How to Think Like a Computer

In this series, a teenage girl learns to write effective instructions for her friend Computer Head using basic programming concepts. A BBC production.

Episodes

How to Think Like a Computer Online safety New

The practicalities of how to stay safe online are explained through everyday activities. A teenage girl, Ada, is sitting next to her friend CH (Computer Head), CH starts going through Ada’s purse and here we begin to learn about keywords such as malware and phishing. We also learn about the dangers of placing images on social media and how quickly ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:02
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

Access to this content is reserved to BBC Channel subscribers.

More details

How to Think Like a Computer Search engines New

The term 'search engine' is explained through everyday activities and events. Computer Head is trying to find a single item in a pile of hay and is doing this by going through all the individual strands of hay. His friend Ada suggests that a search engine would be the best way to search through lots of items to find the ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:06
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

Access to this content is reserved to BBC Channel subscribers.

More details

How to Think Like a Computer What is decomposition? New

A teenage programmer discovers how decomposition works through trial and error. She tries asking her computer to go shopping for her but he doesn't understand. She realizes she has to break down the task into a list of simple instructions to follow. With a clear set of ordered instructions, the computer goes to the shop, collects the items, pays for ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:11
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

Access to this content is reserved to BBC Channel subscribers.

More details

How to Think Like a Computer Bias and Reliability New

The concept of bias is explained through everyday activities. A teenage girl, Ada, asks her friend Computer Head (CH) an everyday question which is open to bias. She then looks at the results obtained from search engines and how some sites can be biased. Teacher notes: You could use this video to discuss what we can look for when using ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:00
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

Access to this content is reserved to BBC Channel subscribers.

More details

How to Think Like a Computer Searching algorithms New

The concept of a searching algorithm is explained through everyday activities and events. The characters are a teenage girl (Ada) and her friend Computer Head (CH). Ada interacts with CH and teaches him, and us, the concept of a searching algorithm. Ada uses keywords in her explanation to CH and shows how, if he had to search through a massive ...
  • 2016
  • 00:02:44
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

Access to this content is reserved to BBC Channel subscribers.

More details

How to Think Like a Computer Sorting algorithms New

A teenage programmer (Ada) is sorting through photos to put them into an album, and this is proving to be a very long and laborious task. She then thinks of using a sorting algorithm and enlists the help of her friend CH (Computer Head). They decide to apply the steps of the sorting algorithm to organize the photos and place ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:08
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

Access to this content is reserved to BBC Channel subscribers.

More details

How to Think Like a Computer Checking your algorithm New

A teenage programmer evaluates the instructions she's written to tell her computer how to mop the floor. She checks if they're in the right order, if she's included all the steps, and if her instructions are precise enough. She tests them after each change to see if there is anything she has forgotten. Teacher notes: Units of measurement can be ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:10
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

Access to this content is reserved to BBC Channel subscribers.

More details

How to Think Like a Computer What is abstraction? New

A teenage programmer finds out how to use abstraction in programming. She gives instructions to her "computer", a human figure with a monitor for a head. She asks him to let people in for a dance audition, only choosing those who can dance and want to dance. Because she doesn't specify in her code that the dancers have to be ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:00
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

Access to this content is reserved to BBC Channel subscribers.

More details

How to Think Like a Computer Pattern recognition New

A teenage programmer is giving her computer instructions on making a sandwich. She realizes that the pattern of slicing and layering are repeated – and finds this useful in writing her code. She uses a similar set of slicing and layering instructions to try to get the computer to make her dessert – with less success. Teacher Notes: Jumping off ...
  • 2016
  • 00:02:53
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

Access to this content is reserved to BBC Channel subscribers.

More details

How to Think Like a Computer Algorithms New

A teenage programmer creates an algorithm to teach her computer a dance routine. An algorithm is a clear sequence of instructions with a start, a finish, and usually some decisions in the middle. They can be expressed in a flow chart. The computer only makes mistakes if there are mistakes in the instructions.
  • 2016
  • 00:02:39
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

Access to this content is reserved to BBC Channel subscribers.

More details