DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: COMPUTING

Schools are all under a significant obligation to provide certain information on their school websites these days. This is a bit of a problem for lots of schools in itself. The reality is that schools have to compete more and more on every level and having a website that is fresh, modern and regularly updated is key to your success.

A lot of UK teachers are having to look at how they can best teach this brand-new curriculum. Here, Leon Brown discusses the challenges that the computing curriculum raises, and how they can be turned into opportunities.

The specification of the new national curriculum for traditional subjects, such as maths and English, has the potential to cause headaches for teachers throughout the country, never mind the introduction of a whole new subject that the majority of teachers have never been involved with.

With computing soon to be taught in lieu of ICT, many teachers are keen to share advice and concerns with their peers. Miles Berry, author of Switched on Computing, talks about the fresh opportunities for creativity in the new curriculum, and shares some advice on how to take on these new challenges.

Whilst it’s easy to focus on the ‘core knowledge’ aspects of the new National Curriculum, creativity is an important dimension, and I think rightly so. The stated aims for the curriculum as a whole include engendering an appreciation for human creativity, and it’s hard to see this happening without some opportunity for pupils to work in this way. The computing programme of study speaks of pupils coming to understand and change the world through computational thinking and creativity, and includes, as one of its aims, that pupils become creative users of ICT.

When pupils and staff return to school in September, a new computing curriculum will begin. Jon Chippindall, a Year 5 teacher working in Manchester, discusses how teachers can make the most of the new setup.

[As seen in the February 2014 edition of our magazine]

As the countdown to computing continues, primary schools across the country are considering how best to redesign their ICT curriculum to incorporate the computer science elements of the new national curriculum, whilst maintaining valuable aspects of ICT.

Given that the new computing curriculum is coming into effect after the summer, we revisit an article the Code Club’s managing director Laura Kirsop, where she examines the importance of coding at school.

As seen in the February 2014 edition of our magazine.

For the last two years, everyone’s been talking about learning to code. From Google chairman Eric Schmidt, to will.i.am and Barack Obama. But what is coding and why is it important for our kids to learn to do it?

Jane Basnett has written articles previously on how she’d go about implementing digital strategist position. In her third article on the subject, she discusses how to best get the position rolling effectively.

So what next in my hypothetical journey as a school's digital strategist? As a school we are beginning to embrace our TeachMeets and increasingly more staff are beginning to contribute to the meetings. The time slots have been fine tuned so that everyone can attend, no one feels left out, and those staff who previously may not have felt easy about sharing ideas can now be, at least, part of the process. The staff blog is up and running and through this medium we are now reaching the majority of the staff room.

Given that much of the British education system is currently enjoying the Easter Holidays, it’s important for a school’s website to show information such as contact details, facilities and, of course, term dates. As Ian Richardson of Schudio points out, a school’s website needs to be managed properly; here are some of his finest tips.

I meet with schools all over the country regularly, and one of the recurring themes is the struggle for schools to effectively keep their websites up to date. Of course I’ll say that having a system that is easy to use helps enormously, but whatever system you have in place, or whichever method you use to keep your website up-to-date, by following a few steps that are quite straightforward you can have a website for your school that is engaging and keeps users coming back time and time again.

Your average schoolchild is likely to be extremely tech-savvy, but how should their access to online socialisation be handled? Brett Laniosh, an education guru with over 25 years of experience, discusses how chat rooms and forums can enhance a student’s education.

Mention Facebook to most school leaders and you will probably get an “Oh no!” type of reaction. The reality for many schools is that Facebook is nothing but trouble. From bullying to intimidation and concerns about privacy, the problems can be significant. And those issues can affect pupils, school staff and parents. Schools of course have a duty of care to ensure that pupils are aware of the potential problems when using social media. We tell children that they need to be at least 13 to have a profile on Facebook and they shouldn’t post photos online that they wouldn’t want their mom to see. As a school consultant, I am called upon to give advice around this potential minefield. This can include running online safety sessions for parents, pupils and teachers; I urge everyone to take a look at the brilliant materials CEOP have placed on www.thinkyouknow.co.uk.

Given how coding has ruled the headlines in recent months, most teachers are discussing the pros and cons of the matter. Peter Mason, an avid computing enthusiast, discusses why he considers the changes to be positive.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past year, you won’t have missed the changes to the National Curriculum that are taking place. These changes include a controversial shift in focus from ICT to computing. Starting from September this year, the National Curriculum will emphasise on empowering pupils to be the next generation of creators - not just passive consumers. The means to achieving this is teaching children to code.

The controversy hasn't stopped at the National Curriculum. The Government has recently put its weight behind the Year of Code campaign, with a launch that appears to have been criticised by everyone from educators to businesses. Myths abound on what programming is and isn't at the moment, but one fact is that computer programming isn't for everyone, just like art isn’t. There are, however, some great reasons to teach kids to code.

With so much talk about the raspberry pi - which we feel does have its merits, but is not always the most efficient solution - we felt that we had to write an article about arduino and why it’s a great way to get started with robots, electronics and computer science.

The Arduino board is designed for artists and hobbyists – in other words people who are not necessarily roboticists or ‘geeky’ by nature, but are interested in making things that move, interactive models and projects that react to the environment and have some degree of sophistication and elegance.

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