Liane is a Computer Scientist (BSc (Hons)), Software Engineer & author of iCompute for Primary Schools which supports schools with schemes of work for teaching computing in the EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. ERA Awards Finalist 2016-2019, BETT Awards 2014-2018. Featured on BBC Bitesize for Primary Computing and The Hour of Code (code.org)

Why schools must not ignore Computing

teacher ignore computing

Amidst a global pandemic due to COVID-19 now, more than ever, the need to equip our pupils and, crucially, our teachers with the skills to communicate, collaborate, express ideas and learn using digital tools and technologies is pressingly obvious.

The National Curriculum for Computing was launched in England in 2014 with a key aim of ensuring that all pupils “are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology”. Yet, in 2020, many schools were already woefully behind in implementing the National Curriculum and, during the pandemic, it became obvious that many teachers were severely lacking in these areas themselves.

The introduction of the 2020 Ofsted Framework for Inspection and the ominous threat of Computing Deep Dives galvinised many into action early in the year. A welcome push in my view to broaden curriculum focus. School closures put paid to that threat but, with them, came the realisation that, in many settings, the technology and skills required to continue teaching and learning outside of the classroom were simply not there.

The winners in education during these difficult times have been those that were already prepared for remote learning with infrastructure, technology and skills. The losers – our children.

I’ve been supporting schools with computing curricula, resources, teaching and training since 2014. I deal with the most progressive of schools. Those that understand the need for their children to be equipped with the knowledge, understanding and skills to participate, live and learn in an increasingly digital world. Their children will thrive. But I worry about the children left behind. Those who don’t benefit from teachers and leaders with the determination and commitment to provide a robust computing education. Those who don’t appreciate that technology has the potential to transform teaching and learning in their schools and choose to put computing on the back burner again. To look at another time. When Ofsted say they’re going to.

Thousands of children in England have missed out on around six months of education. When they return to school, the focus is likely to be on catching up with literacy and numeracy. It is imperative that Computing is not neglected. As the National Curriculum points out “Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.” With the ongoing threat of closures due to local lockdowns, potential pupil/staff absences for sickness or self-isolation, social distancing measures and a myriad of other potential disruptions to the education system – schools must rise to the challenge and put learning with and about technology firmly at the forefront of their planning. Starting right now.

How to thrive during an Ofsted Deep Dive for Computing

Ofsted will be “deep diving” into a selection of subjects during their inspections with the “curriculum at the heart of inspection” focusing on curriculum intent, implementation and impact. I’ve previously written an article on this called inspecting computing for computing subject leaders. Now, with the benefit of feedback from schools using iCompute who’ve undergone a deep dive for computing, I explore what a deep dive for computing looks like with the aim of helping prepare computing leads.

I’ve also included a link (at the end of this post) to download a copy of my comprehensive guide to the Ofsted Framework and Ofsted Deep Dives for Computing which has been updated to include dozens of Ofsted Deep Dive questions our schools have been asked and support for addressing them.

Ofsted Deep Dive for Computing questions
Comprehensive set of Ofsted Deep Dive for Computing Questions
Continue reading

Computing Home Learning Resources

computing home learning
Free, engaging, activities for learning computing at home

At iCompute we recognise the huge impact that COVID-19 (coronavirus) has had on school communities and learning and we want to help. In situations such as these the power of digital home learning becomes increasingly evident – and important.

We are passionate about preparing children for living in the modern digital world. We teach children about and with technology. We want to encourage as many children as possible to engage with computing around the world and have created a set of home learning resources to support schools, parents and pupils continue to learn at home no matter where they are.

Created by our author, a primary computer science master teacher, we have fantastic, engaging, resources and activities suitable for children aged 4-11.

They are split into Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7) and Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11). Key Stage 1 activities are for younger children learning with their families and are computing unplugged – i.e. you do not need computers or devices.

KS1 computing home learning
Learning Together Computing Home Learning Activities (Ages 5-7)

Our Key Stage 2 activities are online step-by-step interactive tutorials teaching coding using a variety of free programming languages. They are designed for children to use on their own and to use them you need computers/devices with access to the Internet.

KS2 computing home learning
Step-by-step, interactive, online coding tutorials (Ages 7-11)

What all activities have in common is that they are underpinned by developing computational thinking: the fundamental principles of computer science. By engaging with them, children will understand and design algorithms, improve problem solving skills, use logical reasoning and learn how to code.

We hope you enjoy the resources and encourage you to share them so that children everywhere can catch up on computing and keep up – ready for going back to school!

Visit our website for more information about highly acclaimed series of primary computing schemes of work, computing curriculum and resources at www.icompute-uk.com

Ofsted Inspection Framework: for Computing Subject Leaders

Inspecting Computing

The new Ofsted Inspection Framework [3] came 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.

Continue reading

COVID-19: Get free access to iCompute

for schools affected by school closure due to coronavirus

UPDATE: This post has been superceded by http://www.icompute-uk.com/news/computing-home-learning-resources/

With the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) now affecting educational institutions around the world, your school may need to close.

At iCompute we recognise the huge impact this situation has on a school community and are offering free access to our online Learn Programming and Computational Thinking resources for any school (anywhere) that is closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) during the period of closure.

Our Learn Programming and Computational Thinking resources are designed for independent pupil learning and can therefore be accessed by your pupils from home during school closure periods.

This access is offered free of charge for the duration of your school’s closure without any obligation or commitment to purchase any of our products.

Get Free Access

iCompute is passionate about preparing children for living in the modern digital world. We teach children about and with technology. In situations such as these, where external forces threaten our classrooms, the power of digital learning becomes increasingly evident – and important. We will continue to monitor current events and look for ways to support educators and pupils around the world continue learning, no matter where they are.

Find out more about Learning Programming resources here and our Computational Thinking resources in this post.

Visit our website for more information about highly acclaimed series of primary computing schemes of work, computing curriculum and resources at www.icompute-uk.com

Computing and SEND

Computing – Including Pupils with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)

iCompute Inclusion for SENAt iCompute we passionately believe that Computing has the potential to empower pupils with SEND and transform their lives. With the right blend of progressive, imaginative planning, exposure to a broad range of tools and technologies and comprehensive support it is possible that all children can fulfill their potential – in computing and throughout the curriculum.

Computing and Information Technology are essential tools for inclusion.  They enable children with SEND, whatever their needs, to use technology purposefully in ways that make the wider curriculum accessible, empower those with communication difficulties to engage with others and to fully include everyone in activities and learning.

iCompute offers children with SEND varied and engaging ways to communicate, collaborate, express ideas and demonstrate success.  From making and editing video/audio footage, programming animations, games and apps to creating rich web content – all pupils have an opportunity to participate, be challenged, learn and progress.

iCompute supports children with SEND by providing:

  • FamiliarityLessons follow similar patterns and all involve aspects that appeal to various learning styles
  • ParticipationActivities involve group or paired working with valuable roles for each member which encourages peer learning
  • Physical ActivitiesUnplugged activities (computing without a computer) makes it much easier to explore the concepts involved and to ask questions. This can be really beneficial to learners with communication or learning difficulties who find abstract concepts difficult and require a multimodal approach. Unplugged activities can include a range of sensory approaches, from physical movement to music, and from manipulating objects to drawing pictures.Unplugged activities enable the use of familiar contexts to teach new concepts and knowledge.  This approach helps to reduce cognitive load and has the additional benefit of being able to set the context in accordance with learner’s specific interests; which may motivate learning.

    Programming physical devices (E.g. Bee-bot) helps pupils learn to program by experiencing their code ‘come to life’ in multiple ways.  Devices with outputs that include sound, movement and light ensure learners with visual or auditory impairment are included.

  • ProgressionTasks are structured into smaller steps that build toward achieving the overall objective; which form part of progressive units of work providing full coverage of the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
  • FlexibilityAll units have Core, Easier, Harder activities as well as a number of Extension/Enrichment ideas allowing teachers to cater for the individual needs of their pupils
  • RangeA range of teaching approaches and materials enable pupils to access learning. E.g. colourful support materials; engaging worksheets; video screencasts; imaginative unplugged activities and interactive online activities support pupil’s learning enabling them to achieve
  • AssessmentComprehensive assessment toolkit supported by interactive pupil progress tracker spreadsheets enable teachers to accurately assess progress and set targets. Assessment starts from P1 to Year 6 (P-Scales based on CAS Include Working Party revised scales)
  • VarietyA wealth of free software and online tools allow SEND pupils to demonstrate skills and progress, express ideas, improve digital literacy and boost self-confidence

To find out more about how our acclaimed primary computing schemes of work engage, include and challenge all pupils please visit www.icompute-uk.com

A Christmas Coding Lesson with PRIMM

Christmas Gift Catch

Christmas Coding Activity

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 created a Christmas themed step-by-step lesson plan that uses Bitsbox and I’m using the PRIMM approach for teaching programming.

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.

Christmas Coding Activity Plan
Click to access the plan & resources

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

Use the PRIMM programming approach to develop a program from a Christmas gift catching game into a new game

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 falling presents
  • make the game multi-player 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:

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.

Continue reading

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

Teach EYFS Computing – Computing in the Foundation Stage

EYFS Computing

Laying Solid Foundations for Primary Computing

EYFS ComputingOur children grow up surrounded by technology. Their everyday interactions and experiences involve it, whether that is inside their homes, at school, out shopping or playing. EYFS Computing - BETT Awards 2018

Their world is an ever-changing digital world. We owe it to our children to prepare them for living in it.  It is never too early for children to start learning the fundamental principles of computer science because, as Edsger Dijkstra famously pointed out “Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes” (attrib) .

Much of computing as a subject can be learned without using computers at all. Primary aged pupils are perfectly capable of understanding and executing algorithms. They do so every day: they use algorithms to solve problems in mathematics, learn letter sounds, spell, use grammar – I could go on and on! Algorithms are designed and can be applied in a myriad of different situations.  Understanding them has become a core skill because, increasingly, the world we live in is governed by them.

Computing is much more than the computer, the device or the tool. It’s about developing computational thinking skills (more on that in this post) so that our children can become effective, analytical, problem solvers. It’s also about equipping children with an understanding about how computers and computer systems work so that, combined, they develop transferrable skills which will enable them to design, develop or even just adapt to new tools and technologies in this ever changing digital age.  But much more importantly, they develop digital literacy: the ability to be able to express themselves and communicate ideas using tools and technology and participate fully in the modern digital world.

The best practice for Computing in the Early Years (EYFS computing) is where activities:

  • are imaginative and fun
  • challenge
  • involve being creative
  • require collaboration and sharing
  • involve listening, understanding, following and giving instructions
  • encourage describing, explaining and elaborating
  • encourage investigation
  • involve problem solving
  • include lots of ‘unplugged’ activities: computing without computers

By offering your children an imaginative, engaging, introduction to computing you help them make solid steps towards understanding the world.

iCompute’s expertise and innovation in teaching & learning with, and about, technology has been recognised by BETT and BESA with iCompute in the EYFS being nominated for two awards.  Find out what BESA (chair of the judging panel) has to say about the finalists:

iCompute ERA Awards 2017

iCompute BETT Awards 2018

icompute-schemes

Click to find out more

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Primary Computing Assessment

Computing Tests & Tasks

 

Computing Assessment Sample

Click/Tap to download

iCompute’s Computing Assessment Tests and Tasks – designed to complement our comprehensive Primary Computing Schemes of Work and existing assessment toolkit – is out now.

Developed by our author – a computer scientist and primary computer science master teacher – the tasks and tests support schools in accurately assessing attainment, pupil progress and target setting in primary computing.

For each iCompute unit for each year, we have produced an associated end of unit online diagnostic test and an end of unit assessment project. Diagnostic testing assists progression planning and helps identify gaps and/or misconceptions. The end of unit assessment projects enable teachers to check skills in computing and computational thinking. The provided answers and assessment guidance informs assessment judgements and can be fed into our interactive digital pupil progress trackers.

Our diagnostic tests match the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. They are divided into iCompute units and are intended for use following each unit to assess pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills.

Our interactive, fun, quizzes are played online and bring a gamification aspect to assessment. Aside from being a powerful tool in measuring pupil progress, they also help increase engagement, motivation and encourage children to challenge themselves.

IT Progression

Forming part of our acclaimed primary computing schemes of work, our Tasks & Tests pack is available to buy from iCompute.

For more tips and advice about computing assessment see our post – How to assess primary computing.

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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

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 the 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:

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

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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.