Demand for TNMOC school visits surges

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Reaching the parts that schools cannot

The nationwide campaign to revitalise computing education and encourage more young people to study computer science seems to have had an immediate impact on school bookings for The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park. Last week saw a sudden increase in school requests to visit the already highly popular venue and the Museum is stepping up its search for resources, especially business sponsorship, to enable it to increase its capacity.

Located at Bletchley Park in the historic Block H, the world's first purpose-built computer centre, TNMOC offers schools an unparalleled perspective on our computing heritage. During 2011, more than 1,300 students aged 14-19 visited the venue coming from as far as Sunderland in the north to Brighton in the south. They were able to see the development of computing from a functioning rebuild of Colossus, early machines from the 1950s, mainframes of the 1960s and 1970s, and many had hands-on opportunities with micros of the 1980s and even the most advanced Domesday Touchtable of the present day.

Chris Monk, TNMOC's learning co-ordinator, said " We believe that coding is cool and we welcome the recommendations of the Royal Society for a brighter future for Computer Science in schools. A key aim of TNMOC is inspire and enthuse students to become computer scientists and engineers. With us they can see early computers in action and they can have hands-on programming experience with the BBC micros of the 1980s. Students can therefore gain a real understanding of the development of concepts and workings of computers that is so difficult to convey within school classrooms."

Tim Reynolds, acting Chair of TNMOC, said: "We offer schools our specialist knowledge and access to a unique collection to complement and supplement their teaching. We are well-equipped to introduce the more complex concepts of computing, revealing the essential elements that are all but invisible in today's computers. We can give students an exciting day-out and a glimpse of the decades of work that has led to today’s everyday use of computers and applications.

"TNMOC offers tremendous facilities and opportunities for educators and we are urgently seeking new resources to increase our capacity. Learning at TNMOC is an excellent opportunity for business sponsorship and partnership to help inspire a new generation that will write the next chapter in the development of British Computing.”

The Learning section on www.tnmoc.org gives full details of facilities and booking arrangements.

Notes To Editors

1 School visits to TNMOC

For schools, key areas of interest in TNMOC are:

  • Tunny, Heath Robinson and Colossus
  • Calculators and slide rules
  • The Analogue Computing gallery
  • The WITCH computer
  • The Large systems gallery
  • Flight simulator room
  • Punched card gallery
  • Personal Computing gallery
  • Technology of the internet gallery
  • BBC Domesday and classroom

See www.tnmoc.org Learning section for full details.

2 The Royal Society Report on Computing in Schools

The Royal Society Report Computing in Schools was published on 13 January 2012 and is available at: http://royalsociety.org/education/policy/computing-in-schools/

3 About The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing located at Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the largest collection of functional historic computers in Europe, including a rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic programmable computer.

The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the mainframes of the 1960s and 1970s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s. New working exhibits are regularly unveiled and the public can already view (from 5 March 2012) a rebuilt and fully operational Colossus, the restoration of the Harwell Dekatron / WITCH computer, an ICL 2966, one of the workhorse mainframes computers of the 1980s, many of the earliest desktops of the 1980s and 1990s, plus the NPL Technology of the Internet Gallery. In June 2010 TNMOC hosted Britain’s first-ever Vintage Computer Festival.

Funders of the Museum include Bletchley Park Capital Partners, CreateOnline, Ceravision, InsightSoftware.com, PGP Corporation, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, Black Marble, and the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire.

The Museum is currently open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 1pm, and on Bank Holidays in spring and summer. Guided tours are also available at 2pm on Tuesdays, Sundays and some other days. Groups may visit at other times by arrangement and special organisation Away-Days can be booked.

For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+

Media Contacts

Stephen Fleming
Palam Communications for TNMOC
t +44 (0) 1635 299116
e sfleming@palam.co.uk

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