Our Spring Term meeting was focussed on Key Stage 1 and Early Years provision. Kevin McLaughlin shared some of his thoughts on how his foundation class responded some computing challenges beyond the expectations of the EYFS curriculum.
Kevin suggested that much of the computing curriculum aims for KS1 was part of everyday teaching in EYFS – pattern recognition (phonics), sequencing (story telling) and logic (questioning) . He has begun to explore computing without computers, focussing key computing skills. He demonstrated how his children could soon tell him about algorithms after linking them clearly to practical instructions. He had a child that could predict what shape would be made by a set of instructions to move a model crane around the floor. They took apart a computer and made their own from paper.
He recommended Hello Ruby, which has ideas, lessons mad practical activities for exploring computers and computing with young children.
We then had a swap shop and shared ideas, tips and equipment that people had brought along. There was a wide range of discussion, from makey makey and book creator to a Rising Stars scheme of work and phonics apps with physical letters to put on your iPad to listen to their sounds. Time to network and talk with other teachers was time well spent and hopefully everyone came away with something new!
During this CAS hub meeting, we focussed on the use of input and output to investigate how computers can control devices connected to them. This is an area that often gets taught at KS1 using robots, such as Beebots and Roamers, and can be more problematic at KS2 simply because it requires some equipment for children to be able to control!
Fortunately, we had some experience educators to help us look at some of the equipment available for control.
Nick Page, Primary Computing lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, works with trainee teachers on the computing curriculum. He has recently been investigating using a Crumble controller in the classroom and brought several projects along to demonstrate how they could be used and integrated with the Design and Technology curriculum. Particularly fun was the ability use conductive thread to sew connections between lights to make a circuit, a lovely way to combine sewing, electronics and programming to make a felt Christmas Tree with a sequence of flashing lights! A big advantage of Crumble is that it is cheap to buy and can use electronic components that you may already have in school such as crocodile clips.
Claire Robinson, from Holme Valley Primary school in North Lincolnshire, is a HLTA with a passion for computing. She has been using two very cute robots, Dot and Dash, at her school and demonstrated how they could be used in the classroom with the various attachments they have from Lego adapters, to an iPod holder and even a xylophone.
We also had a number of attendees bring along other control equipment to play with during an open workshop. There were Spheroes, Ozobot, more Crumble projects using traffic lights, a Lego Wedo toilet fan and iControl.
There were 46 people at the meeting and the overwhelming choice for a subject for the next hub meeting was for us to look at Computing in Early Years and KS1. We have already secured Apple Distinguished Educator Marc Faulderfor our meeting on 25 May 2016 and are looking out for someone to present at our Spring meeting on 4 February 2016. Get in touch if you could help or would like to recommend a speaker or workshop topic.
At the end of my Master Teacher in computing training with Computers At School, an email from CAS came round asking for volunteers to demonstrate computing lessons for the DfE. I volunteered and was rather surprised when the week before the end of our school year I was contacted by the DfE to book a time to film a video for their YouTube channel.
The film maker, Lee, was camera man, sound engineer and editor all in one, which made the process easier for me and the children. As it was he day before the end of the school year, I chose 10 children from my class to take part in a Lego WeDo lesson. Lee had sent me some questions in advance for a piece to camera and I’d explained how the lesson would work.
The lesson was from Phil Bagge’s plans for making a toilet fan. I started the children off by explaining the task and they made their models in pairs before Lee arrived. The children were great and really enjoyed making their fans and couldn’t wait to get started controlling them using scratch. Once Lee arrived, we continued with the lesson and they soon forgot their nerves at being filmed as they were completely absorbed in their programming!
Report from the CAS Leicester North Primary hub meeting at Rushey Mead Primary School.
Tuesday 24 March 2015 : Rushey Mead Primary School, Leicester
Barefoot computing – Zoe Ross. How to use the resources available on the Barefoot project website to teaching the new computing curriculum in KS1 and KS2.
Zoe gave us a great introduction to the Barefoot site and in particular how each resource is linked directly to a statement from the computing curriculum. Each activity includes an explanation of the terms or concepts used so that you can check your own subject knowledge. Sign up for free to use the resources on the site. Barefoot are still offering FREE WORKSHOPS in your school until the end of this school year. Contact them to book one quick!
What will children be learning at KS3?Dave Abbott, Stonehill High School, Birstall.
Dave showed us what children will be doing in years 7 – 9. As a computing specialist, he was keen to support our use in primary of the correct terminology that so many of us are struggling to comprehend! He recognised that our teaching of the key concepts at primary was essential for him to progress computing at KS3 and was delighted to start seeing children who already knew what an algorithm was. Rather than teach specific languages, Dave uses projects, such as making games in Scratch to teach the principles of programming. Dave includes eSafety in his first term of teaching at year 7 and uses a video project to ensure that children can locate, transfer and save files using a USB, hard drive and online storage. Something that not every year 7 child can do but a real stand out message for us to start looking at teaching in primary school.
Schemes of work – led by Jo Badge, Rushey Mead Primary.
I have always been keen to share ideas about my teaching, and regularly tweet lesson ideas or activities. However, I haven’t gone as far as making the resources I have made available online, partly because I’ve always been wary about its licensing. Although I work in a primary school, I know that I am ultimately employed by the City Council and so the council owns the Intellectual Property Rights for any educational resources I produce in the line of my employment. As an employee I don’t have the automatic moral rights i.e. the right to be named as author on those resources. I know it isn’t something that many of us think about, but with the massive increase in access to shared resources online, it is really is an issue I believe we teachers should begin to embrace. After all, Open Education is a philosophy that is essentially at the heart of teaching – sharing and learning together, building on each other’s work and collaborating to enhance our own teaching and learning.
I attended the Open Education Schools Conference in Leicester this January. The first event of it’s kind in the UK, was organised by Leicester City Council in partnership with De Montfort University. 92 attendees from 48 primary, secondary and specialist provision schools took part in the day, as well as representatives from five UK universities. One of the sessions I attended was a workshop by Miles Berry who encouraged us to think in a very practical way about how we could begin to teach primary school children about Creative Commons licenses and the correct re-use of other people’s work. There were some fantastic ideas generated, such as children remixing scratch scripts that had been shared online. I worked with two colleagues, Hannah Boydon and Marieke Guy to plan a half term unit of work to show children how to search for CC licensed images and then use them in a website they built, making sure that they included the correct attribution and a link back to the original image. Marieke was one of the main speakers at the event, and her write up of the day and impressions of Miles’ workshop are on her blog.
use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour
use search technologies effectively and be discerning in evaluating digital content
select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) to design and create content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting information
The aim of this unit of work is to teach children the principles of copyright compliant searching and accurate attribution of digital content when it is re-used. Children will learn about the ownership of created content and creative commons licences. They will use search effectively to find images that can be re-used and learn to attribute them correctly. They will create a website which combines the images that they have found and combine them with text to explain how other children can search for images to re-use on their own blogs or websites.
I used the lessons myself in the last half term and will be building the websites with my children in the next couple of weeks. I hope that the plans could be adapted to fit into other areas of the curriculum so that the final end product has a real purpose. My children were studying space and we wrote recounts about our visit to the National Space Centre in our English lessons, which we will then turn into websites using the images we found in the computing lessons. The final websites could be recounts, information texts or even instructions on how to search for creative commons licensed images!
Places for children to search for images to re-use
We did hit a few filtering issues while we were trying to search for CC licensed images. We found using Google advanced image search was reliable, but when images were from flickr, they were often blocked by our filters. Some alternatives the children used successfully were: http://www.pics4learning.com/ , http://gallery.nen.gov.uk/ and for clipart https://openclipart.org/. If you are able to use flickr, I would highly recommend using photosforclass.com which uses flickr images that are pre-filtered to provide a pseudo-safe search. The massive advantage here is that with a quick quick, images can be downloaded with an attribution automatically added (like the photo at the top of this post).
Today I’m back at the University of Leicester speaking to the PGCE students about how I use technology in the classroom. There are some great workshops and speakers planned, I’ll be sorry to miss seeing some of them but it is half term and so I will just be popping in to grab the free lunch and do my talk!