Inspired by a tweachcode chat idea I thought I'd review my experience of the primary computing curriculum so far.
Of course I'm aware that I am obviously more exposed; having a site like this, on twitter and regularly in contact with other teachers regarding digital technologies. Which is why I firmly believe that we cannot let the momentum die – different schools have different experiences and the teaching of the skills can be patch when you look at a wider area.
A few thing stand out:
- Primary and Secondary are talking more.
I see this collaboration on social media, more dialogue and overlap. However my experience of schools is also that secondary colleagues are reaching out, and through the great CAS network they are sharing the expertise they have. Of course there is much to do, I worry that secondary won't be able to build on the work primary do as the experiences won't be similar. But it's a start.
- Primary colleagues are embracing the new…
It's not easy! Assessment changes, whole curriculum shifts, SEN changes and new terminology across everything.. Primary teachers are heroes right now, yet every time I've delivered Inset, or have spoken to teachers they are taking it all in their stride. I've had enthusiastic uptake for Hour of Code, Code Club, internet safety day, paper internet classes and all sorts! Stuff that could easily be the straw that breaks the camels back for many teachers.
- Money is sloshing around!
Some of it is admirable, companies linking free resources to the curriculum, (Scratch and Google Apps to name two), some of it is well intentioned, but misses the spot and some has come across a bit 'gimmicky'. However money has been thrown at it, mainly because it is a bit techy and trendy I feel. Products such as Raspberry Pi's (or the hundreds of other robots that are on the market) and 'big ideas' such as Code Club and Apps4Good. Of course some money could be misplaced – and schools do need good advice, especially when it comes to consultants and 'experts' in the field!
Is looking good, if a bit patchy. Some schools have taken this on and are developing links with their curriculum, building on knowldege already there and beginning to grow expertise in their own strength. Of course the momentum needs to be maintained – and a consistent approach is needed from primary schools. Networks such as CAS need to be shared and teachers need to be encouraged to examine what else is out there. Of course, like everything else, this takes time – something in short supply now!