Birkbeck, University of London > News > Islington schoolgirls expand programming knowledge with Birkbeck and Thoughtworks

Islington schoolgirls expand programming knowledge with Birkbeck and Thoughtworks

Birkbeck computing academics have helped extend the computer science curriculum at an Islington-based comprehensive secondary school for girls.

In January, academics from the College’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems in the School of Business, Economics and Informatics organised a series of workshops for students at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School.

The workshops extended the new computing curriculum for secondary schools developed around the Python programming language with more advanced techniques such as recursion. The tasks developed specifically for these workshops involved the use of Raspberry Pi-based drawing robots to create fractal shapes such as snowflakes and the Sierpinski triangle.

The workshops also aimed to put computing in a professional context and link secondary and higher education with the workplace. As a result, workshop sessions were hosted both at Birkbeck and at Thoughtworks; a global software company focused on software design and delivery and a partner in the College’s Work Readiness Programme. This allowed Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School students to experience first-hand the academic and the commercial environments.

Jacques Bester, the computing teacher at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, said: “It has truly been an amazing and valuable experience for everyone.

The students experience reflected the learning objectives set by the tripartite partnership, with comments arising from the sessions including:

It was really helpful, as we could see how our coding could be used in the physical world.  It helped with developing ideas of how we could use our knowledge of coding in the future” and “I learnt more Python coding and the challenges were really engaging".

Find out more

The next School of Business, Economics and Informatics Open Evening, will be held on 14 April, 17:00-19:00

(Image caption: Copyright Les Pounder under CC via

Published: 25 February 2016