The National Museum of Computing Trip

On Tuesday 22nd October, 15 students from both year 9 and 10, travelled to The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) in Milton Keynes.

It was quite a journey, but well worth it, as when we arrived, we launched straight into the first of two our workshops.

Workshop 1, saw the students using BBC Microcomputers, and were keying in BASIC language, in order to run a program on Rocket Trajectory.  Students quickly adapted to writing in BASIC, and appreciated the difference in the size of the computers, the lack of fancy graphics that they are used to, as well as the noise of the computers.  Some of the students wore ear defenders towards the end of the workshop.

Workshop 2, was an interesting exercise in Artificial Intelligence (AI).  They were paired up, and each given a laptop, where they were to enter questions in order to determine if the end user was a person or a computer, based on the responses they received.  This was an interesting exercise, after which, students were able to use RiveScript Playground to enter questions and responses, to try to create their own Chatbot.  This gave the students an appreciation into the number of questions and responses that need to be pre-programmed into the likes of Alexa and Siri.

We then had some time for lunch, and were able to enjoy the sunshine whilst we chatted about the workshops.

After lunch, we had a very informative tour of TNMOC, looking at various preserved machines from the 1950’s up to present day.  It was enlightening to see how the memory capacity has had an influence on both the capacity, size and cost of the storage.  Students were able to see many examples of this on their tour.

Mrs Lay
Head of Computing

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