Visit to Microsoft HQ in London

9th January 2015
On Wednesday this week, 7 children from Year 6 traveled by train to London for the day, accompanied by Mrs Reading and Mr Philp.
We were visiting Microsoft where, in their showcase classroom, we had a morning of workshop activities all about computing and thinking like a computer scientist. Our activities included writing a computer program to draw a square, thinking about the algorithm to find a mystery number, drawing the internet and finding out how the internet works. The children were brilliant. They not only learnt loads but they contributed to the activities really well too. For example, Lily May came up with the idea of finding half way to find the mystery number and Michelle presented to the whole room how to make the repeat function work for the draw a square program.
We had a several highlights and firsts on the day. It was Phoebe's first time on a train and Lily May's first time on the tube. Both Pheobe and Chloe loved Buckingham Palace and near there was saw the Scots guards recruits training and the pelicans in St. James' Park being fed. Miles was particularly impressed by all the buildings in London - they are so big and colourful. For Thomas and Michelle, the workshop itself was their favourite part - Thomas enjoyed being able to use a tablet whenever he wanted and Michelle especially enjoyed programming the turtle to draw a square.
Not only was this a great experience and opportunity for the children, but it was also great for the teachers too. It was the launch of the new Quickstart computing materials which have been jointly produced by the DfE and Microsoft. These are materials that have been written by top computing lecturer Miles Berry with the support of CAS (Computing at School) and they exist to help teachers teach computing, which is a new to the National Curriculum from September 2014. As Paganel was one of only 5 schools there, it means that we are first to get our hands on these resources - Mr Philp is already planning to use them to train the teachers at the next staff meeting next Wednesday!