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Children invited to Bletchley Park for free weekend coding sessions

Antony Savvas | Nov. 10, 2014
Children across the country are being invited to learn programming at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

Children across the country are being invited to learn programming at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

Following the introduction of computing in England's school curriculum this term, young people are invited to try their hand at programming computers in Block H, the world's first purpose-built computer centre at Bletchley Park.

Run by The National Museum of Computing, the free Weekend Codability Project will take place every weekend until August 2015, after starting last weekend. The sessions are suitable for anyone up to the age of 16.

The project is being sponsored by Ocado Technology, the division behind Ocado.com, the online-only grocery retailer. The sponsorship is part of Code for Life, Ocado Technology's nationwide initiative to inspire the next generation of computer scientists. At the heart of Code for Life is Rapid Router, a free coding teaching resource, targeted at Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2.

With Weekend Codability, children will be taught how to give instructions to computers, change existing instructions in programs and create their own programs. All this will happen among the restored and reconstructed historic machines now in Block H, the computer centre which housed the wartime Colossus computers - the world's first electronic computers.

Codability Guides, a team of young people specifically recruited for the duration of the eight month programme, will give visitors lessons on a range of devices, from the popular 1980s BBC Micro to the Raspberry Pi and other platforms.

A variety of modern laptops and tablets will also be available to ensure young people can continue developing their skills through web apps such as Rapid Router, and other popular entry-level coding resources. Young coders will be given information leaflets to enable them to continue developing their skills afterwards at home, school or at a coding club.

Sessions will last for up to an hour. There is no need to sign up, young people simply need to turn up on any weekend afternoon with an adult and ask for Weekend Codability.

Tim Reynolds, chair of the National Museum of Computing, said: "We have seen from visiting educational groups that there is a real thirst for knowledge and experience amongst young people when they see our historic working machines in action. Through Ocado Technology's sponsorship, we aim to open the eyes of young people even wider and show that they too can aspire to be as creative and imaginative as the founders of computing."

 

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