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New learning programme at TNMOC

Date Posted:05/11/2014

National Museum of ComputingFollowing the introduction of Computing to England’s school curriculum last month, young people across the country are being invited to try their hand at programming computers in Block H, the world's first purpose-built computer centre, on Bletchley Park.  

Run by The National Museum of Computing, the free Weekend Codability Project will take place every weekend until August 2015, starting 01 November 2014. The sessions are suitable for anyone up to the age of 16, and both girls and boys are encouraged to take part.

The project is sponsored by Ocado Technology, the division behind, the world's largest 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, equipping pupils with the skills they need to revolutionise industries of tomorrow. At the heart of Code for Life is Rapid Router, a free comprehensive coding teaching resource, targeted at Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2.

Weekend Codability aims to empower young people by introducing them to programming computers. 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 first purpose-built 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 program, will give visitors lessons on a range of devices from the ever-popular 1980s BBC Micro, to Raspberry Pi and other platforms. A variety of modern laptops and tablets will 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 also be given information leaflets to enable them to continue developing their skills afterwards at home, school or at a coding club.

Flexible sessions will last for up to an hour and are at no extra charge for any young person accompanied by an adult. 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. They gain an entirely new perspective on computing and quickly realise that Facebook and their favourite social media sites are just a glimpse of the amazing digital world that lies before them. 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."

Paul Clarke, Director of Technology at Ocado, said:  “As a technology business, we at Ocado feel passionately that we have a responsibility to help inspire and educate the next generation of computer scientists. However, teaching children to program is not just about nurturing the next generation of software engineers; being able to write code is a transformative and disruptive meta-skill that needs to be seen as being of huge potential value whatever your future holds. This is why we launched Code for Life and why we are now supporting this exciting project at The National Museum of Computing.”