Weekend Codability for young people at TNMOC

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Young people across the country invited to learn programming at The National Museum of Computing on Bletchley Park

Following the introduction of Computing to England’s school curriculum last month, young people across the country are being invited to try their hand at programming computers in Block H, the world's first purpose-built computer centre, on Bletchley Park.

Run by The National Museum of Computing, the free Weekend Codability Project will take place every weekend until August 2015, starting 01 November 2014. The sessions are suitable for anyone up to the age of 16, and both girls and boys are encouraged to take part.

The project is sponsored by Ocado Technology, the division behind Ocado.com, the world's largest online-only grocery retailer. The sponsorship is part of Code for Life, Ocado Technology’s nationwide initiative to inspire the next generation of computer scientists, equipping pupils with the skills they need to revolutionise industries of tomorrow. At the heart of Code for Life is Rapid Router, a free comprehensive coding teaching resource, targeted at Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2.

Weekend Codability aims to empower young people by introducing them to programming computers. Children will be taught how to give instructions to computers, change existing instructions in programs and create their own programs. All this will happen among the restored and reconstructed historic machines now in Block H, the first purpose-built computer centre which housed the wartime Colossus computers, the world's first electronic computers.

Codability Guides, a team of young people specifically recruited for the duration of the eight month program, will give visitors lessons on a range of devices from the ever-popular 1980s BBC Micro, to Raspberry Pi and other platforms. A variety of modern laptops and tablets will be available to ensure young people can continue developing their skills through web apps such as Rapid Router and other popular entry-level coding resources. Young coders will also be given information leaflets to enable them to continue developing their skills afterwards at home, school or at a coding club.

Flexible sessions will last for up to an hour and are at no extra charge for any young person accompanied by an adult. There is no need to sign up, young people simply need to turn up on any weekend afternoon with an adult and ask for Weekend Codability.

Tim Reynolds, Chair of The National Museum of Computing, said: "We have seen from visiting educational groups that there is a real thirst for knowledge and experience amongst young people when they see our historic working machines in action. They gain an entirely new perspective on computing and quickly realise that Facebook and their favourite social media sites are just a glimpse of the amazing digital world that lies before them. Through Ocado Technology’s sponsorship, we aim to open the eyes of young people even wider and show that they too can aspire to be as creative and imaginative as the founders of Computing."

Paul Clarke, Director of Technology at Ocado, said: “As a technology business, we at Ocado feel passionately that we have a responsibility to help inspire and educate the next generation of computer scientists. However, teaching children to program is not just about nurturing the next generation of software engineers; being able to write code is a transformative and disruptive meta-skill that needs to be seen as being of huge potential value whatever your future holds. This is why we launched Code for Life and why we are now supporting this exciting project at The National Museum of Computing.”

Media Contacts

Dr Stephen Fleming for The National Museum of Computing
01635 299116

Paula Westcott, M&C Saatchi PR for Ocado Technology
020 3617 8463/ 07717133475

About The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing, located on Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the world's largest collection of functional historic computers, including the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.

A pledge by an individual benefactor of £1 million if matched funding is found means that every pound or dollar donated to the Museum will count double. Previous funders of the Museum have included Bletchley Park Capital Partners, Bloomberg, CreateOnline, Ceravision, InsightSoftware.com, Google UK, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, and 4Links.

The whole Museum is currently open to the public on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon, spring and summer Bank Holidays and increasingly during school holidays. Colossus and Tunny galleries are open almost every day. Guided tours are available at 2pm on Tuesdays. There are often additional opening times for the public -- see the website or the iPhone app for updates. Educational and corporate groups are very welcome and may be on any day or evening by prior arrangement.

For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+. A TNMOC iPhone App is also now available from the iPhone App Store.

About Ocado Technology

Ocado Technology architects and builds the ground-breaking, game-changing technology that powers Ocado, the world’s largest online-only grocery retailer. Customers use its award-winning mobile applications and website to place their orders, which are packed in Ocado’s world-class automated warehouse, and delivered in one hour time slots.

Because Ocado is pushing the limits of what technology can do to revolutionise the way people buy groceries, all of the software that powers Ocado is built in-house. From the real-time control systems that drive its automated warehouse, to robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D vision systems, all of the software is written, built and run by Ocado Technology’s 600 software engineers, developers, designers and technicians.

For more information, visit: www.ocadotechnology.com

Ocado Technology: Fast facts

  • Approximately 35 million orders since Ocado started trading
  • Over 45 percent of orders are now checked out over a mobile device
  • Ocado.com is logged into an average of 2,000,000 times a month

About Code for Life

The Code for Life initiative has been created by Ocado Technology to get every child in the country coding. As the first supermarket to be born in the digital age, Ocado understands the importance of cultivating the next generation of computer scientists. Just as Ocado’s technology experts have used game-changing technology to revolutionise the way people buy groceries, Code for Life will help equip pupils with the skills needed to revolutionise the industries of tomorrow.

At the heart of the Code for Life initiative is Rapid Router, a free comprehensive coding teaching resource, the first version of which is targeted at Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2. It forms the first in a series of educational resources being created by Ocado Technology based on real life challenges within its business to inspire young people to take up a career in computer science.

For more information or to sign up for the free Rapid Router resource, visit: www.codeforlife.education

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