Teaching creative computer science: Simon Peyton Jones at TEDxExeter

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This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Simon Peyton Jones wants children not just to consume technology, but to be creative with it. What does that mean for teaching computer science in schools, and why is the rest of the world watching England?

Simon Peyton Jones is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. His research focus is in programming language design and implementation, and the purely-functional language Haskell in particular. He is a founder member and current chair of the Computing at School working group, which has played a central role in the recent reform of the school Computing curriculum.

At TEDxExeter 2014 our speakers and performers connected us with other worlds. Our talks exposed corruption in big business, shared effective approaches to tackling social inequality and gave a voice to those whose human rights are under threat. We explored the impact of fast changing technologies on all our lives. We journeyed through fire and forest to frozen landscapes. We were challenged to consider worlds of extremes, cutting edge controversies and risky opportunities.

Video Production Chromatrope (
Production Manager Andy Robertson (

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


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30 Comments
  1. derive says

    I bet his method of teaching has no side-effects 🙂

  2. Jeremy Mikkola says

    One day I hope to contribute to the world as much as Simon does

  3. Vinicius Ataide says

    what is with symon and comic sans? he really appreciate them in presentations huh

  4. H S says

    Am I the only one who could listen to him explain anything?

    Now I want some tea and biscuits. ☕?

  5. Second says

    Amazing!! Yes, WE need to help the teachers. and also the lecturers

  6. BaNiQueen says

    comic sans ftw 😀

  7. Alen D says

    Can I continue to be a communication and computer engineer after computer science degree or a master in electrical engineering or telecommunication engineer

  8. ILykToDoDuhDrifting says

    Err… all of education has their pedagogy backwards. Learn tools and applications first, get interested, then learn theory to see its relevance. This is how things used to be. Now, students go through schools scribbling scratches on paper without know what their doing and why they're doing it. All to save costs where the costs are saved in the wrong place. It's a disaster. These theorists need to GTFO. Here's an idea, get rid of all the individual teachers and replaced them with tutors assigned to smaller groups. Learn by doing, experimentation, interaction. Then, here's a brilliant idea, there's a thing called video. You can record high quality lectures have them watched by billions. Rather than having low quality teachers teaching classes.

  9. Neil Bedwell says

    an inspiring talk. Revealing more of Simon PJ's brilliant character, morales and intellect. I wish to be involved.

  10. Lyndsay Williams says

    Great work Simon!

  11. sammu el says

    if only Alan Turing could be alive today

  12. Erica J says

    Excellent video, great ideas!

  13. Keith Salisbury says

    This is the first of Simon's talk's I've been able to understand all the way through. Legend! 🙂

  14. Dauda Talawalay says

    I want to study computer. But I done have the hand I looking for sponsor please

  15. Simon Morgan says

    Simon Peyton Jones is the real deal; a fully-fledged computer scientist. Among many other things he's one of the creators of the Haskell programming language. I can't think of many other people better equipped to push a Computer Science curriculum.

  16. Waffle Jester says

    The best I learned at school was Microsoft flipping Excel and Powepoint 🙁 I'm now learning what I would have no doubt enjoyed learning in school more than 10 years later.

  17. rico swiss says

    He wants to teach 5 years olds haskelll.

  18. arb bqr says

    we in KOSOVO begin to learn HTML at highschool

  19. Ian says

    Simon is a saint. We are lucky to have people like this in the world.

  20. Nadim Zahery says

    now this is amazing

  21. Mat C says

    comic sans is very creative

  22. lenny händler says

    i just see comic sans! good talk though

  23. Dick Tonyboy says

    (Controversial) IF (most ICT teachers achieved their current position by impressing their head that they were the first to understand the difference between a mouse and a foot pedal)  {we have a problem with the incumbent workforce} ELSE {Simon – we really DO need informed crowd aid – can the UK rise to the challenge with our 'Battle of Britain' spirit?}

  24. Dick Tonyboy says

    It's also a tribute to Tedx that forces all of this enthusiastic and well informed content into a condensed and palatable format that I can recommend (or 'Like'?) to others.

  25. Jack Simpson says

    Excellent talk, its a shame how the idiotic hysteria around the font has apparently diminished the enjoyment people garnered from this talk.

  26. espiriguidiberto says

    good content, painful to watch due to Comics Sans

  27. B Hoare says

    Steve Jobs: “Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think”

  28. 段闰平 says

    听不懂….哎

  29. Kenji314159 says

    A 12 year old can understand diffie hellman? Of course, after they understood exponentiation, group theory and discrete mathematics, P vs NP, the discrete log problem. So, no, not really.

  30. Ernest Cachia says

    Great, powerful and very true stuff!

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