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#LEARN computing HTTCS

Stories, skills and superpowers

The launch of “How to LEARN Computer Science.”

The student book is being printed as we speak, and is available for pre-order on the John Catt website and on Amazon. The story of the book is told on my earlier blog post here.

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I am delighted to share that the book’s Foreword has been written by my good friends Craig’n’Dave, who have been very supportive throughout this project, and inside the book I very much recommend their products especially the course companion SmartRevise, not because they paid me (they haven’t!) but because I use it myself with great results.

The book is not a textbook nor a curriculum primer, but hopefully a riveting read for ambitious students, illuminating the topic and suggesting some stretching activities.  I have taken all the good stuff from the first book (How to Teach Computer Science, available here) that is relevant to an audience of GCSE students themselves, and added lots of new content.

Here are some highlights, I’m proud of how it turned out, see for yourself from these extracts, and pre-order at the links above.

Screenshot from PDF of the book, including the heading "Question It" and the question "Why are there so many programming languages" and 5 other questions.
Extract from Chapter 4 of “How to Learn Computer Science” available for pre-order now.
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Screenshot from LEARN book, showing some activities for students including "research real-life attacks mentioned above" and six other tasks.
Extract from Chapter 10 of htLEARNCs
Screenshot from book showing a "hinterland" story entitled "Inside the black box" about AI in hospitals, and subsequent "fertile question" prompt: "Is AI a force for good?"
Extract from Chapter 11 “Issues and Impacts” showing a “hinterland” story and subsequent “fertile question” prompt.

Currently the book is scheduled for availability on 9th Sep and costs just £12. I asked the publisher to keep the book affordable for students, and I’m glad that’s been possible. There may be bulk discounts available in time, I’ll update you on this blog if that happens.

Don’t forget, this book is the student companion to my original “How to Teach Computer Science” also available from John Catt, Amazon and all good online sellers, links available from the main page of this blog, so why not order both ready for the new school year?

If you are grateful for my work on this blog and the books I have written (remember my royalty is less than a quid of the cover price!) then feel free to show your gratitude here. Thanks!

If you are grateful for my blog, please buy me a coffee at ko-fi.com/mraharrisoncs, thanks!
Categories
computing teaching and learning

htLEARNcs. OUT THIS SEPTEMBER.

Cover Reveal…

How to LEARN Computer Science is coming soon. Publication date is set for September 1st. htLEARNcs contains all the good stuff from the first book (How to Teach Computer Science, available here) that is relevant to an audience of GCSE students themselves, and I’ve added lots of new content. You can read all about the content on my previous blog here.

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As I said earlier, I have kept the new book as faithful to the old book as possible, so teachers can use HTTCS for their own benefit, while recommending (dare I say buying 🙂 ) htLEARNcs for their students.

Teachers can set a chapter of htLEARNcs for homework, or just one of the activities each week. A few copies in the classroom could be used as “stretch” activity resources, and aspirational parents can buy it for their children.

If you are grateful for my blog, please buy me a coffee at ko-fi.com/mraharrisoncs, thanks!

I’ll keep you posted on the progress towards publication. But it’s great to see this second book coming together! If you haven’t got hold of the first book yet, it’s still just £11.55 on Amazon at time of writing.

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Never mind the PowerPoint

Have you asked a question like this on teacher social media?

Has anyone got a PowerPoint for binary addition? They just aren’t getting it.

I need a decent lesson for client server versus peer to peer.

Any resources for boolean logic? I can’t seem to get them to understand it.

When I see these questions I do try to help, but I believe those asking would be better off working on their explanation of the concept. Once you have a strong grasp of the topic, you can explain it well, answer questions, and check for understanding meaningfully.

Teaching is simple, really, if we remember we are just trying to transfer knowledge from our heads to theirs. Looking for lesson resources that shortcut this process is a distracting, often futile enterprise. The time spent looking for that “magic lesson” could be better spent growing your own understanding so you can develop theirs.

Fortunately we now have the NCCE curriculum backed by the Oak Academy recorded lessons, so we can teach ourselves before teaching our students. I also recommend Craig’n’Dave videos and the Isaac Computer Science website, and the great textbooks by Heathcote & Heathcote. Better still, partake of the NCCE training offers.

Once you know it yourself, and feel confident you know it, you can explain the material in ways others understand.

Rather than asking for slides and worksheets, I recommend teaching yourself the content. Then study others explaining it well.

My forthcoming book might help with greater understanding of the GCSE Computer Science content. Comments welcome here on WordPress, on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

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Uncategorized

Core and hinterland: What’s what and why it matters

Reblog from Adam Boxer, this explains my use of the word Hinterland in the context of my forthcoming book.

In 1918, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to a war criminal. In the early years of the 20th century, German scientist Fritz Haber developed a process to artificially synthesise ammonia, a vital component of agricultural fertilisers. A reaction that changed the world, his process drove a ballooning in industrial agriculture and, with the […]

Core and hinterland: What’s what and why it matters
Categories
teaching and learning

Computer Science “Hinterland” Book

Prompted by this post by Tom Sherrington on Twitter and after much discourse about Cultural Capital and its importance in raising attainment of disadvantaged pupils, I got to thinking… maybe I could pull together a “Hinterland of Computing” book to assist teachers and curious students alike understand the history, implications and future of the fascinating topic of Computer Science. 

So I have started. This blog post will evolve and may be followed up by others, but it’s a starting point for my thoughts on the subject. I really need lots of help, so comment below or on my Twitter feed if you have anything to contribute.

I see this being completed in the Summer of 2020 so hopefully published by Christmas 2020, but that may change as I have not published a book before 🙂

My plan is to write a chapter on each topic, based on typical GCSE specifications. In each chapter I would discuss the history of the topic, with interesting stories, discuss the current status and how real-world experiences link to the topic, cross-curricular links and cross-topic links, then cover the future direction, implications and ethical issues, and finish with some inspiration for the classroom, suggested lesson plans and further reading.

For example, the topic on Systems Security might discuss the history of Cryptography from the Caesar Cipher to Elliptic Curve, stories of computer viruses from Creeper to WannaCry, why passwords are the worst way to authenticate yourself (apart from all the others). Everything will link back to GCSE specs and be clear on what students need to know, but the reader will now have lots of background knowledge with which to illuminate the content and hopefully make lessons more interesting, and pass on that Cultural Capital we are all now aware is so important.

Please let me know if you want to help, feedback is very welcome. I’m gathering background reading at the moment so post comments below or message me on Twitter thanks!