The name change from ICT to Computing is a simple expression of the curriculum developments but there is nothing simple about the classroom level strategies required to change the pupils' experience from simply ‘using computers’ to ‘understanding how they work’.article is no blueprint to success but it does describe a strategy for primary phase ICT coordinators to ensure that their teachers move forward with the agenda to introduce computer science to all pupils.
The first in the strategy is, "do not stop doing ICT!" That is, enabling the pupils to be both productive and creative through using the computer – those activities continue to be part of the curriculum. Do not stop using ICT to support other subjects such as sensing devices in science, the weather station, digital devices in PE and using the learning platforms to deliver teaching and learning materials – this sort of use is now coined "technology enhanced learning".
Secondly, at this stage, "do not say to your teachers that this is new or difficult" – it need not be new or difficult. The National Curriculum for Computing (2014) through its Aims and Subject content provides a rationale for doing many of the activities already embedded in the ICT classroom practice of colleagues. The sidebars in this Primary Focus contain quotes from the National Curriculum for Computing and their exemplification. However, there is a big difference in outcomes – not only are the pupils expected to "do" but they are expected to "understand". With that understanding, the teaching comes with a new set of vocabulary associated with computational thinking; words that will become as familiar as onomatopoeia and phonemes are: algorithm, abstraction, debugging, logical reasoning, decomposing, variables…
The starting point for ICT coordinators could be:
- examine the current long, medium and short term plans and identify activities that can be called computer science, for example, programming a toy to carry out a task;
- re-label those activities on the curriculum computing (CS) - the other computer activities are likely to be Computing (IT);
- identify any gaps in provision by checking the NC document;
- identify any expertise in the school to teach programming. Programming is an effective way of teaching computational thinking;
- ensure that all teachers are familiar with the words of computer science through a short CPD session;
- start introducing activities from CS Unplugged and cs4fn. These do not require pupils to use a computer to complete, they are easily integrated practical classroom activities.
Developing an after-school club can
be the starting point for creating a team of expert pupils who can support the
whole class in programming activities. If you are initiating a programming
activity in your school, the natural starting point is an environment like
Scratch. A really good starting point is http://code-it.co.uk/scratch/scratchplan.html.
Teachers work best in collaboration
and it is strongly recommended that you join CAS and interact with the CAS
forum. Join the Primary forum and don’t be reticent about seeking help.
Remember, by seeking help others are also helped.