Today, as I made my final preparations for starting the new school year, I couldn’t ignore the social media coverage of the new computing curriculum. The BBC have written a lot about the new primary curriculum today, from the computing perspective. They also announced a whole host of new projects to promote computer science in their children’s entertainment offerings and in their supporting educational websites.
It’s a very exciting year for technology in education this year.
The day before we start back to school, I am now wondering how prepared I am? Last September I joined the Rushcliffe Learning Alliance’s ICT Network and attended termly meetings with a great group of educators. We spent a lot of time planning a new computing curriculum for our schools. We invested in some training too and we supported each other’s development with our own areas of expertise. They were really collaborative meetings and I’m looking forward to rejoining the group this year to tackle assessment! Software options and packages for coding were discussed and evaluated too. Many of us agreed we should wrap coding around the rest of the curriculum rather than taking off-the-shelf solutions and schemes of work. This will be a greater challenge for me to get right this year, but I know I have a good support network behind me.
During the Summer Term my Digital Leader group taught themselves to use Scratch so that each class next year had a some children in it that were confident in using the software and can trouble shoot for their peers. For 2 hours of our New Curriculum INSET I briefed staff on the the computing curriculum, with a focus on algorithms and programming. Teachers followed instructions to code their own shark attack game on Scratch.
Here are the resources that I used to try and bring some humour and entertainment in to the new content! Prepare yourself for a good old sing along! (Inspired by ADE Steve Bunce! Thanks buddy)
I have spent the last year gathering as many free resources as possible which can support the teaching of programming. The above presentation shares many websites and planning tools we will be relying on. Check them out, they are great planning tools.
There are also many free apps available for iPad which are games based but are good for introducing concepts or consolidating learning. My Digital Leader group helped evaluate these apps and ranked by challenge them Foundation* – Year 6. They decided to split some of the apps like Kodable and A.L.E.X in to low/high levels as these games get quite challenging!
*Include Early Years in your Coding Curriculum!
One last word.. Please, don’t forget to include Early Years in your computing curriculum this year!!
I always start ‘coding’ with my class using masking tape grids on the carpet. Children give verbal instructions to their friend on the grids “forward, forward, forward, turn, forward”. They then start to record these on whiteboards using arrows or words, and they practise with trucks too. Our grids usually take some kind of story sequencing theme too. Soon we add BeeBots and introduce the apps as well. Infant this year one our Teaching Assistants made BeeBot masks and the children role played as human BeeBots outdoors!!