Computing as news

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School Reporters check out coding

Technology is an integral part of daily life for most people and it affects us in lots of different ways.

In our ever changing world, there's always something new coming along. Whether it's a new computer system in school changing the way students are learning or the latest games console on the market, there are always plenty of technology stories to make the news.

BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones gives his Top 10 tips for reporting news about phones, games, computers, the internet and all things relating to technology.

And we're interested to hear your coding and technology stories.

You could be inspired by what's happening in your school. With new technology being introduced all the time, what's changed in your school over the last few years? Do you have new ways of working? Do students use different devices for learning?

Or is your school getting involved with the Hour of Code? School Reporters helped BBC staff to learn the basics of coding at Hour of Code events in BBC buildings around the UK.

As Michael Acton Smith, CEO of Moshi Monsters' creators Mind Candy, says: "Coding is one of the most important skills of the 21st century and I am so excited British schools are going to start teaching coding from this year."

With the introduction of the new computer science curriculum, what's happening in your school? How are students get involved with technology and computer science at the moment and how will that change? Does your school have a code club?

Get your students to discuss the changes and see what story ideas they come up with.

You could get inspiration from your local area. Are there any interested digital or technology companies near your school?

Are you partnered with any companies or do you have ex-students involved with digital creative industries, such as gaming? Why not invite them to talk to the students.

What have other schools done?

BBC School Reporters from Wick High School in Scotland reported on a new app which fellow students at the school created to help farmers keep tabs on their cows' health. The Wick pupils won two out of seven prizes in a student competition for apps to solve real problems.

Every student at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA) has their own personal tablet computer.

Image copyright BBC School Report
Image caption Students at Ysgol Bro Pedr showed how Lego could be used to build a piece of equipment like a camera stand

Staff and students say it has transformed education at the Dorset school - but they have to be careful about internet safety and security.

School Reporters from Ysgol Bro Pedr in Ceredigion have taken computer science a step further by building their own camera to use on News Day.

Using a Raspberry Pi computer as the base, they plugged in a golf ball sized camera unit to relay pictures from their news office to the school website throughout the day.

Not satisfied with creating the camera, they are now building a robot to mount it on so it can move around the newsroom on the day and they even built a stand from Lego.

Students from The Compton School in Barnet broke down the process of making their news reports into a series of stages and put these stages in order.

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School Reporters on how the simple Raspberry PI computer can make coding fun

They created a flow chart to demonstrate this process, and used this to compare their process with that of BBC News Online by interviewing its Editor, Steve Herrmann.

And ahead of the introduction of the curriculum changes in England, School Reporters Joel and Rob from Langley Park School spoke to Lance Howarth, chief executive of Raspberry PI.

The British-made £30 computer aims to make coding affordable, accessible and fun and Lance told them how he first learned to code on a BBC Micro.

Meanwhile Reporters from St Mary's College in Derry talked to students who took part in a Minecraft coding workshop in their school, which was part of the CultureTech festival in Londonderry.

The reporters spoke to Mikael from TeacherGaming who runs MinecraftEdu. He told them about the skills that can be learned from playing computer games as well as Minecraft's recent acquisition by Microsoft.

Useful links

In addition to the material available on the School Report website you may want to look at resources about teaching computer science and coding provided by other organisations elsewhere on the internet.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

  • Computing At School aims to promote the teaching of computer science by providing teaching material, training, local hubs, newsletters and the opportunity to meet with like-minded colleagues.
  • Teaching London Computing displays resources directed at teachers such as activity sheets on computational thinking.
  • Hour of Code aims to make coding accessible for everyone. The website has activities to get started with coding for all ages which teach the basics of programming in 60 minutes.
  • Year of Code is an independent, non-profit campaign to encourage people across the country to get coding for the first time in 2014.
  • Codecademy is an education company based in the US, which provides lots of free online activities to help people learn to code.
  • Digital Leader Network is a collaborative blog where teachers can showcase inspirational work from their schools. It shares a document highlighting useful resources covering the new computing curriculum.
  • Technocamps is a project based in Wales which provides free workshops to young people on programming, robotics, game design, app development and much more.
  • Decoded is a digital education company offering a free one-day course for teachers from state-funded schools to inspire and empower them with the knowledge and confidence to teach coding.
  • Young Rewired State is an independent network of children, aged 18 and under, who've taught themselves to programme computers. It organises events where children can meet up and share their experiences to solve real-world challenges.
  • TeenTech runs lively one-day events to help young teenagers see the wide range of career possibilities in Science, Engineering and Technology.
  • Code Club is a set of tried and tested free, fun, lessons which children can use to learn programming.
  • Computer Science Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.

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