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.

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