Ofsted Inspection Framework: for Computing Subject Leaders

Inspecting Computing

The new Ofsted Inspection Framework [3] comes into effect in September 2019.  With the emphasis on ‘offering a curriculum that is broad, rich and deep’, here I take a look at its implications for Computing Subject Leaders.

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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

Computing Pedagogy

for Computing Mastery

Since the introduction to National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in England 2014, it has been a child’s statutory entitlement to a computing education from the age of 5. There have been many challenges along the way since 2014 for primary teachers, not least, due to the subject being introduced throughout schools where the vast majority of teachers had never been trained to teach it.

Despite a number initiatives to improve teacher subject knowledge, notably driven by Computing At Schools (CAS) and the Network of Excellence (a grass-roots organisation I represent as a Computer Science Master Teacher) the Computing Education Project Report (The Royal Society, 2017) – exploring the issues facing computing in schools – concludes that computing education across the UK is ‘patchy and fragile’. There is much to address in a system where many teachers do not feel confident teaching the subject and are in need of significant support.

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Summer Coding Lesson with PRIMM

Ice Cream Dodge

Regular readers will know that I’ve previously created a 6 week coding unit for pupils aged 9-11 using BitsBox.  Bitsbox uses a simplified version of Javascript, and provides tools that enable pupils to develop their own apps.

It’s a great stepping stone from the blocks-based languages and environments your pupils may have already mastered (E.g. Scratch, App Inventor, Tynker etc) on to text-based languages.

PRIMM

I’ve been researching pedagogies to support computing mastery and PRIMM is a programming pedagogy developed by Dr Sue Sentence and the Computing Education team at Kings College London based on the notion that its difficult to become successful at writing code if you cannot read it.

I have developed a new step-by-step lesson plan that uses Bitsbox and I’m using the PRIMM approach for teaching programming in this one. 

PRIMM
Predict | Run | Investigate | Modify | Make

PRIMM stands for Predict | Run | Investigate | Modify | Make.  The approach enables teachers to support pupils by giving them some code that they first understand and then build upon towards making their own.

It’s a great way to structure a lesson and think it’ll make a real difference to those pupils who have difficulty understanding some programming concepts.

Feel free to download this lesson and try PRIMM in your own classroom.

Bitsbox lesson plan
Download Lesson Plan

Use the PRIMM programming approach to develop a program from an ice cream dodging game into a variation of Hungry Hippos.

Challenge your pupils to design algorithms and program the game using a text-based programming language, variables and functions.

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

  • change the speed, direction and size of flying ice creams
  • make the game multi-play and multi-level
  • complete the game to a time
  • create Game Over functions
  • create sound tracks and jingles for the app

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

Check out my other coding lesson that uses BitsBox at http://www.icompute-uk.com/news/coding-apps/

Find out more about PRIMM and the research at https://icomp.site/primm

Explore computing pedagogy further aqt:

Planning Computing

How to plan a Primary Computing Scheme of Work

 

iCompute Primary Computing Scheme

Primary Computing Scheme

Many teachers are tasked with planning computing schemes of work for their schools.

Having produced many for iCompute, I know how huge and time consuming the task is.  Here I share my tips about how to plan a computing scheme of work which ensures your school has a broad, balanced, rich and progressive scheme of work that will engage and challenge pupils of all abilities.

computing progression

  1. Use free software and tools – you don’t need to buy a thing in order to meet the objectives of the computing curriculum
  2. Practice – helps you understand the knowledge, skills and understanding the software and tools help develop
  3. Look for progression – you will start to see that particular tools are suitable for specific age groups
  4. Look for full coverage – Computing is not just about coding
  5. Understand how to assess computing – know where your pupils are and where they need to go next
  6. Adapt – make it fit your school, staff and needs of your pupils

Read on to find out more about each stage … Continue reading

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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