Session 218: The New Computing Curriculum is here. Are you ready?

Session218CodingPromoWith many teachers suddenly faced with teaching the new computing curriculum, #ukedchat  explored how prepared teachers feel with this change within primaries and secondary schools across the globe. Throughout the evening, the following questions were released:

  1. Do you feel you fully understand the new Computing Curriculum now that it is time to teach it? (8.01 pm)
  2. What are the biggest challenges you face as a teacher when it comes to the new Computing Curriculum? (8.11 pm)
  3. How are you planning to engage the children when teaching the new Computing Curriculum? (8.21 pm)
  4. Are any of you adopting a cross curriculum technique of teaching by combining the new Computing Curriculum with other subjects i.e Maths or Literacy? (8.31 pm)
  5. Where do you go for inspiration on how to deliver the new Computing Curriculum? (8.41 pm)
  6. What training and/or CPD have you received or do you have planned to deal with all these changes? (8.51 pm)

See the Storify and Archive below…


[pullquote]Always have extension activities available, have tools available for independent learning, Embrace failure and frustration.

The first aspect of the session explore how ready people generally felt with this newer element of the curriculum, with some feeling daunted, the language needed to understand, plus trying to fit in some of the older ICT projects into new curriculum strands. There was also a call for adults to step back with coding, allowing room for experimentation and debugging – letting pupils learn from their own computing mistakes in a self-managed way. Promoting depth and principles and loving  computational thinking is key, but being put off by terminology and therefore not teaching it really isn’t an option.

It was correctly pointed out that Coding skills are progressive in much the same way as maths skills. Making sure skills are taught in preparation for future years is crucial, however it was pointed out that one of the biggest difficulties will be building on what children know 2 years down the line when they have been coding for several years. Computer science can be taught away from computers with @MissWilliamsGB pointing out that her class made sorting algorithms in the playground and robots out of children – sounds interesting! Hopefully the teaching of algorithms as instructions will help in young children support thinking before moving on to programming. Keeping it interesting as most board’s coursework tasks are out of touch with interests of young people was one of the main challenges pointed out by @DCallanIT, but pupils will have to be made aware of what they are learning and that it applies to the bigger picture.

Moving onto the third question, the consensus was that they key is to keep it all flexible and integrate into topics to make it meaningful. Another idea suggested to engage students by introducing computing concepts as something they (or people around them) use every day (via @refthinking) yet trying to make my teaching about thinking before coding – algorithms or pseudo code first. Linking it to literacy and instructions really helps, especially lower down the school or make it relevant. @JoyGroom’s Year 4 pupils are using scratch to create a gladiator game for their Roman topic.

A surprising challenge was revealed during the session in that, to some children, some think that programming is only for boys – have we got a subject gender perception issue to deal with here? @JamesDavid22 confirmed that stereotypes in regards to gaming do happen in secondary and thinks the media has a role and targeting by gaming industry – hoping will change as should be skills and not for everyone. @Bekblayton shared, “I think there is a gender viewpoint – it’s reinforced in language and popular media – this generation will change that.” @AllGoodTeacher pointed out that, “girls in my school tend not to pick GCSE Computing/Computer Science but tend to do much better at it than boys”!

Integration with other subjects was explored in further depth: All the primary classes in @JoyGroom’s primary are trying to integrate computing, with reception children using daisy dinosaur app for speaking and listening. Y3 scratch for caveman game.  They are also planning next term to use Lego wedo with scratch to create chariots for Romans v Boudicca with year 4 pupils by using scheme and tweaks.

Coding uses maths, angles, trigonometry, speed etc. Can computing and maths be combined? There are also very strong links with maths, but difficult to ensure concepts taught at same time – maths skills closely linked to gaps.

These are interesting times in education as a whole, but in regards to computing skills, thinking and technological advances it seems people are rightly focussed on processes rather than products. The thrust of the conclusions in the session were: Variety of is the spice of life. If it doesn’t work there will always be another way to teach it; on the whole looking forward to the challenge, think most will be staff issues, not children or curriculum; Computing in KS2 provides children with the skills and understanding to contribute to rapidly evolving technological society. Rejoice.

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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