[python-uk] The BBC and Python
jonathan.fine1 at googlemail.com
Fri Oct 7 13:24:14 CEST 2011
This sounds interesting. I work at the OU (in a technical support rather
than teaching role) and may be able to help out with contacts, background
and history. I think they'll be some interest in this sort of thing across
the OU, although not necessarily with Python as the programming language.
The OU runs a course "My Digital Life" which is related to this (but not for
At the centre of the course is The SenseBoard, which as I recall Gary
I hope this helps.
On Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 11:11 AM, Nicholas Tollervey <ntoll at ntoll.org> wrote:
> Hey Folks,
> It has been brought to my attention that the BBC *are* actually making
> moves in the area of programming in schools (viz. what happened at
> I've copied an email that was forwarded to me and I think it'd be useful
> for the UK Python community to engage with these guys. I'm certainly
> going to respond and I know that there are many people on this list who
> have valuable experience and knowledge to share.
> It's almost lunch time. If you're at a loose end over your
> sandwich-break then why not reply rather than browse Slashdot..? :-P
> All the best,
> From: Keri Facer <K.Facer at mmu.ac.uk>
> > Date: 6 October 2011 11:54:36 GMT+01:00
> > To: Keri Facer <K.Facer at mmu.ac.uk>
> > Subject: 'BBC Micro' Project -
> > Hi all
> > Thanks for expressing an interest in informing a possible new BBC
> > Micro Project and thanks to all of you for the comments you have
> > already sent - apologies for the group reply, but your help with the
> > following would be very much appreciated!
> > Best wishes
> > Keri
> > Invitation to contribute
> > The BBC is exploring the possibility of developing a new ‘BBC Micro’
> > project to encourage an interest amongst young people in computers,
> > computational thinking and computer science. Manchester Metropolitan
> > University is working with the BBC to draw on the views of teachers,
> > lecturers, computer scientists, programmers and others with an
> > interest in computational thinking in the UK today. We would
> > appreciate your assistance in helping to inform the early stages of
> > this process.
> > First, a bit of background:
> > In the early 1980s, the BBC started what became known as the BBC
> > Computer Literacy Project in response to predictions of a coming
> > microcomputer revolution and its likely future impacts on UK economy
> > and society. The BBC based its project around a computer and
> > programming language capable of being used to perform various tasks
> > which would be demonstrated in a TV series The Computer Programme. The
> > list of topics in the TV programme included graphics, programming,
> > sound and music, controlling external hardware, artificial
> > intelligence and teletext The computer selected was the Acorn Proton,
> > which was then re-badged the BBC Micro. The government funded the
> > purchase and distribution of 12,000 of the computers to UK schools for
> > use alongside the TV programme. In turn this stimulated a significant
> > growth in domestic use of the Micro.
> > Today, there is criticism of the ICT curriculum and the teaching of
> > programming (or computational thinking) in schools. The Royal Society,
> > amongst others, believe that design and delivery of ICT and computer
> > science curricula in schools is so poor that students’ understanding
> > and enjoyment of the subject is severely limited. In response to this
> > the BBC is exploring the possibility of developing a project with the
> > specific purpose of encouraging an interest in computers, computer
> > science and computer programming amongst young people.
> > We would like to know your views on what the BBC could do in this
> > area. In particular, what you would see as the desirable equivalent of
> > the BBC Micro and The Computer Programme today? What technologies and
> > processes, what tools and skills would such a project need to
> > develop? In particular, we would appreciate answers to the specific
> > questions below
> > (NB, we use the term computational thinking rather than computer
> > science, programming, or ICT skills because we don’t want to assume
> > one particular view of what is important in this area. That, indeed,
> > is what we want your views on).
> > Key questions
> > * What aspects of computational thinking (e.g. understanding how
> > ‘computers think/work’, using programming languages,
> > understanding systems thinking or other issues) should a BBC
> > Micro 2.0 project focus on? What do you think people should be
> > able to learn to do with computers today? Why?
> > * What are the best ways to support and encourage those young
> > people (aged 9-14) with an interest in this area, to develop
> > their interest and skills in computational thinking ? Can you
> > suggest any examples of resources or activities that you know
> > of?
> > * What are the best ways to support and encourage young people
> > (aged 9-14) with other intereststo develop an interest in and
> > understanding of computational thinking? Can you suggest any
> > examples of resources or activities that you know of?
> > * What are the key obstacles to learning computational thinking
> > and how might these best be overcome?
> > * If you were to make hardware available to schools in the same
> > way as the BBC Micro in 1981, what sorts of hardware would you
> > think was essential to develop the skills and understanding
> > needed?
> > * If you were designing a tv programme today that sought to have
> > the same effect as The Computer Programme in stimulating
> > interest in the most important new area of technological
> > development, what area would you expect it to address and what
> > topics would you expect it to cover? Would it still be in the
> > field of computer science? What areas?
> > * Do you know of any projects, resources and activities that
> > would be examples that this project could learn from?
> > * Do you have any other comments on the idea of a new BBC Micro
> > project?
> > Thank you for your time and your help – do let us know if you’d like
> > to be kept updated if there are further developments.
> > Keri Facer (MMU)
> > Howard Baker (BBC)
> > Nicola Whitton (MMU)
> > Keri Facer
> > Professor of Education
> > Education and Social Research Institute
> > Manchester Metropolitan University
> > 799 Wilmslow Road
> > Manchester
> > M20 2RR
> > Tel: 0161 247 2412
> > Email: k.facer at mmu.ac.uk
> > Twitter: #kerileef
> > "Before acting on this email or opening any attachments you should
> > read the Manchester Metropolitan University email disclaimer available
> > on its website http://www.mmu.ac.uk/emaildisclaimer "
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