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09 May 2022

Physical Computing – the importance of context & PBL

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Peter Marshman

Xin Ran Lui from the University of Edinburgh kindly provided a presentation around an exciting new programme called Remote Cubed.  I was so inspired by the contextual approach to this programme and how it had harnessed the benefits of remote opportunities recently identified through the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Remote Cubed programme enables young people to use Lego Mindstorms to design and build a model of a Mars Rover and then.  After 14 weeks they send the rover to the Boulby mines 1.1km underground to explore and map the terrain.  You can read more about it here:

This got me thinking about the importance of sustained and project-based opportunities with physical computing and how we might be able to use exciting contexts such as Space, physical activity and the environment.  One place you can start thinking about effective use of physical computing for education is to explore this article:

In case you missed it, CAS has a new working and community group with a focus on physical computing at KS2, KS3, KS4 and KS5. It’s a wonderful place to find out new opportunities for your own pupils but also a great way to learn from those who have amazing case studies to share.  You can find the next meeting here:

Overall the opportunities for physical computing, espeically with the low cost of devices such as the micro:bit, are huge. Pehraps an important consideration is how do we ensure that school leaders are able to provide and design learning spaces with this welcome addition to computer-based work in the computing classroom.


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