#TICEcomputerscience off to Bunker at Campus North

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Silver Stage Computer Science (24th Feb & 1st March)

The first of two Silver Stage Computer Science one-day workshops was held in Bunker (a coffee shop with an auditorium at the rear) at Campus North in Newcastle.CN1

Year 9 and 10 students from Burnside BEC, Whitley Bay High School, Ashington High School and Longbenton Community College came together to continue their TICE Computer Science journey with mentor Phil Jeffes.

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In teams of 2/3 students used a Raspberry Pi microcomputer running Python code to create a distance sensor with an LED indicator light to indicate when an object gets too close to the sensor.
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Teams worked through the code systematically with David Murray, ICT Support at Burnside BEC saying, “TICE is a great opportunity to learn about different career paths and for the students to gain experience within computer science using these relevant technologies.”
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Guest speaker Sarah Cox, Project Manager at Agile Pixel talked about how she started her ‘tech’ career despite not being a programmer but through a passion for genuinely wishing to help people solve their problems such as with their websites. Sarah also highlighted the importance of Newcastle as an up and coming ‘tech’ community.

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It was therefore very apt that a quick tour of Campus North illustrated to the students the community vibe and how Campus North assist technology start up businesses through providing workspace solutions, event opportunities and supporting education.

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Owen, student at Burnside BEC said of his day, “it’s been really interesting and I am definitely considering computer science as a future job.”

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Mid way through the morning Jo York from Reframed.tv popped in to speak to the students about her job role and how she started within the industry.  Jo spoke of feeling very lucky to owning a Mac aged just 8 years old, when at school the technology was so dated they didn’t even have a mouse to use with the computers! Jo said, “I used to look at things other people had designed and built and I would take them apart to learn how they worked and then self taught myself how to code.”  Jo recommended the students find out what element of a technology or creative industry they enjoy and to ‘give it a go’, learning through experience to develop skills and explore different job roles.

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After lunch a second task was set to use PyGame, a Python library, to make an Asteroids game, expanding on the gaming examples the pupils put together, in the Bronze stage, using Scratch. The students then moved onto using Python to manipulate a 3D virtual space in, Minecraft, with the theme for the session being pumpkin carving.

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Rachel Morris, Computer Science teacher at Burnside BEC said, “the students today have had the opportunity to independently solve programming scenarios by using a practical approach with excellent exposure to industry professional