By: John Harrod, Director of Computer Science
On Wednesday, 15th November our GCSE Computer Science students visited the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge. They engaged in four different learning zones all of which generated vital pieces of the Computer Science Puzzle.
They enjoyed a programming workshop which entailed students programming the Raspberry Pi computer to control motors on a remote control car which facilitated students to demonstrate and develop their knowledge of key programming concepts and principles. Students were treated to an interactive tour focusing on the development of computers throughout the years, witnessing a unique collection of artefacts with particular emphasis on the rise of personal computing from the huge machines of the sixties to the impact on us all today.
Fascinating displays in the main gallery presented the technology through themes such as, the sixties, military machines, connected world, games, business machines, calculators and much more. Students got hands on with the mega processor which was used to demonstrate the role of a processor in a computer and students were able to slow the clock speed down and see magic in real time motion to gain a deeper understanding of how computers actually work. To end the tour students sampled retro video games right from the original Pong to the modern day computer games they know and love. As a special treat they were able to play E.T. the Extra Terrestrial on the Atari 2600 game console, perhaps the biggest commercial failure in video gaming history!
Overall it was a fun and informative day which allowed the students to get a deeper understanding of how a computer works and the development of computers as a whole, this will stand them in good stead for the future at GCSE and beyond.