02 September 2021
Teaching GCSE Computing is fun…. right?
This month I was in a discussion with other Computer Science teachers from all walks of teaching Primary/Secondary/FE and training centres. The topic was “Are our Computing lessons fun?” “Could we be better at this? How can we improve?”
This was also backed up by one of my year 9 students also asking in the same week, are we doing anything fun this lesson? I replied, we are using state of the art technology is that not fun? Luckily for him that lesson was all about encryption and he got to create his Caesar cipher wheel.
What is the definition of fun in Computer Science?
To a certain degree I believe fun is easily incorporated into Computer Science, we have unplugged resources from Computer Science for Fun - cs4fn: HOME, we have lessons that use technology. I have my students participate in webinars, conferences, pre recorded talks about the digital world they are living in. When I asked the year 9 student did you find this fun, the response was yes but he said it was not every lesson. Now I love a challenge and thought how can I do this without spending my budget as well.
This is what I included more frequently, than once in blue moon or if I remembered:
- Kahoot or Quizzizz for a starter activity, pre-made gameboards if you will on the subject
- Craig and Dave video based on the topic of the next lesson flipped learning, so they could get excited about the practical they had because they learnt the foundations at home in their own environment
- Find the answer, I place QR codes around the room (tip: laminate them so they can be reused each year). The students have a list of questions they have to find the correct answer by using the tablets we have or using their own mobile phone. Mobile phones are banned from being used in school, but are allowed if used in a teaching and learning activity like this one (please refer to your school’s own guidance). It gets them out of their seat, finding information for themselves.
- Film reference to be incorporated into the lesson extra kudos if it is a real-life story too, I think this is what the cool kids say is “extra”. I then link the film if it is free on the Intoflim club website (you will need to subscribe for free), Netflix, Amazon Prime most students have subscriptions already, so they can watch in their own time if they wish. If they do, they are then rewarded using the rewards system we have at school, but they must provide feedback on a postcard so I can then display this on my film wall. Example Encryption and the Imitation Game. To help you get started take a look at Alan’s monthly film club (42) Introducing #exaflicks - the monthly film club from @exafoundation - YouTube
What examples can you share from your own practice?
Some other ideas around Creativity in education are in the Durham report. Have you read the Durham report? Here is a link DurhamCommissionsecondreport-21April.pdf