Thursday, 5 April 2018

Getting Started With Computing Resources

For Primary I'd recommend the Barefoot computing resources and either making disposable robots such as what you can make with Raspberry Pi or using robots such as Dash and Dot which you are more robust.  There's plenty of options on the market, so have a look around. I'd make the decision in Vietnam when you know what you are doing.

For primary coding, I'd recommend Scratch as the go to tool if they're on Computers. Otherwise, Hopscotch, Scratch Junior and the new Swift coding for iPads (64 bit only)


For Secondary you should do Python for iGCSE and A-level or Java for IB.  I've included a list of resources to help you get started.  I'd also recommend getting a good book for Python and as you are in the UK, I'd recommend checking them out at the library and see which you'd get along with. Java is generally considered more difficult than Python so I'd be careful about introducing it at Key Stage 3. Some have managed it at year 9 with some good frameworks. I've made a versal course that introduces the basics to year 8 for Python.

General Resources

Hodder Key Stage 3
For a complete UK Key Stage 3 curriculum, this series is very useful:
(Interest disclosure: I am one of the authors) 

Barefoot computing (primary)
Great site for students beginning to code

UK Computer Science Curriculum

Dash & Dot Robotics

Apple's resources

Code To Learn
Scratch Based with some good resources
Great organisation for beginner coders. I find it a little too on the rails in some parts.

Raspberry Pi Curriculum resources
Great for physical computing, but also a lot of good Python materials

A very nicely packaged curriculum

Code Club Projects
Some nice projects here for Python

Please feel free to add other resources in the comments.... I'm sure all will be appreciated!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Python Challenges Major Update

The Python Challenges site that I run has been through a major overhaul over the last 2 months, including a rewrite of most of the code providing interactivity.

A part of the reason for doing this is that Awesome Table are now charging for anything above 1,000 views per month and the fees are more than I can afford for what is a free site. Its a great tool, but I can't afford to spend on something I give away for free...

So I used this opportunity to update the site and rethink how it works. Initially I wanted to replace Awesome Table with some custom written javascript. (You can see this on the AS page) but I soon realised that this was a good opportunity to hand curate the important challenges and make them more engaging.  So both the iGCSE and A2 pages have been written by hand to give them a more individual flavour.

To make my life simpler, I now simply publish the master list of challenges directly from Google Sheets, it may not be quite as nice, but its quick, simple and Google aren't likely to charge me for the service in the near future.

Despite these challenges, the Website now feels more mature with hand curated challenges that really engage students and the A2 pages in particular have benefited from some new challenges created by my students.  I was very pleased to see the work that Jonathan and Sam have done on Prolog and Object Oriented challenges.

I hope you enjoy the new version of the site and please contribute by making comments below and sharing your thoughts!

The link is: