I’m sure you all know by now that the National Curriculum for ICT has changed – it’s changed so much that it’s now become Computing and Digital Literacy. There have been loads of exciting sounding courses for “demystifying” the computing curriculum, but half the time they leave you with more questions than when you started. So here’s my goal:
To present information and resources for the new curriculum in a way that makes sense….to anyone…regardless of their personal technical ability. To write up diary-style blogs about real people, really trying out resources and explain how they might be used. To make the new curriculum genuinely accessible to everyone and not just a few people who are uber enthusiastic or have a background in coding.
The first few pages will be write ups of things that I have already tried and tested in my own classroom and then, over the summer, I’m going to sit down and start trying things out for myself and let you know what I’ve found works and how I would imagine it being used in the classroom. I’m hoping to get some of my teaching-friends to contribute their own pages too and we can build a useful bank of resources that anyone can access.
So, before I start, let’s go into a bit of background about me, my personal ethos and why I want to do this.
Recently I was sent the following article over twitter:
It really hit a nerve with me because it’s all true! Thousands, if not millions of people consider themselves to be confident and competent computer users when, in reality, they are computer consumers – they know how to use and navigate their computer as long as things work as expected, the second things go wrong they give up in frustration. Children, in particular, seem to be permanently connected to the digital world and yet, if the wifi went down they just wouldn’t know what to do (even if it were something as simple as resetting the wifi on their personal device). The digital world has become too easy for people to access and so they’ve stopped understanding, or caring about how it works.
I recently spoke to a parent after school because her child couldn’t access Mathletics at home – it turned out that they needed to update their FlashPlayer. The mother was ever so apologetic, but she just didn’t know what to do about “all those pop up thingys that want me to update things”; she went on to explain that she would happily pay someone to come into her home to update the software. To me, this is borderline terrifying – it takes about 5 minutes to update software and requires absolutely no technical knowledge whatsoever. Not only that, but she has a 12 year old son of the Minecraft generation, who spends hours online and must surely have picked up the simple knowledge of how to update an application!
So, this big push towards computing in schools now has a much more important meaning as far as I’m concerned – it’s not just about teaching children to code, but making sure they read pop up windows and try to understand what they’re asking, they understand the importance of protecting against viruses, they understand the difference between hacking and being a server admin and that they know what the Internet is, what wifi actually is (apparently wifi is some magical tool for accessing Facebook, according to most of the 10 year olds I teach) and that they aren’t afraid to find out what to do when something goes wrong.
As for me, I’m a primary school teacher, teaching in an Independent School in South West London. I specialise in teaching Maths and ICT in a fun and entertaining way and admit to being a bit of a geek, however, until 12 months ago, I had absolutely no knowledge of any coding languages except a teeny tiny bit of HTML I learnt as a teenager. I’ve always been a bit of a tinkerer and willing to give things a go so I figured I’d share what I learnt with the wider world.
A final note: the reason I’m doing this now is that I’ve just come back from a free two day CPD course hosted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation and their work has inspired me to be more proactive. I experienced the best two days of training I could possibly imagine, surrounded by a group of wonderful teachers and an amazing team at Raspberry Pi. I feel like if I can contribute even a fraction of the ideas and enthusiasm I picked up for the education team at Picademy then I will have earned my place. They are a truly inspiring group of people and, if you get the opportunity, make sure you apply for their next Picademy, whenever that may be.