‘Get coding’ is pupils’ message

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‘Get coding’ was the message from Uckfield Community Technology College students who spearheaded the BBC’s Microbits initiative on TV last week.

The BBC Microbit landed in UCTC’s computer department a week ago and year seven students featured on both Neil Pringle’s BBC Radio Sussex breakfast show and BBC South Today on the same evening.

Armed with just Microbits and their chromebooks cruising the Microbit website (https://www.microbit.co.uk,) the students connected battery packs, chose their programming interface and simply started to code.

Half an hour later the room hummed with learning and excitement as LED screens flashed with mini games like Rock-Paper-Scissors, Flappy Birds and Catch the Drop; all making use of the two programmable buttons. Crocodile clips and leads were linked to the microbit output pins and students talked to each other in morse code.

The microbit and the students’ smartphones were connected together via Bluetooth and a student coded a pedometer using the Microbit’s built in accelerometer.

Assistant head Jeanette O’Connor said: “We were are delighted that the BBC chose us as one of their South East launch schools for the Microbit.

“Our students are really keen and enthusiastic about this fantastic tech opportunity. The UK faces a technology sector skills shortage and here at UCTC we are determined to ensure our students have the skills required to thrive in all sectors.

“We have for several years been developing our computer science qualification here at UCTC and we have built a computing curriculum at Keystage three which prepares students for the rigour of our challenging computer science qualifications at both GCSE and A Level.

“Additionally, since September 2015, we have been the Computing Hub school for East Sussex, bringing together primary and secondary teachers and leaders of computer science education to collaborate in our shared vision for Outstanding Computer Science education for all students.”

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