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 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.

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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Join us for the Hour of Code™ 2017

The Hour of Code is Coming!

HOC 2017Not long to go now for the Hour of Code 2017 (December 4th – 10th) 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 saving Santa with Scratch, animating a snowman and delivering Santa’s presents with parrot drones!  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, we 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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BETT Awards 2018

BETT Award 2018 Nomination for iCompute!

BETT Awards 2018

We are thrilled to announce that iCompute has been shortlisted for a coveted BETT Award for iCompute in the EYFS.

ERA 2017 Finalist - iCompute in the EYFS

BETT Awards 2018 Finalist – Early Years Content

The Bett Awards are a celebration of the inspiring creativity and innovation that can be found throughout technology for education. The awards form an integral part of Bett each year, the world’s leading showcase of education technology solutions.

The Director of BESA, Patrick Hayes, who chairs the panel of judges for the Bett Awards, said:

This was a record year for the Bett Awards, with more applications from EdTech companies than ever before, coming in from around the world. This reflects the status of the Bett Awards as being the global gold standard when it comes to recognising excellence in education technology. The quality of applications was incredibly high this year, and judges had a lot of difficult decisions to make when deciding who the finalists should be. It is no mean feat to be a Bett Awards finalist, and huge congratulations should be in order for all of the companies who made the cut this year!”

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.

Find out more about iCompute in the EYFS.

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

“Being shortlisted as a BETT finalist this year is a great achievement and a reflection of our dedication and hard work in helping schools teach primary computing creatively and well.  We constantly add to and update our product range to remain at the forefront of advances in educational technology.  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 BETT and BESA once again.  Fingers crossed for a win this year!’

The full list of finalists is available on Besa’s website.  The winners of the Bett Awards 2018 will be announced on the evening of Wednesday 24 January 2018.

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Primary Robotics

Teach Controlling Physical Systems

primary robotics

iCompute’s Primary Robotics Pack

I’ve been teaching primary robotics for some time now as part of the computing curriculum that I write for iCompute.  I teach with and have produced schemes of work for robotics from EYFS to Year 6 using BeeBots, LEGO WeDo, Sphero and parrot drones to name a few.

Whilst teaching computing itself can be daunting for many teachers, the prospect of the added pressure of actual things being whizzed around classrooms through code can push many to avoid the controlling physical systems aspects of the National Curriculum for Computing altogether!

The rapid pace of advances in technology means children are growing up in an age dominated by embedded computer systems and robotics. It is crucial they have an understanding of its impact on the world and their own futures.  Teachers need to be in a position to provide pupils with the level of knowledge, understanding and skills they need to live in the modern world.

Including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM subjects) in early education provides a strong motivation for learning and an improvement in progression.  Teaching robotics is a great way of  connecting with children and enables schools to engage the potential engineers and computer scientists of the future.

Most curricula in primary schools cover science and mathematics, but we need to do more in teaching problem solving, computer science, design, technology and robotics.

The use of robotic systems and robotics as a subject offers an introduction to the  engineering design process and sets children’s learning in a fun, meaningful, contexts.  The fundamental principles of computer science are applied and made easier as models and devices can be designed, constructed, programmed and executed in front of pupil’s eyes.  This makes it much easier to learn what robots can and cannot do: their capabilities and, crucially, their limitations.

We’ve recently put all of our robotics units into one primary robotics pack that covers the controlling physical systems aspects of the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (pupils aged 5-11).

I’m also including some free activities as part of our contribution to this year’s Hour of Code, adding to those already featured last year and still live.  As the Hour of Code launches each year in December, I’ll be adding a nice festive twist to my teacher-led activities. Hint: Santa’s sleigh is broken but he has a drone!  Here’s a sneak peek of the cover…

HOC iFly

HOC iFly Cover

Check out my other blog posts for teaching tips and advice about how to manage programming physical devices with younger children. I cover:

Sphero

LEGO WeDo

LEGO WeDo Classroom tips

Parrot Drones

The primary robotics pack is now available to purchase from iCompute.

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iCompute and Pupils with Lakeland Radio

Computing in Primary Schools

This week Lindale CE Primary School were school of the week on Lakeland Radio.  Last Friday our author, Liane O’Kane, who teaches computing at Lindale (a Lead School on the Network of Excellence for Computer Science) met with Breakfast presenter Yakkers and featured on their Back to School with Yakkers segment.

The children and Liane spoke with Yakkers about Computing at Lindale Primary.  Lindale teach primary computing using iCompute for Primary Schools from EYFS to Year 6 and it was lovely hearing about how much the children have been learning and enjoying their lessons.

ERA Awards 2017 Finalist

Two Education Resources Award Nominations for iCompute!

ERA 2017 Finalist Logo

We are thrilled to announce that the ERA Awards 2017 panel have shortlisted iCompute in the following categories:

ERA 2017 Finalist - iCompute in the EYFS

ERA 2017 Finalist – Early Years Resource (ICT)

ERA 2017 Finalist - Computational Thinking Puzzle Workbook

ERA 2017 Finalist – Educational Book Award

Organised by Brilliant Marketing Solutions and The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), The Education Resources Awards (ERA) are now in their 18th successful year and are firmly established as the premier annual event to celebrate outstanding success for the suppliers and teaching professionals of the education sector throughout the UK.

The awards highlight and reward the quality and diversity of educational products, resources, services and people as well as the best educational establishments and the most dedicated members of the teaching profession. The ERA’s aims 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.

Find out more about iCompute in the EYFS and our Computational Thinking Puzzle Workbook.

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

“Being shortlisted as finalists in two categories is a great achievement and a reflection of our dedication and hard work in helping schools teach primary computing creatively and well.  We constantly add to and update our product range to remain at the forefront of advances in educational technology.  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 for the second year running.  Fingers crossed for two wins in March!’

The full list of finalists is available on the ERA Website.  Winners will be announced at a gala event to be held at The National Conference Centre, Birmingham on the second evening of The Education Show: Friday 17th March 2017.

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Join us for the Hour of Code ™ 2016

The Hour of Code is Coming!

Girl with iPad

The Hour of Code with iCompute

Not long to go now for the Hour of Code (December 5th – 11th) and we can’t wait to see how many pupils and schools participate around the world this year.

iCompute are delighted to be involved by providing a selection of fun, creative, activities for schools to use as part of this event and throughout the year.  We’ve put together, free, cross-curricular computing activities that include Computing with English, Computing with Maths and Robotics with Sphero!

iControliJournalistiMathematician

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

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Developing Computational Thinking

Preparing The Next Generation of Problem Solvers

Computational Thinking

Computational Thinking

 

A high quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the World” (DfE)

Computational Thinking lies at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing.  Here, I look at what Computational Thinking means and how teachers can help pupils develop effective problem solving skills that can be applied in all areas of life.

Computational Thinking is about transforming a seemingly complex problem into a simple one that we know how to solve.  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?

Teaching computational thinking is not teaching children how to think like a computer.  Computers cannot think.  Computers are stupid.  Everything computers do, people make happen.  It’s also not teaching children how to compute.  It’s developing the knowledge, skills and understanding of how people solve problems.  As such, it absolutely should not be confined to computing lessons and should be used throughout the curriculum to approach and solve problems and communicate and collaborate with others.

iCompute’s computational thinking puzzles for primary pupils are a ground-breaking new development in primary education. In the digital age, the benefits of computational thinking throughout education are increasingly being highlighted. Our, colourful, engaging and challenging puzzles are designed for children aged 7-11 to independently practise and develop the fundamental computational thinking skills that lie at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing.  The puzzles help develop skills of decomposition, abstraction, generalisation and designing algorithms. This means children can find solutions and apply those already found to different problems, in different contexts. All of this helps lay the foundations for them to become effective problem solvers.

computational thinking puzzles

iCompute’s Computational Thinking Puzzles

Solving puzzles leads to important outcomes including challenge, a sense of satisfaction, achievement and enjoyment. Puzzles rouse curiosity and hone intuition. Our carefully constructed computational thinking puzzles – designed by a computer scientist, software engineer and computer science master teacher – provide challenge, insight and entertainment all of which increase pupil engagement and promote independent learning.

ERA Nominated

iCompute ERA Nominee

Puzzles help children develop general problem-solving and independent learning skills.  Engaging in puzzles means that pupils:

  • use creative approaches
  • make choices;
  • develop modelling skills;
  • develop persistence and resilience;
  • practice recognition of patterns and similarities, reducing the complexity of problems

 Pupils use, applying and develop the following aspects of the National Curriculum for Computing:
* Logical reasoning
* Decomposition – splitting problems down into smaller problems to make them easier to solve
* Abstraction – taking the detail out of a problem to make it easier to solve
* Generalisation – adapting solutions to other problems to solve new ones
* Pattern recognition – spotting patterns and relationships
* Algorithms – finding the steps that solve a problem
* Evaluation – looking critically at a solution to determine if there’s a better way to solve it
* Testing – checking whether a possible solution works
* Debugging – finding problems with a solution and fixing them

Our puzzles are designed for independent pupil work and provide pupils with handy tips on how to approach the problems and challenges. They also make clear links between the puzzles being approached, the skills being developed and the relevance of both not just in computing but the wider world. This enables pupils to make clear links between subjects and helps pupils make meaning of their learning.

See this post for an example of the puzzles.  You can also download samples and order class packs from our main website.

Download a free Computational Thinking Diary here:

Computational Thinking Diary

Click to download

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Digital Literacy and Primary Blogging

Developing Digital Literacy by Blogging with Primary Children

primary blogging

A Powerful Tool for Developing Digital Literacy

Blogging is a powerful tool for developing digital literacy in primary schools. It provides a responsive community-driven environment that gives pupil’s writing a voice, an audience and a platform.  When children share their world and their thoughts through writing, they understand how connected people are. They learn from each other, challenge one other, question and receive feedback.

My pupils love blogging and I often use it as a way to engage my reluctant writers.  See below some of the comments the children wrote about blogging in my classes.

love-conversation-1

blog-comment

When pupils know they have a genuine audience for their writing, especially when its other children, I see both an increase in motivation and in product; which in turn helps me more accurately assess their work.

To help other schools introduce primary blogging into their classrooms, I’ve developed six new units for iCompute primary computing scheme of work.  iBlog contains step-by-step primary blogging lesson plans and associated resources.  Existing iCompute Online schools have access to all new units at no additional cost.

I’ve also put together a free infographic about the benefits of blogging with primary children that you can download here.

primary blogging

Click to download

Primary Computing with Sphero

Controlling Physical Systems – Robotics

 

As part of my role with Computing At Schools (CAS) as a Primary Computer Science Master Teacher,  I have recently been fortunate enough to teach using Sphero, having been lent a set by @cas_lancaster.  The task was to produce a set of step-by-step Sphero lesson plans and associated teacher and pupil support materials for primary teachers to use.  That is all now done and I’ve had great fun creating our new robotics unit – iCompute with Sphero – which forms part of our iPad pack , as well as being available separately.  It will be lent out to other local schools by @cas_lancaster.  Teaching progressive lessons using Spheros enables primary schools to meet a number of the objectives of the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 2 Specifically:

  1. design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts
  2. use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output
  3. use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs
  4. select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information
sphero cover

Visit iCompute to find out more about primary robotics

iCompute Features Flowchart

iCompute – Features Flowchart

Here, I share my experiences of using Sphero 2.0 with primary pupils and give some general advice and classroom tips about how to use them effectively, engage and challenge your pupils.  See this post which details my more recent experiences of teaching using Sphero SPRK+ edition.

What is Sphero?

Sphero is a robot ball with several features that can be controlled though apps and also includes the facility for pupils to create their own computer programs. The main features are:

  • Rolling – Sphero can roll at specified speeds and directions
  • Colours – Sphero can light up to a specified colour
  • Bluetooth – Sphero connects to mobile devices through wireless Bluetooth

Preparation

As Spheros are connected to iPads via Bluetooth, preparing to use them in your classroom before your roll up brandishing them and creating general hysteria is vital!  Make sure all are fully charged and that your have paired each to a particular tablet in advance.  Each Sphero flashes a unique sequence of colours when they are ‘woken’ which can be used to identify them.  A Sphero will appear on your tablet’s Bluetooth list using the initials of the three colours it flashes in order, Eg. Sphero-RGB for a colour sequence of Red, Green and Blue.  Update: Connecting Sphero to tablets is much easier and more reliable since Sphero SPRK+ edition has been released (which I now have and teach with).  Here, you simply hold Sphero close to your iPad to make a connection.

For Sphero 2.0, I added stickers to each of the Spheros with their unique name, as ‘YGO’, ‘RGW’ etc., and also to the corresponding tablet I’d paired it to. This made distributing them and the iPads much easier when in class.  This isn’t necessary if using SPRK+.

Environment

You need lots of space to use these.  I used the school hall.  I refer back to ‘Preparation’ for this as it may be something you need to organise. I forgot on my first session and arrived with a very excitable class to a hall full of lunch tables. The first half of my lesson therefore involved getting those out of the way.

You can also buy covers called a ‘Nubby’ for outside use.

Sphero Nubby Cover

Sphero Cover

I tried this with one of my classes and we had to come back inside as it was sunny and therefore impossible to see Sphero’s tail-light: essential to be able to aim it to move in the direction you want it to go.  Also, we had iPads and the children couldn’t see the screens.  When our school went on to buy the SPRK+ edition of Sphero, we didn’t bother buying the covers.

 Lesson Ideas

Now on to the good stuff.   My specialism is teaching primary pupils aged 3-11.  I think coding with Sphero is suitable for Key Stage 2 pupils, children aged 7-11.

I suggest your first session focus on teaching the children how to wake Sphero, Orient (aim) it and control it using the standard Sphero app. Each Sphero (2.0 version) comes with, amongst other things, a pair of ramps and once the children have got used to moving Sphero forward and backward with reasonable accuracy, add the ramps and other obstacles to make things interesting and develop accuracy further.  The SPRK+ edition, doesn’t have ramps but has tapes and measures instead.

Sphero App icon

Sphero App

A lesson, including step-by-step instructions for both teacher and pupil for this are available in our robotics pack.

iCompute with Sphero Lesson Plan

iCompute with Sphero

 

 

 

The following lessons progress to using the drive function of the Sphero Edu app enabling the children to gain greater control and begin to understand that Sphero can be controlled to perform specific actions.

I then move things on for the rest of the unit to programming Sphero using Sphero Edu.

We created quizzes that the children programmed Sphero to move and change colour to answer.  This presents great cross-curricular opportunities.  We create algorithms and program Sphero to be our dance partners for Physical Education. Also, mazes to navigate with excellent links to Mathematics for distance, direction and angle work.  The children also program Sphero to travel the globe, linking to Geography, using a free floor map from National Geographic.

Using robotics in the primary classroom presents creative and engaging opportunities for the children to extend what they have learned about algorithms and programming in Computing by understanding that physical systems can be controlled too.  With the right blend planning and imaginative resources, using Sphero’s in your classroom has the potential to inspire the next generation of software designers and systems engineers!  The possibilities are exciting…

Visit icompute-uk.com for primary computing lesson plans.

Primary Computing Assessment

How to Assess Primary Computing

Summary

  1. Evidence – Use e-Portfolios such as SeeSaw or maintain individual folders on the school network for each pupil to contain digital work
  2. Teacher Feedback – Face-to-face or using digital ‘marking’ strategies such as adding text comments in digital work or adding audio of your comments
  3. Self/Peer – Blogging, Vlogging or Video Screencasting provides excellent opportunities for pupils to reflect on work
  4. Diagnostic Testing – Creative online interactive quizzes (e.g. Kahoot) provide engaging opportunities to assess pupil understanding and bring a gamification aspect to assessment
  5. Assessment Projects – Using end-of-unit open-ended project tasks allow pupils to demonstrate learning
  6. Progress Tracking – Understanding where pupils are and planning next steps to meet age-related expectations

Continue reading

Cross Curricular Computing

Enrich learning with cross curricular computing

cross curricular computing

Authentic cross curricular links

Computing is one of the most fundamentally cross curricular subject areas in education.  It’s about using technology, logic, creativity and computational thinking to solve problems that cross all disciplines.  It requires the systematic breakdown (decomposition) of both the problem and the solution.  We need to prepare pupils for how to live in an increasingly digital world by equipping them with the knowledge, understanding and skills to solve as yet unknown problems using tools and technologies that do not yet exist.  We can work towards achieving this by using computing as a means of making sense of the world and using what the children learn in computing across the curriculum.

The best primary practice includes blending thorough, discrete, subject teaching with effective cross-curricular work.  “…high standards are best secured when essential knowledge and skills are learned both through direct, high-quality subject teaching and also through this content being applied and used in cross-curricular studies.” [Rose, 2009]. Both approaches are needed for effective learning to take place, to enable children to make links between subjects and to set learning in meaningful contexts.  Using computing throughout the primary curriculum offers a way to enrich and deepen learning through engaging, interconnected, topics.

Our cross-curricular computing pack is designed to complement our whole school primary computing scheme of work.  It provides pupils with an engaging exploration of computing through a rich variety of media and technologies set within other subject areas.  It supports teachers with step-by-step cross curricular computing lesson plans and cross curricular computing resources.

We’ve put together some free cross curricular computing resources for embedding computing in other subjects.  Visit: www.icompute-uk.com/news/cross-curricular-computing-resources/

Visit www.icompute-uk.com to find out more about our highly acclaimed primary computing schemes of work.  iCompute is used by thousands of teachers around the world and features on BBC Bitesize for Primary Computing and the Hour of Code (code.org).

References:

Rose, J (2009) Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum, Nottingham: DCSF (pdf)

 

iCompute Finalist for The BETT Awards 2016

iCompute Shortlisted as Finalist for The BETT Awards 2016

iPad image

iCompute Lite for iPad

BETT Finalist 2016Brilliant day at the office as the first ever ‘Tap-and-Teach’ app for primary computing developed by iCompute has been shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious BETT Awards 2016.

The BETT Awards celebrate innovation in technology and education as well as recognise, reward and promote excellence.  They are regarded as one of the highest accolades in the industry.  The selected finalists have been chosen by a panel of independent teachers and educationalists and are recognised as ‘best of breed’ amongst the sector.

Debbie French, portfolio director at i2i Events Group for Bett and the Bett Awards, says: “The 2016 awards highlight the most effective and pioneering companies and solutions in education, and all finalists are to be applauded for their contribution to education. This year’s awards have seen an incredibly competitive cohort of entries, and we hear that the judging process to select the finalists was challenging in the best possible way. This is testimony to the world-class level of innovation in the education supplies industry, and it is a true pleasure to recognise these companies for their excellence.”

Liane O’Kane, Director of iCompute said :  “We are thrilled to be shortlisted again this year for another of our ground-breaking primary computing products.  We lead the way in providing educational products and materials that support schools in creatively teaching primary computing.  As an organisation that passionately believes in engaging all children in the creative use of technology in education, we work hard to ensure that schools have high-quality support and resources to teach computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.  Our iPad app puts these resources at teacher’s fingertips.”

 

iCompute Lite icon

Click/Tap to find out more

Download on the App Store

Ada Lovelace – I Look Like An Engineer

iCompute Author Liane O'Kane

iCompute’s Liane O’Kane marks Ada Lovelace Day with #iLookLikeAnEngineer

I’m not cut out to be a participant in online social media campaigns.  I’m a Computer Scientist and a teacher.  Case in point: I’m having a touch of  angst about a selfie I posted on Twitter yesterday to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day.  I’m now wondering whether I’ve addressed sexism in the technology industry or perpetuated it?

Being a graduate of computing science in the 90’s where I was one only one of three women in my year and now as a teacher of computing, I was thrilled to see that #AdaLovelaceDay was trending on Twitter yesterday.  I had just written a computing unit for primary pupils featuring her contribution to history as the worlds first computer programmer as part of my primary computing scheme of work.  I then saw that it was being celebrated by thousands of women around the world in technology/science/engineering/maths posting photographs of themselves at work with the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer.  I joined the many women keen to dispel the stereotype of what constitutes an engineer – in my case a software engineer – by adding my photo.

All good.  Except that I then spotted the BBC headline “‘Too hot to be an engineer’ – Women mark Ada Lovelace day”.  The connotations of that headline and my contribution marking Ada Lovelace Day did not sit at all comfortably.  Some posts on Twitter, by women, added to my unease: asking whether women posting images of themselves inevitably focused the conversation towards looks, thus perpetuating perceptions of women in technology.  True, if that’s what is is about.  But it’s not.  Note the quotes in the headline – ‘Too hot to be an engineer’.  That is a comment made by male colleagues to a female software engineer after she took part in a promotional campaign for her company.  To put it diplomatically, they questioned whether her image fit that of a ‘typical’ engineer and suggested that people would find it unlikely that she was one.  The Twitter campaign, #iLookLikeAnEngineer, has taken flight because women working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) want the world to see that women are engineers – in my case a software engineer.

I’m not interested in showing men that I’m an engineer because I have never, in all my many years in the computing industry, encountered what I would call sexism.  I’ve never missed out on a job, had my contributions dismissed nor been promoted because I’m a women.  I’ve been mistaken for the tea lady in meetings but I didn’t get hysterical about it – I simply spoke with some authority on my subject and they no longer expected a milk with two sugars.  I’ve also been asked, when taking notes, if I was writing a shopping list for making my husband’s dinner. That was a joke and I laughed.  We women need to lose the silicone chip on our shoulders.  They’re not out to get us and we’re not posting pictures of ourselves to look good.

I participated in the campaign because I’m a teacher and I want more girls to take STEM subjects.  I want girls to know that they won’t be the first woman in technology (thank you Ada Lovelace) and that there are lots of us out there continuing to make a contribution. A contribution that we’d love them to be a part of.  So girls, here is what an engineer looks like:

Primary Algorithms outdoors

#iLookLikeAnEngineer

girls with ipads

#iLookLikeAnEngineer

Girls outside with iPads

#iLookLikeAnEngineer

Girls outside with iPads

#iLookLikeAnEngineer

Girls with iPads

#iLookLikeAnEngineer

primary algorithms

#iLookLikeAnEngineer

iCompute for iPad app – teaching resources at your finger tips

iCompute iPad Apps

Click to find out more

At this time of year, with the gorgeous weather we’ve been having throughout the UK, it’s not hard to see the benefits of teaching primary computing with iPads.

One of the main advantages that my pupils point out about iPads over pcs/laptops is that you can pick them up and carry them around.  So carry them around we have throughout this summer term.  I’ve been teaching from our iPad pack and taking our computing lessons outside.

children with ipads

Taking computing learning outside

Teaching our iPad units just got easier with the launch of our iCompute for iPad apps that now also sell as individual year groups on the App Store.

I can now tap and share resources like pupil support materials and worksheets using AirDrop, play our video screencasts and model how to use the programming apps on the interactive whiteboard using AirPlay.  Our teaching resources are now literally at my fingertips.  All I need is my iPad, iCompute for iPad and appropriate programming apps and I’m good to go.  Anywhere.

children with ipads

Fun in the sun

The possibilities are limitless and I’m so enthused by the success of teaching computing using iPads that I’m currently developing a new product – iCompute Across the Curriculum.  This will help consolidate the children’s learning in computing, allow them to practice their skills and enhance other areas of the curriculum.

For now though, the children are enjoying the great outdoors and creating some fantastic apps to compliment their forthcoming sports days.  Fingers crossed the weather plays ball!

 

Find out more about our whole-school scheme of work and iPad packs at http://www.icompute-uk.com