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Computing trips / educational visits

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Last edit: 07 September 2023

Imported Resource Type For Teachers
Key Stage 2 Other
Key Stage 3 Other
GCSE/Key Stage 4 General

A few ideas from CAS forum discussions for educational trips or visits linked to Computer Science. Note this is a wiki, so please do edit this!

See also this great advice from Alan O'Donohoe in which he provides advice on planning a trip, but also some alternatives to taking pupils out of school

Museums and other visitor attractions

Royal Signals Museum, Blandford Forum - The Royal Signals Museum is a military museum based at Blandford Camp northwest of the town of Blandford Forum in Dorset, England. The museum is the United Kingdom national museum of army communications. It presents the role of communications in wars and military campaigns over the last 150 years.

The main purposes of the museum are to:

  • Provide educational resources for local schools and lifelong learning;
  • Preserve and display the heritage of the Royal Signals;
  • Present military communications from the Napoleonic Wars onwards;
  • Make research facilities available.

It's well worth the trip!

Information Age gallery, Science Museum - The Information Age gallery celebrates more than 200 years of innovation in information and communication technologies. It's our biggest and most ambitious gallery to date. There are six zones in the gallery, each representing a different technology network: The Cable, The Telephone Exchange, Broadcast, The Constellation, The Cell and The Web. The gallery explores the important events that shaped the development of these networks, from the growth of the worldwide telegraph network in the 19th century, to the influence of mobile phones on our lives today

Bletchley Park - home of wartime code breaking, with a good exhibition on the Enigma machine

The National Museum of Computing - also housed at Bletchley Park, but an independent organisation. Houses the Colossus rebuild, a classroom full of BBC micros and many other important exhibits relating to the history of computing, particularly in the UK. Can't be recommended highly enough. They are good hosts and will provide an interesting talk as well as some programming on BBC micros and gallery guided tours.

The Centre for Computing History, Cambridge: "A visit to the Centre will demonstrate the fascinating and often surprising connections between past innovations, people and stories, and the technologies that permeate our lives today. The collection has obvious links to the Computing curriculum as well as STEM, but also has much to offer students and teachers in support of History, English, Art and Design."

Museum of Computing, Swindon "As well as displaying a wide variety of working computers, they have an Educational programme and hold events aimed at children. My daughter attended their Scratch Day children’s event last year with a friend, and enjoyed the experience!"

National Media Museum, Bradford, New Media Collection: Games Design - pupils can explore the history of gaming to present day, also includes Internet & Home Computing. "Fantastic educational visit, I especially enjoyed it!" "The biggest hit was the Games Lounge, with a selection of Computer games from Pong onwards. Most were free to play, some cost 20p. They also liked the exhibition on the development of the Internet and the one on Animation"

"In Manchester the Museum of Science and Industry has the reconstruction of the SSEM, the first first electronic stored program computer. The SSEM celebrated its 65 anniversary just last week. Be sure and visit when the SSEM is being demonstrated." "There is a working model of the Manchester BABY the first stored programme computer in the world, Jacquard looms, Douglas Hartree’s Differential Analyser and a handling collection of computer components, 1980s home computers and ephemera."

Victoria and Albert Museum - new coding workshop for secondary students, linking items from the collection to open source coding in Sketchpad / Processing.

Legoland - theme park near Windsor, but a school visit can include active learning workshops, including one for KS2/3 on computer design and control.

The National Videogame Arcade has recently opened yesterday. Remi Gauvain visited it and thinks it has lots of potential to inspire students of all ages. It is located in Nottingham city centre. He writes:

In addition to the expected history of computer games and games to try, some displays are less “obvious” as they are designed to get the visitors to think about the structure of games and about their interface, in a way that encourages playful experimentation. They used the space of their large room to give an insight into games without the limitation of the screen size. I also had the chance to visit the game jam room where game developers were very busy creating games during the arcade’s opening weekend. Finally, there was a display of game currently in development and one of the developer was present to explain his creation. Most interestingly, it will run free monthly events for teachers, every first Thursday of the month. Here’s the link to book a ticket:

#University outreach conferences for sixth formers or younger pupils

CAS Sixth form conferences:

  • Cambridge Sixth Form Conference
  • City University sixth form conference
  • Liverpool John Moores
  • Warwick

Girls and Gadgets day, Teeside University (Year 9)

Manchester University schools programme

UWE CST days (Y9 or older) "Choices include NXT programming in C, VHDL, C# & XNA, Flash, Python, Java, Android, Encase, Linux installation and others"

Aston University non-residential computer science course (four days)

Oxford University Oxford offers a range of activities from multi-science taser days to help with subject choice at A Level, to Computer Science Taster Days, a year 9 Saturday morning coding club with the Royal Institution. They also offer women in computer science specific events, such as a year 10 taster day and a mother and daughter coding day.

UNIQ ( is a programme of free summer schools at Oxford University. UNIQ is open to Year 12 (or equivalent) students studying at UK state schools/colleges. Students apply for a specific course that aims to give them a realistic view of Oxford student life. One of these courses is in Computer Science. (Others range from Egyptology to Theology.) UNIQ participants live in an Oxford college for one week. They attend lectures and seminars in their chosen subject, and workshops about applying to Oxford. Participants can also take part in a variety of social activities each evening. Transport, accommodation, food, social activities, as well as the academic sessions are all free."

Exeter University CS outreach: workshops with a choice of topics: what is intelligence, teaching a machine, game theory, searching and sorting, logic.

The Big Hitters - "Speakers from a range of IT companies (IBM, Google, etc) give mini lectures to a large lecture theatre of students. Students are required to listen to a series of lectures and there is very little interaction but there are breaks in the day and they can explore a little. They get a bit of a taste of a university site anda HE type lectures as well as some insight into current issues in the IT industry." Organised by The Training Partnership

#Industry visits or events

Microsoft Think Computer Science "Think Computer Science, an annual student event hosted by Microsoft Research Cambridge, is an educational, inspirational day that showcases the field of computer science. Through a programme of exciting talks, demonstrations and workshops, we hope to inspire students to consider the fantastic opportunities available to them in becoming part of the next generation of computer scientists."

Met Office, Exeter. "Staff volunteers give presentations on the following topics: Weather forecasting, Severe weather, Climate change, Maths at the Met Office, Technology at the Met Office"

STFC Daresbury Laboratory hosts school visits and can tailor information given notice

Jaguar Plant, Birmingham - students got to see the robots build the cars then they were taken to the education centre to program mini versions of the robots.

F1 Teams (possibly): Mclaren, Woking; Red Bull, Milton Keynes; Williams, Gove, Oxon.

BCS local branches and specialist groups, may be able to provide useful contacts for visits.

RM "We’re one of very few remaining PC manufacturers in the UK and can give tours of our production area. This would include things like: how stock is tracked (incoming and outgoing), seeing/helping assemble a PC from scratch, learning about how we configure computers to a customers exact software configuration, learning about and working through how PCs are tested for quality control. We also have a great space called the REAL centre (rethinking education and learning) where schools can come and use a range of cool technologies which might not be available at school at the moment."

BT Data Centre, Cardiff: "The chap in charge there is very enthusiastic and wants to link with schools. He arranged a few activities, a tour of the centre’s facilities and finally one to one chats with IT professionals. It was a fantastic day and the pupils were able to see some of the boring theory topics like back up and disaster recovery in action. Also talking to programmers and seeing them doing the kind of stuff that I am teaching them was a great motivator."

Google Data Centre - virtual tours only! See also photos and Wired article.

Pizza Express - local restaurants host primary school visits; could be relevant to recipes as a way in to algorithmic thinking.

#Other events

3Dami - "3Dami is a free seven day summer school, getting groups of nine students to run their own studios, and make their own short 3D animated film using Blender. They experience every part of film production, from scriptwriting through to, modelling, animation and première. 3Dami has been recognised as one of the few examples of an event that “genuinely combine[s] creative and digital learning”."

Brighton Digital Festival - " a month-long celebration of digital culture which runs throughout September. The festival provides an exciting platform for a community led programme produced by a network of organisations from the arts and digital communities, alongside individuals who are passionate about digital culture."

DevArt Young Creators Workshops by Google at the Barbican. 7-25 July 2014

The Gadget Show Live, NEC, Birmingham

Games Britannia - "I took mine for 4 days last year. Managed it for £150 per student including accommodation, food and entertainmment."

"Raspberry Jam is a rapidly growing global network of user groups that meet every month to support hobbyists, developers, teachers, students, children and families"

Young Rewired State Festival of Code "The Festival of Code is our annual celebration of everything code for those aged 18 and under. It occurs in regional centres all over the UK every year in the first full week of August (apart from 2014!), and ends with a long weekend where everybody comes together, showcasing the amazing achievements created during the week."

#Further afield:

In Grenoble France ACONIT has large collection open for visits

In Paderborn, Germany, The Heinz Nixdorf Forum claims to be the biggest computer museum.

CERN, Geneva - birthplace of the world wide web. Custom itineraries include "Information technology, calculations and communication. from the World Wide Web to the Grid (Computer Centre and the Atlas Control Centre)" Some funding may be available.

Lots, lots more ideas at Nerdy* Day Trips! * - for some values of 'nerdy'.


Image of TNMOC's Colossus rebuild CC by-sa MaltaGC

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