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.
Learn Computer Science fundamentals without technology
Introducing our brand new computing unplugged resources for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Learn the fundamental principles of computer science.without tech!
iCompute unplugged offers teachers, parents and pupils a rich variety of resources enabling them to teach and learn computing inside and outside of the classroom without the need for devices or software. Our resources have been downloaded and used tens of thousands of times by teachers and pupils around the world.
Developed initially as a response to school closures due to COVID-19, the need to equip teachers and pupils with the skills necessary to communicate, collaborate, teach and learn has never been more important. Our creative, engaging, activities are designed by a Computer Scientist and Primary Computer Science Master Teacher to enable children to develop the fundamental principles of computer science.
Unplugged for Mastery
Unplugged activities are part of our principles for Mastery in Computing. The judicious use of activities away from devices and computers are crucial to young children’s learning in computing. Our 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. Find out more about achieving mastery in computing.
The resources are divided into activities suitable for pupils aged 5-7 (Key Stage 1) and ages 7-11 (Key Stage 2) and are matched to the National Curriculum for Computing for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 Programme of Study.
Key Stage 1 Unplugged
Our Key Stage 1 resources are intended to be used by children working either together with their families or in small supervised groups. The activities are ‘unplugged’ and intended to be used by children working either with their families or in small supervised groups. They are split into the fundamental principles of computer science (algorithms, decomposition, abstraction, logical thinking, and generalisation) to help develop the computational thinking skills that lie at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing.
Key Stage 2 Unplugged
The Key Stage 2 unplugged resources are designed for teaching groups of children some of amazing concepts that computer science includes. From simulating networks and data transfer using string and sticky notes to ‘crawling’ the world wide web as search engine spiders, they all provide active, kinaesthetic learning experiences and are collaborative, engaging and fun!
“The activities are wonderful, engaging and with clear learning objectives”
“iCompute has introduced a more creative way of learning and this has been seen in the enthusiasm of the children”
“This is a very good resource. Not only for younger learners but for anyone teaching Computer Science. The exercises practice sequencing, abstraction, pattern generation, decomposition and object relationships.“
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.
Use free software and tools – you don’t need to buy a thing in order to meet the objectives of the computing curriculum
Practice – helps you understand the knowledge, skills and understanding the software and tools help develop
Look for progression – you will start to see that particular tools are suitable for specific age groups
Look for full coverage – Computing is not just about coding
Understand how to assess computing – know where your pupils are and where they need to go next
Adapt – make it fit your school, staff and needs of your pupils