Year 10 Computing trip

Year 10 Computing trip

Computing has been a popular GCSE option since its introduction at Warminster in September 2013. Last week, a group of Year 10 pupils visited the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge to discover how computers and technology have developed over the years.

On arrival the museum seemed like a gamer's dream – a warehouse dedicated to vintage arcade games. After we split in two, my group went on a guided tour of computers through the ages. We learned how the military were responsible fordriving early advances in technology; it was clear that they thought bigger was better! We saw how programs could be stored on coils of punched tape and fed into a computer. A Countdown program was tested on a working computer from the 1960s using this method. Although the computer eventually found a solution to the “Numbers Round”, it let out some rather concerning noises along the way!

As we continued our tour we soon noticed how the technology advanced within a very short space of time, with computers getting smaller but memory and performance increasing. The impressive collection included working examples of famous home computers such as Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

We then swapped to a coding workshop where we programmed the same BBC Micro computers that were used in schools back in the 1980s. After getting to grips with the basics of BASIC, we began to see how things haven't really changed with the Python programming we do in lessons today.

For the rest of our visit we finally got to test out all the arcade games, with many of us getting hooked on the old versions Mario Kart and the classic Pac Man. A big thank you must go to Mrs McMullen and Mr Shields who organised the trip. It was fun, educational and very interactive.

Abbie Cadwallader
Year 10