Reviewing the Computing Curriculum
We’ve now had around 3 months of playing time with the new curriculum and have begun to reflect on our progress – what has this meant for the teachers and pupils at the school?
If you’re planning for the new curriculum, maybe this post can help organise your thinking.
What we’ve done:
- Plan – long term! Share a two/three year ‘vision’ with the governing body – what do you want ICT provision to look like? Include infrastructure details as well as curriculum needs. How will you bring digital technologies into the classroom and teach the new ‘computing’ requirements?
- Encourage teachers to use technology – a video competition linked to a school theme is a great wayof encouraging staff to play with technology. Look at an ‘old’ style ICT unit of work and adapt it together. You need them to see why they might use it, it shouldn’t be forced in an unnatural way!
- Blog! Once a couple of year groups were doing it everyone wanted it! It’s a great way of showcasing work, sharing news a d giving a purpose to writing. Parents and pupils love it as well!
- Introduce new applications in small jumps – for example: work with Year 1 to introduce some simple apps for basic introduction to coding, and they then share their work with the rest of the school. Year 5 and 6 worked with other programmes and then they could do the same.
- Use clubs and extra curricular activities to give children the confidence and show staff what can be done! We have used Code Club for a while, and teachers will regularly drop in to see what’s happening – it’s really supported the ICT coordinator to develop their own skills.
What we’ve learnt:
- Start with what the technology you have in school (unless it’s dire!) Merely buying more devices wasn’t helpful. The teachers needed to understand what we were trying to do, and the shift in curriculum use alongside computing did not mean we needed a class set of laptops in every classroom. We started with getting teachers into the ICT suite, or using laptops/iPads for an appropiate purpose – actually planning lessons rather than it being an add-on.
- Introduce e-safety properly, and get evidence of the lessons taking place. There is no longer any excuse for not taking e-safety seriously. Deliver a lesson to your staff so they can see how it is a standalone unit of work. Bring parents along with you through parent briefings.
- We’ve coped! By using teachers who were already confident or willing, and sharing their experiences more and more teachers are beginning to experiment with simple coding and applications that they may not have used before. Modelling and sharing expertise within the school has really worked.
What we’ll do next:
- Whole staff training – some insets are already planned for specific programmes and applications – not too much, small chunks!
- Share what is working – and what isn’t! So far, keeping evidence and providing feedback in line with other school policies seems to be a challenge – but we have time to iron out these difficulties.
- Link! There are industry and charitable groups out there that can help. We need to build these links!
There really is lots of help out there – here’s a pick of some that I have used:
- Simon Haughton website – including a great e-book on computational theory.
- FutureLearn are leading a free course for teaching computing.
- Code Club – get one in your school now!
- Computing For Girls – resources and activities aimed at getting more girls into computing.