Teach 11 year olds programming.

It was great to arrive in the staffroom on Monday this week to be greeted by many teaching colleagues telling me things like. “Alan, did you hear the news on Radio 4? There were people saying that Computing Science should be taught in school”. I wanted to respond and say – “but it is already, at least in this school“.

Later that day I listened to Bill Thompson quote the writer William Gibson,

The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”

Earlier this year, I decided that we were going to introduce computing science or computational thinking to all children in our school. Over the Summer Holidays I studied crash courses in Java, Visual Basic, C#. It was only when I landed on Python that I felt my journey to find a suitable language to teach computer science had reached the first stop on the journey.

So, for the last few weeks, I have tried a few different variations with my guinea pigs in Year 7, 8, 9 and 10. I thought my toughest challenge would be a low – mid range ability class in Year 7. IN these next two audioboos, I share some of my thoughts and experiences. If you search further back in my blog, you will find some interviews with a range of pupils and see some lessons on YouTube that I recorded where the children taught the rest of the class some computational concepts. I have now made my audioboos available iTunes as well so if you have a suitable device you can automatically download the latest episodes for listening on the train, bus, car etc.

I do really hope that after listening to these ‘boos you will try doing something similar with your own children or classes and let me know of your own experiences. We will soon be rolling this out to other classes in school and would like to chare this with you.


We will be offering a free evening course at our school on Thursday 1st March 4.00 – 5.30pm for any teachers who are interested in learning how to teach Python or want to come along and watch, observe.  http://caspreston.eventbrite.com/

You can download these to your mp3 player here, available here in iTunes or visit my Audioboo page.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Well done you have my whole hearted support. ICT has been a disaster – nobody needs to be taught to use MS Word. I taught my self to program BASIC and then Logo before going on to do a CS degree and now I’m a professor of AI and loving it.
    I’m sure programming will not be for some children but many will thank you for the rest of their lives.


    1. Steve says:

      ‘Nobody needs to be taught to use MS Word’…
      ‘I taught myself to program…and now I’m a professor’, by the same logic…nobody needs to be taught to program.
      Nobody needs to learn to drive…I taught myself to drive…doesn’t mean I’m an effective driver. I taught myself to fix cars…I fixed the brakes on my car…doesn’t mean its safe to drive the car etc.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s