Inspiring day of software coding for local schools POSTED BY SAM BIGGS, October 2015 


East Berkshire College programmes an inspiring day of software coding for local schools 

In order to promote and support the development of computer software coding skills among young people, East Berkshire College recently ran a series of free coding workshops for local schools at Slough Aspire, a pioneering social enterprise that helps align the community with requirements of large and small businesses in Slough. 
Over 100 pupils and teachers from eight local schools, including Trevelyan School in Windsor and Westgate School in Slough, took part in the special programming and coding days organised by East Berkshire College on 6th and 13th October. 
Designed to support local schools with the development of their IT curriculum, the events gathered together industry experts to talk about the importance of computer programming for future jobs and explore the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi and the forthcoming BBC micro:bit (both pocket-sized codeable computers). 
From a dancing robot to 3D gaming, the pupils had the chance to take part in an inspiring range of practical challenges using the latest SMART devices, which demonstrated key coding principles. Highlights included a Meccano Meccanoid robot that can be programmed to walk, whistle and even tell jokes, a state-of-the-art 3D printer, home automation system, 3D games system, a demonstration on augmented reality and even a vegetable piano! 
Neil Peters, Commercial Director at East Berkshire College, explains: “As a College, we are working closely with employers and schools to address the shortage of technical skills that has been identified at a local and national level. The workshops were a great way for our talented IT students and lecturers to showcase their skills, while helping inspire and encourage young people to explore the world of programming. 
“The activities provided an insight into the multitude of things that can be achieved through coding and helped the pupils develop some basic skills in coding, electronics, engineering and problem-solving.” 
Last year, East Berkshire College unveiled its brand new Innovation Centre (called the Genovation Centre) in Langley, which provides a vibrant learning space for creative thinking, research and project development as well as showcasing new technologies. The stunning new centre means students receive up-to-date training on the very latest technology, while addressing a skills shortage identified in the UK in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. 
Fiona Jones, Slough Aspire’s Chief Executive, says: “Today, knowing how to write software code is absolutely vital and will become even more so, especially with developments like the Internet of Things. 
“The coding days were designed as a taster for the later launch of the exciting BBC micro:bit computer. We are trying to make it easier for pupils at school to understand the challenges and opportunities of coding, but also experience the joy of creating and innovating – turning fun ideas into functional things. 
“Coding fosters an attitude of invention and innovation, which will stand pupils in very good stead going forward into the world of work.” 
For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 800 courses including apprenticeships, visit or call 01753 793000 
For further information on Slough Aspire, which is public and private sector community initiative located at the heart of Slough Trading Estate, call 01753 530146 or visit 
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