Session 278: Primary Computing

Thursday 12th November 2015, hosted by @hengehall

The focus of this #UKEdChat session is on Primary Computing, exploring how teachers are finding the new requirements, the challenges and the positive results, resources and tools to best deliver the curriculum. Hosted by @hengehall, the questions released are listed below:

Q1 How is computing enhancing the rest of the curriculum? (Via @MrGPrimary)
Q2 What does mastery in computing look like?
Q3 Which tools are useful for teaching coding?
Q4 How do you ensure even coverage of computing across all year groups?
Q5 What will computing look like in 10 years time and how are we preparing children for the future?


A hectic #ukedchat began with @MrGPrimary asking how computing enriches the rest of the curriculum. Ben Davies (@b3ndavi3s) kicked of the discussion with “Developing problem solving skills and the importance of using failures to improve outcomes” with @penfoldno1 adding that it can help develop a growth mindset. There was also discussion that it can enhance literacy with Marty Keltz (@martysnowpaw) adding “Love that computers/ing has allowed us to do video streaming for story telling and story making” using Touchcast. Not everyone agreed, Sharon Smith (@sharonSmith_edu) warned that whilst there is potential it is not guaranteed and Julian S Wood (@Ideas_Factory) drew the important distinction between the pedagogy and the technology “I wouldn’t say Computing is enhancing the curriculum but technology associated with it is… “

Question 2 explored what mastery looks like in computing. Graham Andre (@grahamandre) posed the question “Could we ever master computing?” Prompting a great response from Ben Davies (@b3ndavi3s) “If we focus on conceptual understanding and application rather than technology, I think we can.” The question was slightly hijacked by a debate on when is a programming language not a programming language, a topic which would flare up again later in the session… Claire N Jones (@Claire_N_Jones) suggested that this question could be the subject of a wider #ukedchat, so watch this space.

Tools for teaching coding was next on the agenda. Colin Grimes (MrGPrimary) put forward an interesting selection, including Scratch, ScratchJr, Hopscotch and Tickle whilst Gaz Needle (@gazneedle) put a topical spin on the subject, advocating the Star Wars resources available on HP (@penfoldno1) and Simon Johnson (@clcsimon) both advocated the use of ‘unplugged’ problem solving activities before introducing children to coding. Tim Head (MrHeadComputing) showed the potential of Scratch with a link to a fantastic Pacman tribute game he produced:

Question 4 asked how even coverage of computing is achieved throughout all year groups. As a specialist computing teacher, host Ben Hall (@hengehall) wondered how common this was. Although there were a couple of others in the same role, it would appear the vast majority of schools cover computing through their class teachers. Graham Andre (@grahamandre) suggested that a specialist computing teacher is the only way to ensure broad coverage. Rae (@rachaelandre) offered a trainee teacher’s perspective: “I would definitely benefit from more ICT training.” Rebecca (@bekblayton) rounded off the discussion championing the role of digital leaders in helping raise the skills levels of staff.

The final (serious) question looked to the future – what will computing look like in 10 years time and how are we preparing children for the future? Gaz Needle (@gazneedle) opened up with “roll up computers. Wearable tech.” and Gail Abbit (@gailabbit) and Tim Head (@MrHeadComputing) both put the case forward for 3D printing. Tim suggested that children could “design, code, 3d print and take home your own robot all in one lesson.” Richard Townend (@Mr_RichTea) predicted a bright future for computing in schools: “The time is coming when computing will have equal footing with reading,writing and maths. 5 years tops.”

The session concluded with a return to the html debate, with the last word going to Ben Davies (@b3ndavi3s) with this comprehensive explanation: and a discussion on the merits of different types of tape involving Leon Cych (@eyebeams), Gaz Needle (@gazneedle) and Craig Smith (@craigsssmith).

Eye-Catching Tweets from the session:


  • Julian S Wood @Ideas_Factory I wouldn’t say Computing is enhancing the curriculum but technology associated with it is… #ukedchat
  • Ben Davies @b3ndavi3s @hengehall @MrGPrimary Developing problem solving skills and the importance of using failures to improve outcomes #ukedchat
  • Graham Andre’ @grahamandre A1: Can enhance any area of the curriculum if used properly – @BookCreatorApp can be used in any subject brilliantly #ukedchat
  • Sharon Smith @SharonSmith_edu @hengehall Does computing automatically enhance the rest of the curriculum? There is the potential for it to do so, no guarantee. #ukedchat
  • Stephen Connor @StephenConnor7 @hengehall A1 the computing curriculum as a whole should be developing literacy (blogging, communicating) & digital awareness #ukedchat
  • Martin Burrett @ICTmagic @ukedchat @hengehall A1 In so many ways, but simply communication and collaboration are biggest factors. #ukedchat
  • teachfresh @teach_fresh A1. In terms of technology itself I think that’s completely different. Similar to asking how paper has enhanced the curriculum #ukedchat
  • Sharon Smith @SharonSmith_edu Computing/ICT has the potential to engage, interest and enthuse learners, especially when targeted and meaningfully utilised. #ukedchat


  • Sharon Smith @SharonSmith_edu @ukedchat @hengehall Mastery for student or for teacher? Skilful use is knowing when to use it and when not to. #ukedchat
  • Graham Andre’ @grahamandre A2: Could we ever Master computing? #ukedchat
  • Ben Davies @b3ndavi3s @grahamandre if we focus on conceptual understanding and application rather than the technology, I think we can #ukedchat
  • Graham Andre’ @grahamandre @DuncLloyd Not sure we can ever master writing either can we? Maths possibly everything else is so subjective? #ukedchat
  • Claire_N_Jones @Claire_N_Jones @MrHeadComputing @MrGPrimary @ukedchat @hengehall We could have a topic on what ‘mastery’ is! Is it related to a skill?Curriculum? #ukedchat


  • Tim Head @MrHeadComputing @ukedchat @hengehall I cant wait for the new Starwars hour of code resources #ukedchat a3
  • Simon Johnson @clcsimon @jw_teach Totally agree! I’ve been using @Sonic_Pi to teach music with CS. Also helping students to transpose sheet music! Colin Grimes @MrGPrimary @ukedchat ScratchJr, Scratch, Pyonkee, Hopscotch, Tickle, W3School etc #ukedchat
  • Colin Grimes @MrGPrimary A3 – Never underestimate the use of a BeeBot either! #ukedchat
  • Gail Abbitt @gailabbitt @ukedchat @hengehall @scratch , @koduteam @hopscotch are some favs. @Codecademy for advances Ss so they can work @ own pace #ukedchat
  • Graham Andre’ @grahamandre A3: I think code is an area of comp. curriculum that lots of teachers are less confident with and it isnt taught properly agree? #ukedchat
  • Ben Davies @b3ndavi3s @hengehall don’t forget the value of unplugged resources to develop conceptual understanding #ukedchat
  • Simon Johnson @clcsimon @hengehall @ukedchat I’m not a huge fan of step-by-step tutorials however, for HourOfCode, instant results can be a great hook! #ukedchat
  • Jessica Elam @ElamJessica Marble run is great for inputs/outputs/debugging! I use , Beebots and blindfolded chn in PE! #ukedchat


  • Graham Andre’ @grahamandre A4: I’d love to know the answer to this expertise is spread thin…maybe more time needed teaching computing to student teachers? #ukedchat
  • Ben Davies @b3ndavi3s @hengehall @clcsimon subject knowledge for teachers and realising that is can be a creative subject #ukedchat HP @penfoldno1 @ukedchat @#ukedchat ensure there is long term map looking carefully at links to the topics for the teachers and making it manageable
  • Graham Andre’ @grahamandre @MrGPrimary @hengehall I think a specialist teach,only way to ensure that computing is being taught properly across all year group #ukedchat
  • Jessica Elam @ElamJessica Next week I’m doing a hands on learning walk supporting Ts using iPads in the classroom #ukedchat
  • Colin Grimes @MrGPrimary @b3ndavi3s @hengehall Great idea – too many thinking getting the iPads out is “computing” Digital Literacy through other subjects.#ukedchat
  • Claire_N_Jones @Claire_N_Jones @hengehall @grahamandre @ukedchat Digital Leaders help here with supporting staff too…#ukedchat
  • Julian S Wood @Ideas_Factory @grahamandre @MrGPrimary @hengehall I have taught exemplar lessons alongside teachers last year & this.2 year groups a term. #ukedchat
  • Graham Andre’ @grahamandre @rachaelandrea I spoke to SCITT students last Friday about Twitter and useful apps, 2 hours thats the whole of their training!! #ukedchat


  • Gail Abbitt @gailabbitt @ukedchat @hengehall If I knew I could make a fortune! Look how wrong Spielberg got it! 🙂 #ukedchat
  • MrBee @mrbeeict @ukedchat @hengehall I predict critical thinking and invention #ukedchat solving and debugging.
  • Simon Johnson @clcsimon @hengehall @softcat Both exciting & a little scary that we are preparing students for jobs in the future that don’t exist yet! #ukedchat

Tweet of the Week:

From Tim Head @MrHeadComputing, on the computing lesson of the future: @ukedchat @hengehall

design, code, 3d print and take home your own robot all in one lesson. #ukedchat a5

About the Host

I am a specialist computing teacher in a large urban primary school in Rochdale. I am particularly interested in the use of blogging and twitter give children audience and purpose for their writing, and as a tools for CPD.


About @ICTmagic 501 Articles
Martin Burrett is the editor of our popular UKEdMagazine, along with curating resources in the ICTMagic section, and free resources for teachers on UKEd.Directory

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