Up and down the country, ICT teachers are nervously preparing themselves to make the transition from into teaching a subject which is known as ‘Computer Science’. What school leaders must realise when making this change is that Computer Science is a world apart from ICT. Teachers will need time to re-examine the pedagogy they use to ensure they deliver Computer Science lessons that are factually correct – and most importantly – craft classes that engage all learners in the room.
[Original published on 30th June 2015]
When I first started teaching ICT most people said that it is one the easiest subjects to teach because students like playing on the computer. This is totally not the case; there is a big difference between playing on a computer for leisure purposes compared to passing an exam or coursework. The boundaries and guidelines teachers and students need to go through is strenuous and cause lots of teachers to spoon feed students through the learning process.
The computing curriculum has been in place in schools across the UK for the best part of a year; enough time for both teachers and students to have adjusted to this new and challenging subject; in theory, at least. In reality however there is a huge discrepancy between the graphical ‘concept’ environments like Scratch, and the more complex text-based languages such as Python, both of which are used to teach students computing.
Twitter is not just for the teacher, or even the school department. Schools can gain lots from having their own whole school account. There are many ways in which you can use it too. From reporting on whole school issues, passing out messages about snow days and much more, there are very compelling reasons as to why you would want to be a ‘tweeting school’. There are a fair amount of tweeting headteachers too, but this article will be looking solely at schools.
Your ICT provision and support function play a key part in the effective running of your school, but as a senior leader, how well do you know your network? If ICT in your school is a bit of a ‘black art’ and your ICT team talk in a language more akin to Klingon than classroom, then it’s important that you ask your network manager to share the answers to the following questions, so you know the potential impact and reach your ICT has on teaching and learning in the school.
Creating video projects and resources allows for a lot of creativity, which is why one east London school has chosen to fully adopt a new system into their school: TrilbyTV.
Beam County Primary School in Dagenham have been using a video creation and storage system to innovate their school in big ways. ICT coordinator John Filer (pictured above) and his colleagues have introduced TrilbyTV into the school, in order to enhance the quality of various literacy, numeracy and science projects, as well as to create fun pupil roles within the building, such as lunchtime monitors. As a result of embracing this new system, the school has seen a huge rise in pupil-engagement, which has had an impact on all areas of the curriculum.
The more technology that is introduced into education, the more discussions are had regarding accessibility and usage. Edtech expert Nicole Ponsford takes a look at how the Digital Divide and issues surrounding screen-time can overlap.
What is the Digital Divide? Wikipedia describes it as: “an economic and social inequality according to categories of persons in a given population in their access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT).” Or you could say that the social-economic or demographic differences in access to technology is creating a gap in what skills people have and therefore what opportunities they may have in the future. What we know in schools is ‘the gap’ in attainment and progress.
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.
Modern edtech often allows hugely enjoyable ways of learning, and even fun ways of running a school. Here, teacher and ICT coordinator Poppy Gibson discusses the major possibilities presented by augmented reality to teachers.
Augmented Reality (AR) is cutting-edge technology that allows for a digitally enhanced view of the real world, uncovering hidden images, videos and texts to the user when the 'trigger' (or 'marker') image or item is scanned by a camera, adding layers of digital information directly on top of objects around us.
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.