Computers, Chat-bots and Colossus Make For a Compelling Computing Trip

On Monday 15 May a group of 30 Year 9 and 10 Princethorpe pupils travelled to the famous Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes, to visit the largest collection of functional historic computers in the world at the National Museum of Computing.

The museum includes the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, that was critical to the success of D-Day in the Second World War and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The pupils were able to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s, through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and on to the rise of personal computing in the 80s and the modern smart phones we all use today.

There were lots of hands on activities to participate in; the pupils got to try their hand at programming a game on a 1980s BBC Micro computer and at creating a ‘chat-bot’ on a more modern machine.

Princethorpe’s pupils clearly found the museum compelling. Oli Thomas, from Year 9, said,” I enjoyed playing and viewing different games from the 1980s and 1990s.” Whilst Year 10 Harvey Badman commented, “I enjoyed the entire day – it was filled with knowledge and learning” and Year 9 Ben Abrahamson said, “I thought that the museum staff’s enthusiasm and passion was great.”

ICT teachers Adam Depledge and Ben Packwood were especially excited by the displays of games consoles that had entertained them in their youth!

Commented Mr Depledge, “It was a fascinating and informative trip, that has really helped our pupils put into context the study of Computing in the modern day.”