On Thursday 19th October, we took 10 Year 9 students to Barclay’s annual ‘IT Girls Allowed’ event at Radbroke Hall. The event is put on each year to inspire young girls into the ever growing world of computing and technology.
The day began with a talk from a young female apprentice who works in Barclay’s cryptography team. From there, the 10 attending schools were spilt into three groups and headed off to their first activity for the day. For us, it was to program robots to manoeuvre around a course. In pairs, the girls set out to program their robots to firstly follow a solid back line course – similar to a self-driving car. After much programming and testing, we all managed to successfully manoeuvre around the tricky course. Following this, the robots had to use their inter-red sensors to move around a space with objects in the way – similar to the mars rover.
Activity two was to design the future. The challenge was set to design a new piece of technology, the most innovate three from each group to present their idea at the end. Christabell and Lois’ ideas took them through to the final in their group, taking home 1st and runner up prizes – with the first prize being an Amazon Kindle Fire!
The last activity of the day was cryptography, in which the girls work in their school groups to crack as many encrypted messages as possible. In the 20 minutes they had, the team managed to crack a staggering 45 messages, crowning them the winning team for the day.
An enjoyable and inspiring day was had by all. Once again, the girls doing the school proud.
GCSE Computing students visited UKFast this term to experience working life in a multi-award winning digital business. It’s a business renowned for its innovation and fun culture as well as being one of the UK’s leading cloud hosting and colocation firms. UKFast was launched and founded in a back bedroom in 1999 by Lawrence and Gail Jones (Gail is a former AGGS student).
The visit involved a tour of their state of the art office and gave career tips and ideas from experts to help our students prepare a career for the future. UKFast are always looking for talent and they want to encourage more females into their business. They offer work experience placements and a number of Year 10’s are hoping to get the chance to experience working there.
And of course they had the chance to go down the infamous UKFast slide!
The Y8 students from Illuminateonlione, Rose, Amy, Orla and Ibby visited UK Fast again last week. The platform for the anti-bullying website has now been set up and they are now designing the layout of the site. They have their next planning meeting after half term and they are looking forward to meeting Gail Jones, co-owner of UKFast and a former AGGS student. We would like to thank UKFast for all their support especially Aaron Saxton.
Last Friday the members of Illuminate; Orla, Ibby, Rose and Amy (8-6) visited UKFast in Manchester to find out if it would be possible to bring Illuminate – their cyberbullying support website to life.
Aaron Saxton (Director of Training and Learning) gave us a tour of the premises and explained how UKFast has become one of the UK’s leading managed hosting and colocation providers to some of Britain’s best-loved brands. We even had the opportunity to meet Lawrence Jones again (Co-owner of UKFast) who showed us around his office and expressed how enthusiastic he is about the project. One of the highlights of the visit was the opportunity to have a go on the slide!
GCHQ has introduced a new competition to encourage more females into cyber-security; presently there is only 20% of females in the profession.
The competition was open to 13-15 year old females and they had a week to answer as many questions as they could across four categories, cryptography, cyber-security, logic and coding and networking. Thirteen teams of 4 people volunteered to take part from Year 9 and Year 10.
The results of the competition were released on Monday 13th March, and unfortunately we were not shortlisted. The team which has completed the most challenges within school is “Bits please” consisting of Rebecca, Lucy, Jemma and Nadia.
Everyone acquitted themselves well, and six students have qualified to go through to the next round in March:
Ellie F (Y9), Beth G, Isabelle H, Miranda W, Martha W (Y11) and Stephanie L (Y13). Tabitha H achieved the best mark in Y10 who compete in the same category as Y11.
The first computing trip to San Francisco has been a huge success and they all arrived safely back into Manchester airport on Saturday the 29th October. It has been an extremely busy week visiting all the local sights; Alcatraz, bike ride over the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito, Fisherman’s Wharf, NASA, Stanford University, Computer History Museum, Tech Museum of Innovation, cable car ride, Lombard Street and Coit tower. We also managed to fit in a trip to Westfield Shopping centre, Stanford Shopping centre and Macy’s; you can’t visit America without a visit to the shops.
The girls enjoyed visiting Google and Microsoft and were inspired by the talks given by four women who work at Microsoft; they were also treated to a free lunch at both!
The behaviour of the girls was fabulous throughout the week.
A massive thank-you to Mr. Osborne, Mrs. Barrow and Mrs. Carradus for their hard work and good humour. A special mention to Mr. Osborne for his excellent map reading.
On July the 7th, Years 11 and 12 computer science students spent the day at Lancaster University learning about the design of ‘smart cities’. Working in teams with university researchers, they built their own model smart city with computerised street lights that responded to darkness and automatic traffic lights. They also built driver-less ‘robot’ cars that could be steered remotely from a hand-held computer but which also responded to their traffic lights automatically, refusing to move when the lights were red. The girls learned how design teams for large systems have to work together to define standards and agree methods of communication
BBC Director of Children’s, Mrs Alice Webb, launched a BBC micro:bit Hour of Code event at AGGS on Tuesday, 7th June 2016.
Over 150 students and parents learnt how to program the credit-card sized, but powerful, computer provided free by the BBC to all Year 7s in the UK.
Supported by Year 10 computer scientists and student digital leaders, Students turned their micro:bits into wearable name badges, digital dice, compasses, light meters and music players as well as programming them to play simple games.
The students will be able to continue their microbit projects in STEM Club and Code Club.
During February Half Term, we (Holly R and Miranda W) took part in Manchester Youth Hack for the first time. We were teamed up with two boys in year 11 and chose to complete the AutoTrader AstroPi challenge, which was: We’d like you to design a game/app/experiment that Tim Peak could use in Space.
We developed a simulation of a series of mini-games to be played on the ISS using several Raspberry Pis. At the end of the two days our work was judged, and we won the AutoTrader category and were shortlisted for Best in Show. The event was free, yet we left with fantastic prizes such as 8GB memory stick wristbands and Google Cardboards. There will be many events like this in future and we recommend it to anyone with an interest in programming and software development.