The future is BASIC AND Python

updated page here

My main gotcha from #BETT2015, apart from the massive buzz of being on the panel in the main arena, was this:


There are several reasons for my excitement.

Fuze Website and The reviews back up my earlier thoughts “The Penguin Tutor – January 2014 “Basic is an easy programming to learn. The language is simpler than many other language which makes it easier to pick up. It is not as finicky as Python in terms of spacing. This was evident when my daughter tried some python programming and she said “[Python] is so fussy. I wish this was basic“.”

At Lady Lumley’s we are developing a future computing curriculum using BBC BASIC at KS3 and Visual Basic at KS4 (possibly 5). This is for several reasons.  The most important of course, is that my colleague Mr Lech and I believe that it is best for our students. When I heard about the new computing curriculum, I asked two of my friends who are computer programmers, and discovered that they program wholly in Visual Basic. I run a regular trip to Teeside University taking both our year 11s and our year 12s, and we quizzed one of the lecturers. Barry Hebbron (‎Senior Lecturer at University of Teesside) who said that they don’t care which language students learn, only that they come to university with a buzz for programming. He describes learning Python as “eating Ryvita”, whereas learning Visual Basic (VB) as “eating Ryvita with sugar on”. I am also lucky that my colleague Mr Lech is very good with Visual Basic, and we are currently collaborating with Chris Charles from Fulford school in York who has also decided to go down the BASIC route.  Chris has run several sessions through CAS to support this and has shared his resources.  We currently teach BBC BASIC in year 9, with the plan to be teaching it in years 8 and 9 year to follow on from Scratch and Gamemaker in years 7 and 8.  You can get a free evaluation copy of BBC BASIC How to install and run BBC BASIC  (tutorial written by one of my digital leaders, Oliver).

Classroom management:
At a previous North Yorkshire ICT network meeting, a colleague was kind enough to bring a box of Raspberry Pi’s, breadboards and LEDs for a practical session.  To be honest, I was a bit horrified, trying to foresee how this would work with a full class in the future.
> Using the Fuze, I can see how the classroom disruption is minimised, and how a class will be able to focus on the learning and the practical skills development.
> If we timetable computing classes at different times (which nearly always happens as a result of timetable options) I can see how we can have a class set of Fuzes brought into the classroom,  keyboards moved to the side, and Fuzes plugged into the monitors.  Job done.

My mantra:
“Competent and confident teachers and students focussed on purposeful learning using Information and Collaboration Technologies when needed that are simple to use and work at home and at school”.

Last week at the Y8 parents evening, I was able to reassure parents that nearly all the software that we use at Lady Lumley’s is free for students to use at home. (Microsoft Office is the big elephant in the room of course).  Only Serif Webplus and Movieplus costs the students £5 from the library.
> Using the Fuze, I can see how students can have their own Raspberry Pi at home to work on, and bring their programs to use on the classroom Fuzes.

Open Digital Leader Badges

If you follow #dlchat (every Thursday 9-9.30) and see my Roadmap you will know that Digital Leaders are great facilitators for the new computing curriculum.
The development of level 3 badges in the future requires an outside brief for DLs.
>I can see the digital leaders helping me to develop a future unit in BASIC using LED outputs for key stage 3 and more importantly, having one in each year as a go-to for GCSE computing.


  1. Is it exactly the same as current Raspberry Pi?  Can a Raspberry Pi on its own be set up the same way to run BASIC – so what is different about the functionality using Fuze BASIC.
  2. How different is Fuze BASIC from BBC BASIC?
  3. Can you run Fuze BASIC on Windows for students to be using at home (like BBC BASIC)?
  4. Can you then transfer Fuze BASIC from a homework on a windows PC onto a Fuze BASIC machine?
  5. Can you run Fuze BASIC on a normal Rasp Py to do homeworks and then bring in to use on a school Fuze?
  6. Can you suggest a storage trolley?

Buy a Fuze basic Ltd Edition for me and my son (doing GCSE computing next year).
Asked to borrow a Ltd Edition Fuze for Oliver.
Get something amazing done for the options evening at end of February to show to parents and students.
Consult about a possible demo for the North Yorkshire computing network day on 28th April.
See if Ken/Edward would like to get one.
Contact Charles at Fulford school to see if he’s interested in collaboration.
Contact North Yorkshire school network to see if they are interested in collaboration.
See what is reqd for OCR practical.

Useful links