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03 July 2024

Creative KS3 Computing with a micro:bit - CAS Physical Computing TC meeting

Marta Bronowicka profile image
Written by

Marta Bronowicka | Community Specialist

Key Summary Points:

  • Physical computing projects can deeply engage students by linking coding to tangible outcomes.
  • Effective classroom management is essential when working with physical computing devices.
  • Differentiation strategies are necessary to cater to students' varied paces and abilities.
  • The importance of integrating pedagogical aims with hands-on projects.
  • Using simulators can mitigate logistical challenges in physical computing lessons.

The meeting, led by Pete Dring, was a deep dive into the pedagogical strategies and practicalities of integrating physical computing into the curriculum. The discussion was both thought-provoking and practical, offering a blend of project ideas and classroom management techniques that are crucial for any teacher aiming to bring this exciting field to life for their students.

Pete's approach underscored the significance of connecting coding projects with meaningful outcomes. For example, we could challenge students to develop a device that supports elderly people, thereby linking their learning to societal benefits. This shift from project completion to purpose-driven learning can significantly enhance student engagement and motivation.

Another critical point discussed was classroom management during physical computing lessons. The logistics of distributing and managing devices can be daunting. Pete suggested using simulators for initial coding exercises to minimize disruption and ensure that all students can participate, regardless of the availability of physical devices. This strategy not only simplifies classroom management but also ensures that students are well-prepared before they start working with the actual hardware.

Differentiation emerged as another theme. In any classroom, students' abilities can vary widely. Some may grasp concepts quickly and race ahead, while others may need more time and support. Pete shared practical tips on how to manage this, such as using peer support and varying the complexity of tasks to match students' abilities.

The session was a reminder of the transformative potential of physical computing in education. By carefully integrating pedagogical goals with practical projects, we can inspire students to think creatively and solve problems that matter to them and their communities. The emphasis on the "why" behind each project can turn a simple coding exercise into a powerful learning experience.


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