Isaac Computer Science - Free Online Resource For A-Level
Written by Sue Gee   
Monday, 09 September 2019

Isaac Computer Science is a new online platform for teachers and students. It is targeted at the UK's A Level (pre-university) exams but is likely to be helpful to a wider audience of individual learners. 

 isaaccsbanner

First there was Isaac Physics and, as its logo is a green stylized apple, we can assume it was named for Isaac Newton, the 17th Century discoverer of gravity and Father of Calculus. Well, Newton was a polymath so its quite fitting that it spawned Isaac Chemistry and now Issac Computer Science, which I hope helps to put Computer Science on a par with other STEM subjects.

It is UK-based under the auspices of the National Centre for Computing Education, funded by the Department for Education,  and its content is created by the University of Cambridge in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

This video introduces both the website and the free in-person student workshops and teacher professional development that are planned to take place at universities and schools around England. 

The aim of Isaac Computer Science is to provides high-quality online learning materials for use in the classroom, for homework, and for revision. Students can use the website to learn about new topics or revise previous learning while teachers can include the platforms questions in their lessons or set assignments for  students to be automatically marked. 

Diane Dowling, Isaac Computer Science Learning Manager and a former teacher explained:

“Computer Science is a relatively small subject area and teachers across the country often work alone without the support of colleagues. Isaac Computer Science will build a teaching and learning community to support teachers at all levels and will offer invaluable support to A level students in their learning journey." 

While the claim is that Isaac Computer Science will provide full coverage of every A level Computer Science topic together with and a vast bank of self-marking questions, as the moment there is only a small proportion of the content that the site will eventually offer, with more being added ahead of each new academic term. The available topics include:

  • Programming concepts
  • Boolean Logic
  • Data representation
  • Search, sorting and pathfinding

For each topic test material is provided and not only will the platform mark the answers, it will also provide help to students who are struggling. 

This is a question related to the programming concept of loops:

isaacqloops 

Students have to choose one of 4 values for total. But if you are stuck there are three hints, the final one of which presents a video which explains nested iteration and starts to fill in a trace table for the pseudo code, going far enough for the student to take over and complete working through the iteration through the inner and outer loop to arrive at the correct answer.  

Providing this level of support is very helpful and once the site has its full complement of content will be a very rich resource for its target audience of A-Level school students (aged 16-18) and their teachers and for any independent learners of Computer Science.

isaaccssq 

 

More Information

Isaac Computer Science

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Back To The Classroom - Are Teachers Ready? 

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Last Updated ( Monday, 09 September 2019 )