post) pales into insignificance next to a fantasic set of materials from Jeremy Scott, developed with the support of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the BCS, and a very useful resource (which would make an excellent partner) from Computing At Schools – both aimed at teaching (and supporting teachers) computing for middle/high-school students.

Jeremy’s materials can be found here, have no explicit license or copyright notice, and comprise the following units:

  1. A introduction unit (level 3 in Curriculum for Excellence) using Scratch, with both learner and teacher notes.
  2. The intermediate (level 3/4) unit uses the BYOB extension of Scratch “to consolidate learners’ understanding of Computing Science concepts, with a focus on abstraction and modularity”
  3. The third unit is a little more advanced (level 4), and is focussed on mobile app development using the Google-developed App-Inventor, a Scratch like environment for developing mobile phone applications (Android only).

The units all contain full sets of notes for teachers and learners, “suggested supplementary activities and inter-disciplinary learning opportunities”, and some supporting screen-casts and other useful materials. Impressive, and very nicely presented. While developed with the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence in mind, this is an incredible set of resources that should be useful to any high-school (or even primary school) teacher hoping to introduce students to computer science and programming.

The Raspberry Pi Education Manual, distributed under a Creative Commons license, will be useful to a lot more than just RPi users – as it focuses for the most part on introductory computing and programming using languages available on a wide range of platforms. The manual includes the following sections:

  1. Beginners guide to Scratch (43 pages)
  2. Greenfoot programming (not yet available)
  3. Experiments in Python (39 pages)
  4. Human-Computer interfacing. An interesting section which takes students into the world of communicating with online services and interfacing with hardware. Continues the use of Python. (22 pages)
  5. GeoGebra (another ‘coming soon’ section)
  6. The Linux command line (24 pages) – useful for the RPi in particular, to allow students to understand how to use the RPi and set up their own directories and shortcuts.

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