At Easter I moved schools and took on a new role as Computing Subject Leader at a large Leicester city primary school. Some time had been set aside at a twilight session on the new curriculum to talk about the Computing Curriculum. The school have been trialling the new curriculum for foundation subjects this year and my role was created when staff realised that they need some support to help implement the new computing curriculum.
In the twilight session, I wanted to demystify the curriculum (and some of the jargon in it), provide staff with an overview of the aims and give them some resources to take away that they could use. I used the excellent Naace / CAS computing guide as a foundation, drawing on their separation of the curriculum into three main strands, digital literacy, information technology and computer science. I wanted to reassure staff that they already knew how to teach much of digital literacy (esafety) and information technology (content creation and analysis) strands so that I could focus on the computer science strand. I also wanted to show how staff could do computing without using a computer, as I hoped that this would demonstrate it isn’t as scary as it first seems and give them some practical activities that could also serve to develop children’s spoken language.
I used @RevErasumus staff meeting notes as a guide to get me started and included two practical activities for staff to try. The first was a KS1 algorithm lesson from Phil Bagge – the human crane. To show progression in algorithms, I then used Phil’s Sandwich bot, where he makes a jam sandwich following his children’s instructions very literally and much hilarity (and some very serious learning! ) ensues. I’ve written about the impact of using activities that don’t involve computers on Staffrm as the feedback I had was fascinating.
Next, for a KS2 activity, we looked at how search algorithms rely on data being sorted. Following inspiration from a great live demonstration at #camped14 by Catherine Elliot (@catherinelliott), I got staff to do a bubble sort based on height. By making them stand on a bench, you can only get into order by comparing pairs of people and swapping places one pair at a time. A great illustration of how a bubble sort works and followed up by the amazing Hungarian Folk Dance version!
At the end of the meeting, I gave out a skills audit (a version for teachers and a different one for teaching assistants), a curriculum review form and a pupil questionnaire.
Finally, I have to say a big thank you to a colleague who helped me put all this together. Just after I had finished meeting with my Head teacher about where to start on computing curriculum for the school, she went on to meet with a deputy from a local infant school who was looking to work with us as a partner school for her NPQH project. Serendipity struck as she was also the ICT lead at her school and so my Head suggested that we work together on the curriculum. I have so enjoyed working with her, we’ve bounced ideas off each other, she has a been a great critical friend and our different skills fitted well together.