Computing Mastery for Primary Schools

Achieving Computing Mastery

Computing Mastery

Computing Mastery

 

Mastery in computing means acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.  It is demonstrated by how skillfully a child can apply their learning in computing to new situations in unfamiliar contexts.

A positive teacher mindset and strong subject knowledge are key to student success in computing.  iCompute aims to enhance students’ enjoyment, resilience, understanding and attainment in computing by empowering and equipping schools to deliver a world-class computing education with comprehensive computing schemes of work that are designed for computing mastery.

Our Principles for Mastery

Success

Every child can enjoy and succeed in computing when offered appropriate learning opportunities.  iCompute uses growth mindset and problem-solving approaches that enable pupils to develop resilience, persistence and confidence.  All children are encouraged to believe in their ability to master computing and are empowered to succeed through curiosity, tinkering and perseverance.

Depth

Pupils are taught through whole-class interactive teaching with pupils working together on the same lesson content at the same time.  Concepts are developed in logical steps with particular attention given to fundamental concepts. This ensures that all children can master concepts before moving to the next stage, with no pupil left behind.

Pupils are given the time and opportunity to fully understand, explore and apply skills and ideas in different ways, in different situations and in different subjects.  This enables pupils to fully grasp a concept and understand the relevance of their learning.

Computational Thinking

Developing computational thinking lies at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing and involves learning how people solve problems; changing what looks like a difficult task into a simple one that we know how to deal with.

It involves taking a problem and breaking it down into a series of smaller, more manageable parts (decomposition). Each part can then be looked at individually, considering similarities between and within other problems (pattern recognition), and focusing only on the important details whilst ignoring irrelevant information (abstraction). Next, looking for solutions to other problems and adapting them to solve new problems (generalisation).  Then, simple steps or rules to solve each of the smaller problems can be designed (algorithms).  Once we have a working solution, we then use (evaluation) to analyse it and ask – Is it any good ? Can it be improved? How?

Computational Thinking

Computational Thinking

Computational thinking is developed by embedding these skills into all of our lessons, through teacher modelling and with targeted questioning.

Unplugged Activities

The judicious use of activities away from devices and computers (unplugged) are crucial to young children’s learning in computing. Our unplugged activities are physical in nature and provide kinaesthetic experiences which help pupils understand abstract concepts and deepen learning.  Having activities away from computers is effective as children know that computers are a tool in their learning, rather than the subject itself.  Stepping away from computers enables them to think about concepts and teachers can convey fundamentals that are independent of particular software or technology.

What children learn in the unplugged context must be applied to another (plugged: using technology) which supports our other principles of mastery: success and depth.

Find out more about computing pedagogy for mastery by reading this blog post – http://www.icompute-uk.com/news/computing-pedagogy/ and more about our primary computing schemes of work by visiting www.icompute-uk.com

Easter Computing 🐰 Free Themed Coding Activities

Get Rolling 🥚 with Easter 🐰 Themed Computing

Easter is just around the corner and I’ve been busy creating more themed computing activities so that your pupils can demonstrate their computational thinking and coding skills.

Easter Egg Hunt

Click to get the plan and resources

I’ve prepared step-by-step lesson plans and some teacher/pupil computing resources that I’m using and have added to iCompute to celebrate Easter and/or Spring.

It’s Easter and the Easter Bunny has forgotten where she has hidden all of her eggs.  Challenge your pupils to create algorithms and program the bunny to get all of her eggs in her basket any way they know.

Easter Scratch Program

Easter Egg Hunt Support Card

Pupil Support Card

As usual, lots of opportunities for differentiation.  For instance, less able pupils could use pupil support cards (see Egg Hunt card which is included in the pack) and/or write a more simple collecting less eggs.  Your more able pupils could:

  • program the ice-cream truck sprite to move across the x-axis
  • program the hot-air balloon to fly
  • add the Easter eggs to a list variable when collected
  • add ‘enemies’ to thwart the Easter Bunny in her quest
  • add extra, increasingly difficult, levels (e.g. mazes to navigate)

Ideas for differentiation, extension and enrichment are included in the lesson plan.  Lots of opportunities to be inspired and get creative.

I’ve also created an Easter Egg Hiding Robotics activity using Sphero SPRK+ and Sphero Edu.  The Easter Bunny (Sphero) needs your help programming it to hide a collection of Easter Eggs (hollow plastic balls or eggs filled with treats).  Lots of cross curricular links here with Science and Mathematics so get rolling.

iHide Eggs

Click for the plan and resources

I haven’t forgotten Key Stage 1, so out my free Key Stage 1 activity: programming the Easter Bunny to collect Eggs – a twist on the BeeBot app.

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Pancake Day 🥞 Computational Thinking Problem

Flipping Fabulous Pancake Day Problem

Help your pupils get flipping fabulous 🥞 at problem solving using key computational thinking skills such as abstraction, decomposition, generalisation and pattern spotting with this free Pancake Day problem.

Computational thinking lies at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing and our best selling (Educational Resources Awards nominated) series of Computational Thinking Puzzle books 1-4 help pupils independently practise the skills they learn in their computing lessons.

Grab yourself a treat 🍬 with this free Shrove Tuesday resource.   Visit www.icompute-uk.com for more free themed lesson plans and resources to support teaching primary computing.

 

pancake day problem

Click to download

 

 

ERA Awards 2019

Education Resources Award Nomination for iCompute!

 

We are thrilled to announce that the ERA Awards 2019 panel have shortlisted iCompute for a coveted educational resources award.

ERA Awards 2019

ERA Awards 2019

The Education Resources Awards (ERA) are firmly established as a premier annual event to celebrate outstanding success for the suppliers and teaching professionals of the education sector throughout the UK.  The ERA’s aim to encourage the raising of educational services & product standards throughout the industry and is recognised throughout the sector as the Accolade of excellence.

The panel of judges selected iCompute for the shortlist according to rigorous criteria, taking into consideration the innovative nature of the products, their impact on teaching and learning in the classroom, and their cost effectiveness in terms of educational aims and results.

It is a huge honour to be amongst the other shortlisted organisations, schools and companies and we thank all of the teachers and schools who supported our nomination by providing amazing testimonials about how iCompute have improved teaching and learning in computing.

Find out more about iCompute for Primary Schools and try our free computing resources by visiting our website.

Liane O’Kane, Managing Director of iCompute, comments:

“Being shortlisted as a finalist for an ERA Award is a fantastic achievement and a reflection of the dedication and hard work we put in to helping schools teach primary computing creatively and well.  We constantly add to and update our product range to bring innovative new computing resources and teaching materials that support and promote engagement with computer science around the world.  We offer many of these free on our website as well as on the Hour of Code.

We never take these things for granted and are very proud that our expertise and innovation in teaching & learning with, and about, technology has been recognised by ERA and BESA once again.  Fingers crossed for a win in March!’

The full list of finalists is available on the ERA Website.  ERA Awards 2019 winners will be announced at a gala event to be held at The National Conference Centre, Birmingham on Friday 22nd March 2019.

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iCompute now on Puffin Academy

iCompute now available on Puffin Academy app

iCompute is delighted to announce that we are available on Puffin Academy, allowing pupils and teachers to easily access primary computing resources on tablet and mobile devices for free! Puffin Academy…

puffin academy

Puffin Academy Free App

Schools using our primary computing resources can access games and tutorials from our whole-school pack on iPads and tablets, through Puffin Academy, the free Flash mobile browser that provides access to whitelisted online educational resources.

What is Puffin Academy?

Puffin Academy is a ‘Mobile Flash Browser’ for pupils, teachers, and parents and always enforces site filtering by only allowing whitelisted educational websites to be accessed.

Puffin Academy Key Features:

  • Free to all users
    • Free app to all users on iPhone and iPad (rated 4+)
    • Free of charge to all educational content providers
  • For purely educational web sites only
    • Educational content providers must apply for approval
    • Once approved, content is available to all users
  • Incredible speed and Flash support
    • 500% faster than Safari and Chrome
    • Supports Flash content & videos on iPhone and iPad

How to access iCompute through Puffin Academy

1) Download the free Puffin Academy app from the Google Play store for Android tablets or from the iTunes store for iPads.

puffin-app

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Open Puffin Academy and search for iCompute


How to add iCompute to Puffin Academy Dashboard

1) Once you have located iCompute on Puffin Academy, tap ‘Install’

 

iCompute will then install to the dashboard and look like this when opening Puffin Academy

 


How to add key iCompute activities to your ‘bookmarks’

The following steps are optional.  You only need to follow them the first time you access iCompute through the Puffin Academy app. Simply follow these steps to add iCompute as a bookmark on your iPad or tablet.

1) Tap the three vertical dots in the top right corner of the address bar

 

2) Then tap ‘Add Bookmark’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Next give your bookmark a meaningful name and point the URL to:

https://www.icompute-uk.com/resources/puffin-bookmarks.html

As in this image:

4) The next time you want to use iCompute on your iPad or Android tablet, open the Puffin Academy app, click on the three dots, then click ‘Bookmarks’. Select the saved bookmark and have some computing fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*To have the best experience using iCompute’s primary computing interactive activities we recommend to accessing our website from a desktop or laptop

 

Editable & Printable Scratch 3.0 Blocks

Scratch 3.0 Classroom Display & Unplugged Activities

iCompute Scratch 3.0

Scratch 3.0 Blocks

Scratch 3.0 is out now and, following on from my previous post where you can download editable printable Scratch 2.0 blocks, I’ve made a Scratch 3 version.

The file includes all Category blocks along with Extensions: Microbit, Makey Makey, Video Sensing, Pen, LEGO WeDo, LEGO EV3, Music, Text to Speech and Translate.

Available to download by clicking/tapping the Periodic Table of Scratch 3 Blocks image (see below).  The blocks can be edited and scaled using image editing tools (e.g. Illustrator, Inkscape, Vectr).  The blocks are also provided in .png format.

 

It’s important that children be given opportunities to interact with physical programming blocks to help them understand both their function and the underlying concepts.  I use them in groups for the children to program me and/or each other as well as programming using Scratch 3 itself.

Printable Scratch 3.0 Blocks

Click to download editable, printable Scratch 3 blocks

Also available in the same format are Scratch 2.0 blocks and Scratch Jr blocks from this post.

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iCompute Leads the Way in Computing Education

iCompute for Computing Mastery

Click to visit website or read on for the full article

Teacher’s computing education business goes global

Liane O’Kane established iCompute for Primary Schools in 2013 while she was teaching part-time in Cumbria.

Although she initially trained in computer science, Liane became a teacher in 2011. She became one of the few primary computer science master teachers funded by the Department of Education in 2014 to prepare schools for the introduction of the National Curriculum for Computing.

Liane also saw the opportunity to develop a business to help teachers fulfil the curriculum.

She used her lesson plans as a base to create schemes of work which schools could buy in and use to teach students from nursery through to Year Six.

iCompute now produces schemes of work which are used by thousands of schools in the UK, as well as overseas.

Most recently the Ministry of Education on the Cayman Islands, in the Caribbean, has taken on the resources produced by iCompute. Liane expects to travel to the islands to assist with the rollout in its schools later this year.

“I have had the benefit of studying computing at GCSE and then degree level and then working in industry,” said Liane.

“It’s about understanding what the National Curriculum is and what the objectives need be in each key stage. It’s about making it fun for the pupils and easy to teach for the teachers.”

She said the schemes of work included practical, active ways of teaching youngsters the concepts behind computing – for example, pretending to be the ‘spiders’ and ‘crawlers’ in a search engine – rather than hours sat in front of a screen.

The resources are entirely digital, which means Liane can make constant updates to keep step with changing technology.

“It is constantly evolving and I think that’s unique,” said Liane.

iCompute Rolled out in British Overseas Territories

iCompute in the Cayman Islands

Click to go to The Mail website or read the full article below

 

From Cumbria to the Cayman Islands

A TEACHER’S acclaimed curriculum for teaching computing to pupils is due to be rolled out to all government schools in the British Overseas Territory of The Cayman Islands.

iCompute for Primary Schools was created by Liane O’Kane to prepare teachers for the introduction of the National Curriculum for Computing in 2014.

It is now used in thousands of schools around the world and has been bought by the Ministry of Education in The Cayman Islands for all of its schools.

Liane, who is originally from Barrow and teaches at Lindale CE Primary School, is being flown out to train all of their teachers in the forthcoming months.

“Being asked to supply schools and train teachers in the Cayman Islands is an exciting opportunity for iCompute to help others prepare pupils for the modern digital world – learning about and with technology,” she said.

“It always surprises me the reach that we have and where our lesson plans and resources are being used. We have a number of Overseas Territories and Commonwealth countries using iCompute in their schools and plan to offer them a visit whist I’m in the area this year. I can’t wait to show teachers in the Caribbean how rewarding and creative teaching computing can be and how enthusiastically their pupils will respond.”

iCompute provides step-by-step lesson plans all the resources schools need to teach primary computing creatively and well from Nursery to Year 6.

It has been nominated for several prestigious educational technology awards each year since 2014, features on BBC Bitesize for Primary Computing and is used in thousands of schools around the world.

Computer Scientist Liane is one of a few primary computer science master teachers appointed and funded by the Department of Education (DfE) in England 2014 to prepare teachers for the introduction of the National Curriculum for Computing.

Her work has been instrumental in the success of the National Curriculum’s implementation in over 26,000 primary schools.

Christmas Computing 🎄 Get Jolly Good at Coding

 Free Christmas Computing Resources

Here’s at iCompute Headquarters there’s nothing we like more than creating Christmas 🎄 themed resources.  I’ve been having a great time designing and developing new lesson plans, tutorials and programs for this year’s festive season.

My latest offering is an absolute Christmas cracker 🎉!  A coding tutorial for Microsoft Kodu.  Kodu is helping Santa 🎅🏻 deliver presents on Christmas Eve but needs your pupil’s help coding him to deliver the presents 🎁 to the right houses.  I’ve made a Kodu tutorial for your pupils to use that will guide them through the coding process before letting them get on with completing the activity and then having some festive fun by making it their own.

iCompute Christmas Kodu

Get the lesson plan & tutorial

 

iCompute Christmas Kodu Tutorial

Another free Christmas computing resource helps your pupils get jolly 🎅🏻 good at problem solving using key computational thinking skills such as abstraction, decomposition, generalisation and pattern spotting.

Computational thinking lies at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing and our best selling (ERA and BETT nominated) schemes of work support schools teach it creatively and well.

Grab yourself a gift 🎁 with our free stuff for Christmas.   Visit www.icompute-uk.com for more free Christmas themed lesson plans and resources to support teaching primary computing.

christmas computing

Click to download

 

Join us for the Hour of Code™ 2018

The Hour of Code is Coming!

icompute hour of codeNot long to go now for the Hour of Code 2018 (December 3rd – 9th) and we can’t wait to see how many pupils and schools participate around the world.

HOCiCompute are delighted to partner with code.org again this year by providing lots of fun, creative, activities for schools to use as part of this event and throughout the year.  We’ve put together, free, Christmas themed lessons and lots more, including coding apps, sending secret messages with Morse Code, animating a snowman and saving Santa!  Included are detailed step-by-step lesson plans with built in differentiation and creative ideas for extension and enrichment.

The Hour of Code™ is a global movement and worldwide effort to celebrate computer science. Organised by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org it reaches tens of millions of students in 180+ countries through a one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming.

In England, children have a statutory entitlement to a computer science education from the age of five. iCompute provides full coverage for the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

Each year, iCompute offer free computing lesson plans and computing resources to support the Hour of Code™ and help raise awareness of and engagement in computing science around the world.

We really hope you join us this year for The Hour of Code and introduce your pupils to the joy of creative computing!

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