We are involved in a range of outreach activities for school and college students of all ages. Our aim is to inspire young minds, demonstrate how the application of real-life Computer Science can change lives and encourage interest in studying at UCL. Our activities build on our innovative teaching resources and partnerships with local schools, industry partners and organisations. For more information check out our video below or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest School's Outreach News
Google backing boosts UCL outreach in schools
UCL Computer Science started working with Google in September 2014, following the announcement that computer science would become a core subject in primary and secondary schools. Google subsequently provided grants for two department projects. In 2015, the UCL outreach team, including Prof Steve Hailes, Rae Harbird and David White, created a course aimed at teachers to enable them to teach computer science in schools. This year, they developed an innovative software tool that simplifies the way students learn programming, allowing them to focus on problem solving and computational thinking.
Although the software is yet to go live, it will be free to download from the www.ispython.com website and will be advertised to the 24,000+ members of Computing at School (CAS). Crucially, Google's support has allowed the department to make both projects free to use, enabling them to reach many more people. Dave White, CAS Master Teacher at UCL, is quick to emphasise the importance of this outreach.
“Computer science has a huge part to play in the future of commerce in this country,” he says. “At a time when many young people have difficulty finding jobs, young graduate programmers have many paths to choose from.” The department also appreciates the influence of CS Education in the field. “It’s fun education in my view,” Dave adds. “Google’s Course: Computational Thinking for Educators really complements what we do, so we can recommend it to teachers.” See more in the video below.
Computer Science student wins WCIT Bronze Award
The City of London has a long association with the trade organisations, known as liveries, operating within its boundaries. London's livery companies offer a community to their members and are involved in charitable-giving, training and networking opportunities. The livery for computing professionals has the rather grand title of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT). WCIT offers an annual prize for students in the capital and this year Vicky Dineshchandra, a 3rd year Computer Science undergraduate, has won the Bronze award. Vicky was nominated by the Computer Science depa... [more]
UCLIC featured in IET Partners Magazine
UCL's Interaction Centre (UCLIC) is featured in the IET's latest Partner Magazine. Digital Coding: the next big thing beyond coding looks at the new approach to learning, which brings together disparate aspects of computer science, cognition, design and everyday life to provoke curiosity, deep learning and creativity.It was developed by an interdisciplinary team from UCL Computer Science at UCLIC, led by Prof Yvonne Rogers together with Dr Nic Marquardt, Dr Venus Shum, Dr Rose Johnson and Susan Lechelt (pictured). The team has produced ed an extensive, tangible computing toolkit called Mag... [more]
Dr Venus Shum featured in Royal Academy of Engineering teaching resource
Dr Venus Shum, Senior Research Associate at UCL Computer Science, and member of UCL's world leading Human-Computer Interaction Centre (UCLIC) is featured in maths learning resources for teachers in secondary schools that have been developed by UCL’s London Knowledge Lab, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Cornerstone Maths.
The new mathematics learning resource based on the Linear Function module of the Cornerstone Maths software, features profiles of real life app and game developers in order to highlight the links between maths and real-world coding and how coders, app developers and game ... [more]
3Dami Summer School at UCL
We successfully hosted the fourth 3Dami Summer School at UCL during 3rd-11th. August.
3Dami is a 7 day summer school where groups of students run their own studio and create their own animated short film from scratch. It operates at the intersection of art and technology (computer science), and is well suited to students with an interest in both. Students get to experience a semi-realistic studio setup, and create their film as a real studio would – it requires teamwork, thinking on your feet and hard work. The finished films are premièred at a screening on the final evening. The skills taught are directly related to the film effects and computer game industries, both of which are booming in the UK. There will be an industry visit and talks given by experts.
The event is completely free for UK students aged 15-18 (includes free food, transport and accommodation!). Please visit the website www.3dami.org for further details, including how to apply. This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, which is funded by the BFI with National Lottery funds, through the Skills Investment Funds. This programme is also supported through UCL and Cardiff University. Last year's completed films, ‘No Pain, No Train’, ‘Snail Fail’, and ‘Baby Rumble’ can all be found in the playlist below.
UCL Coding Curriculum
Each project is orgarnised in three stages:
1. Scaffolding - the basic principles of programming.
2. Discovery - applying the basics to small examples and experiments to reinforce learning.
3. Innovation - a larger project to enabling students to develop something exciting.
Each Team was assigned to work with one of the following three languages:
2. Microsoft TouchDevelop and our Engduino (C++)
3. Python, some teams used the Raspberry Pi
Our projects are below:
Work experience @ UCL... & some light painting using magnetometers
This is the first year the research team lead by Prof Steve Hailes has provided internship opportunities for 17-18 year olds. We accepted three students for two weeks and its been a very rewarding experience. Prior to visiting, the students had little or no previous experience of coding and were not necessarily considering Computer Science as a choice of undergraduate degree. Our intention was to give them an experience of what it's like to be an engineer by making use of our Engduino, an arduino-based sensor device. As you can see, the students produced some fantastic digital images by experimenting with the programs that they wrote.
We hope the students will join us as helpers at the Electromagnetic Field (EMF) event later this summer, https://www.emfcamp.org. We'll be running a workshop investigating how colour preference affects choice, again using code the students are currently writing for the Engduino. The students are using probability theory to create a simple multi-armed bandit from a set of Engduino devices. They've also learned about some of the basic principles of network communications to implement their solution.
Throughout their stay we set up meetings for them with a number of staff from PhD students to our Vice Dean for Enterprise. We hope the students gained an impression of the wide-ranging interdisciplinary nature of Computer Science.
The department recently launched new innovative teaching tools designed in-house, and this includes the Engduino. Aimed at Key Stage 3 school kids but suitable for ages 9 to 99, Engduino is a single device packaged with several sensors, a processor, communication modules and16 multi-colour LEDs. Simply plug it into the USB slot of your computer and create your first program (“sketch”) to upload to the device. What colour will you make the LEDs light when the heat sensor warms up? How fast will you make them flash? Will they change colour as the temperature changes or as you move it faster? Our simple step-by-step guide will walk you through writing your first set of instructions, but it won’t be long before you start experimenting on your own.
Built for the wear and tear of classroom use where Engduinos are already being used to teach elements of the new Computer Science curriculum, in the home, these robust devices are suitable for the whole family to experiment with. Mastered the basics? Move on to more sophisticated concepts on the same device; perhaps programming the infrared transceiver to communicate between multiple Engduinos. Get ambitious! Then share your projects (or get ideas) with our online community hosted on our forum. Engduino is programmed with Arduino software in (Processing) C language. It is a perfect device for beginners to learn how to do programming and prototyping, with the scope to progress to the Arduino open-source environment to start their making journey! See the videos below for more about the Engduino.
New Computer Science curriculum
From September 2014 Computer Science will be introduced as a new academic discipline to all schools in England, both Primary and Secondary. Teachers are faced with the huge challenge of learning what can be a brand new discipline. We're providing essential support to teachers in our community.
This includes joining the Computing At School (CAS) working group to promote Computer Science in schools. We're is proud to be a CAS hub for London, bringing together teachers and lecturers who wish to share ideas for developing the teaching of computing in their schools, their classrooms and their community. Its a meeting of like-minded professionals with the general objective of supporting each other and the specific aim of providing ideas that can be taken and tried in the classroom.
We have also joined the Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science. This aims to build a high-quality, sustainable CPD infrastructure at low cost. This will be achieved by nurturing long-term, bottom-up collaboration between employers, universities, professional bodies, schools and teachers.
Code Club is a nationwide network of volunteer-led coding clubs for children aged 9-11. Camden is the first borough in the UK to commit to putting a club in all of their 43 primary schools - and UCL Computer Science students are volunteering to help children learn how to code, preparing them for secondary school and allowing them to understand the fundamental principles of Computer Science and its applications in a practical way.