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With the introduction of the National Curriculum for Computing at KS1 and KS2, we’ve had requests from many schools using iCompute’s Primary Computing schemes of work to provide a model computing policy for them to adapt and use in their school.
The new primary computing curriculum becomes statutory in September with the introduction of the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Primary schools are now beginning to think seriously about, not only how to teach this new subject, but what it means for them in practical terms. I’m being asked lots of questions in the run-up to its introduction, the most common, aside from improving subject knowledge, being: Should it be taught in a cross-curricular way or discretely? How long for? What about new hardware/software? How will they cope with pupil support?
I’ve been teaching computing to primary children for a long time and here are some of my tips for what you will (and won’t) need; along with advice on how to manage your class and some possible teaching techniques you could use when you start teaching computing in September.
Lock engaging online down or manage it?
eSafety in Primary Schools
The primary computing curriculum aims to help young children develop the skills to become digitally literate enabling them to fully participate in an increasingly digital world: to communicate, collaborate, create and express themselves using technology. The ever-increasing wealth of technologies available presents exciting, and rapidly evolving, opportunities to interact, socialise and learn online. But it also poses potential dangers and the new National Curriculum for Computing at KS1 and KS2, rightly, has a focus on teaching children to stay safe online.
In our changing technological world, we teachers need to better understand digital education as a pedagogy and I often get asked how I teach and manage eSafety in my classes.
Create and share your own webpages with Mozilla Thimble
As part of my role as a primary computer science master teacher, I train teachers on how to teach the new primary computing curriculum.
When covering networks, the internet and the world wide web, I can’t wait to introduce teachers to the delights of Mozilla X-Ray Goggles (which everyone loves!) and basic web page creation using Mozilla Thimble: an online HTML editor.
Computing is not just for boys
One of the reasons the new primary computing curriculum is being introduced is to address the issue that far fewer girls than boys study computer science in further and higher education and are therefore under-represented in industry. There’s a perception that computer science is a bit of a boys subject and various laudable, although I feel somewhat patronising, efforts to ‘get girls coding’ usually take the form of designing activities that play to stereotypes: dressing up etc. I’ve been teaching primary computing for a long time now and I’ve yet to have a single girl not be engaged in my lessons; although I do accept that this could largely be influenced by the fact that it is me teaching them. And I’m about as girlie as you can get. It’s difficult to judge which question I get stopped and asked most about in school – ‘Are we doing computing today?’ or ‘Where did you get your shoes?’
Worried your pupils will be ahead of you in computing?
The new National Curriculum for Computing at KS1 and KS2 is, arguably, one of the few subjects that primary teachers fear their pupils will know more about than themselves.
A question I frequently get asked is ‘How do you cope when the children know more than you do’? As a Computer Scientist, it takes a lot to out-geek me but I know many teachers feel they have no hope of keeping ahead of the children they will be teaching.
There’s no need to. Children seemingly racing ahead with what look like quite sophisticated software and systems is no guarantee of them making progress in computing; because you’re teaching them much more than just programming. Here are a few tips on how to facilitate learning in computing whilst not holding your pupils back.
Computing Skills Progression
This post has been superceded by How to Plan a Primary Computing Scheme of Work
Computing in Primary Schools
The primary computing curriculum became statutory in September 2014 and across the country teachers and schools are having a meltdown. Here’s a new subject teachers have never been trained to teach and they have to teach children from the age of 5 how to ‘code’.