Introducing The OLWT Primary Computing Scheme of Work 2014

Can you recommend a Scheme of Work for Computing?

During my many visits to schools one question that keeps coming up is “Can you recommend a Scheme of Work for Computing?”  To which I have had to answer “No!”.

There are several available commercially with price tags up to £600 but, unfortunately, I have yet to get a close-enough look to any completed scheme to say, hand-on-heart, that I could recommend it!

So, prompted by the badgering’s of a few teachers, I decided to have a crack at creating a Scheme myself and so The OLWT Primary Computing Scheme of Work 2014 was born!

I have started with a simple Scheme of Work overview.  It has been built from the ground-up based on the new Computing Curriculum published in September 2013.  The overview takes each of the areas of the Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum and breaks down the A4 side of ‘Subject Content’ bullets into simpler objectives which are identified using an alpha-numeric code.

POS1 POS2 POS3POS1

These codes are then used in a curriculum overview organised by school years which identifies curriculum ideas you could teach, mapped to suggested hardware or software options that could be used to meet the objectives.  This overview should be enough for the teacher who feels they have ideas of what to do, but not necessarily how to organise things.  It sets up progression in Computing and is packed with ideas which have been tested with children.

POS2

The overview also suggests assessment opportunities which can be recorded using traffic lights on a record sheet included with the overview.

This overview is almost ready for release and will be offered for sale to schools as a printable PDF file for just £60 LAUNCH PRICE for February of just £50

Schools which purchase the overview will also be entitled to discounted CPD training, should they wish to book any, to support teachers with teaching the new Computing Curriculum.  If you are interested in purchasing The OLWT Primary Computing Scheme of Work 2014 Overview and assessment pack please email nick@olwt.co.uk from an official School email address and I will email you the file as soon as it is complete with an invoice for the reduced price of just £50

I am currently working on a series of modules which match the ideas used in the overview.  These modules will take the class teacher through each activity step-by-step with associated resources and web links to support teaching and learning too.

POS3

These will be available as separate modules for £40 per module as printable PDF files.  Once all of the modules are complete there will be a special package price and schools buying individual modules to start with will be able to convert to the package price once all modules are released.

I also plan to update modules as the need arises.  Updates will be emailed out for free to schools who have purchased them.

Modules currently in production include “Introducing Bee-Bots”,  “Using Bee-Bots across the Curriculum”, “Getting Started with Roamer Too”, “Introducing Scratch”, “Using Scratch with Pico Boards” and “Using Scratch with LEGO Wedo”.

Future modules will include databases, spreadsheets and specific creative iPad Apps amongst others.

If you would like to know more please email nick@olwt.co.uk

Spring Term 2014 Newsletter is out now!

The next newsletter from OLWT has just been emailed out.  It’s quite a large attachment so you might have issues obtaining it.

You can download it for free as a PDF file from http://newsletters.olwt.co.uk/

This newsletter includes:

  • Bett 2014 Highlights
  • E-Safety reminder about Safer Internet Day
  • Introducing the NEW OLWT Primary Programme of Study for Primary Computing
BuzzingEd Podcast

BuzzingEd Podcast launches

Nick from OLWT has a new venture…

BuzzingEd Podcast

BuzzingEd Podcast

Nick has revived the old BuzzingEd name (used for our previous Blog) and has reinvented it as a new Ed-Tech Podcast.  The podcast will really launch officially following the Bett show where he intends to showcase new tech and ideas seen at the Bett show using audio captured during the show!

Presently there is a brief Bett preview podcast containing tips and information available at buzzinged.org.uk

Why not take a look at subscribe to the RSS feed there?

Preparing for Bett 2014?

If you are looking for last minute tips before visiting Bett this year then please pop over to our BuzzingEd Podcast at buzzinged.org.uk  here you will find a newly-posted seven-minute preview podcast introducing Bett  2014 all created on the modest iPad!   The podcast episode features news, tips and links to further FREE resources and information.  If you have a few minutes to spare please visit buzzinged to take a listen!  From next week BuzzingEd will feature episodes focussing on some of the new technologies and ideas exhibited and discussed at Bett!

Bett 2014

Bett is nearly upon us.  If you have not yet registered you can do so for free at http://bettshow.com where you can also find out more about Bett.

Bett is celebrating it’s 30th year this year and has just announced that The Rt Hon Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, will officially open Bett 2014 on Wednesday 22 January 2014, with a presentation in the Bett Arena at 11am!    I won’t pass comment on whether that is something to celebrate and will encourage visitors or the opposite!

Terry Freedman (someone I have personally followed on Twitter and his blog/newsletters for sometime) has just published his updated 2014 guide to Bett – an invaluable guide for all potential visitors.  You can download your FREE copy from Terry’s site ICT In Education HERE and Terry is also running an online survey to guage Bett visitor’s reactions once you have visited Bett.

Once more Bett have published their FREE Android and iOS app which is a great guide especially useful for keeping an eye on speaker sessions.  I would highly recommend downloading it and using it to help plan your visit.

My advice would be to try and identify some speaker sessions to visit.  It helps break up your day and gives you a chance to sit down (so long as you arrive in time to bag a seat!).   I would also recommend perusing the list of exhibitors ahead of time to ensure you don’t miss anyone.  It will also help prevent you wandering blindly about wasting time!

As usual there are loads of refreshments available and last year my feelings were that these were cheaper and more plentiful (therefore with shorter queues) and offering a wider range of refreshments BUT as you are a captive audience bring plenty of money!

Enjoy Bett – maybe I’ll see you there!

Nick

December Newsletter published

We have just published the December (now re-titled Winter) electronic newsletter.  It is available as a PDF file and includes articles on the New Primary Computing Curriculum (including suggestions for progression) and also articles on the Oxfordshire CAS Hub’s next meeting, Safer Internet Day (11th Feb 2014) and also on the New Roamer…

To find out more visit the Newsletter Page

Long and winding road…

Subscribe

The last couple of months have been packed and mad for both Tracy and I.  This blog post is more of a personal post from Nick rather than educational one so I will make that apology straight away so you can skip the rest of it if you are not interested!

I  have been rushed off my feet working with schools.  I have been so busy that our promise to keep the Newsletter going has been neglected and has required something of a rethink…  My NEW intension is to try and publish at least three Newsletters a year.   As I am still reading and discovering tonnes of interesting nuggets that would make excellent newsletter articles, but I don’t seem to find time to put these ideas down in a newsletter at present, I will try and BLOG here FAR more often too.  With this in mind I would like to ask each of you readers to sign up with this blog so that you get updated with an email every time we post instead.  There is a sign-up form at the top of this post or you can use the one to the right of the page too.

For those of you who are interested in what we’ve been up to, speaking personally,  I have spent the last couple of months working part-time for 123ICT whilst also maintaining some independence, working for myself a day a week.  During my independent day I have worked with many Oxfordshire Primary Schools looking at the New Computing Curriculum and advising them the best ways to prepare for this.  I have run staff workshops on Scratch and also using devices such as BeeBots.  I have also delivered E-Safety training in a few schools for staff, including a girls academy in London.   I have also delivered parental awareness E-Safety training and Pupil assemblies too.  On top of all of this I have also been developing some NEW E-Safety materials (which I am not really allowed to talk about still!) linked very closely to a number of films which are due out in the new year…

I will finish this blog post by wishing all of our readers a Merry (and restful) Christmas and a Happy New Year and I hope that my New-Year’s resolution to try and blog these nuggets will be one that I can keep!

Thanks for your support and for reading my ramblings,

Nick

Recognition for OLWT Team

Both Nick and Tracy have been involved in helping Naace develop curriculum support materials.  They have also been involved in the creation of a new standards matrix for Curriculum providers (schools and companies) to use to assess their new Computing Curriculum.

Following that work we are pleased to be able to announce that both Nick and Tracy have been awarded the title of ‘Naace Lead for Curriculum Development’, lovely recognition of the time and effort they given to the projects.

Thank you Naace to for the nod of recognition…

Teaching Primary Computing (Part 2)

This is the second of a two-part article looking at how Primary Schools might embrace the new Primary Computing POS.

Key Stage 2

1. Pupil’s should be taught to design and write programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts

Straight in at the deep end here. Computer Science (programming) straight off, which is illustrative of the altered emphasis of the new curriculum. Programming (most common choice of software will be Scratch as it is free) is the main focus of the new curriculum. Pupils need to design programs to achieve a specific goal. Whether that is to control lights from a sensor, or to create a healthy-eating game, there must be design and purpose. Pupils then need to WRITE their program. The POS is not too prescriptive about this at KS2 and so a text language is not stipulated here. Scratch uses blocks to create programs rather like building LEGO blocks and the new online version even lets you create simple routines (your own blocks) which can be built up into more complex programs.

Pupils need a clear idea of what they are trying to achieve in programs and break that down into sections (decomposing) helps make it much easier to tackle. For example if the purpose was making a healthy eating game the first stage might be to write the program that controls the player ‘sprite’ to make it move around the screen. The next most logical part is to create something that the player must collect (in our example healthy food). The next part might be to animate some bad ‘sprites’ to chase the player (in our example the chocolate bar maybe). The next part might be to introduce variables and to create a scoring routine which adds to the score when the player successfully collects healthy food but which subtracts from the score if the player comes in to contact with the unhealthy food. The last phases might be to introduce some kind of start screen, timer and score chart…

In this example the program is something that will need to be developed over many hours and will also include the creation of the backgrounds and the ‘sprites’ (characters in the game) involving graphic work as well as actual programming.

This is obviously NOT the sort of starter activity for a pupil who is new to scratch or programming, but is what we are working towards…

As to the physical systems, another advantage of scratch is the way it interfaces with the pico board (http://proto-pic.co.uk/picoboard/ a very cheap sensor board) and also with the LEGO WeDo too.

There are obviously far more options here too. You could have a new ‘Primary’ or ‘Junior’ Roamer and be using that to program more complex tasks such as delivering the class register or using LEGO WeDo software directly or even the LEGO NXT.

If your school still has them then Flowol and FloGo are both still excellent flowchart-based logical programming languages which also meet these objectives.

2. Pupils use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output; generate appropriate inputs and predicted outputs to test programs

The choice of programming language used starts to become slightly more restrictive as you move into this second bullet. The POS uses specific language deliberately to keep the document concise. Sequence is obvious, as all programs have to be created as sequences to operate correctly.

Selection means that the program makes a choice. This is often done in Scratch and Kodu with an IF statement. IF this is true then do that, otherwise do the other. The program makes a choice depending on conditions of a variable or an input.

Repetition is often encountered in the most basic of programs. Harking back to Flowol days, one of the simplest programs to create was the one that makes the lighthouse flash — a repeat forever loop (repetition). Even in the simplest Logo you can repeat 4 lots of forward and left to make a square…

Variables means that the choice of programming language needs to be more carefully chosen. In our Scratch example above the introduction of a score involved creating and using a variable. You assign a value to a letter and increase or decrease (vary) it depending on certain outcomes.

Inputs can be from the keyboard as in pressing the arrow keys to make the character move, or can involve sensing noise or light via a sensor such as the Pico Board.

Outputs can be in the form of an action on the screen or more physically in the controlling of a light or motor or noise (for example via WeDo or LEGO NXT/ EV3)

It is vital that the pupil has an understanding of exactly what the program should do to help modify it and edit it to create a successful outcome.

3. Pupils use logical reasoning to explain how a simple algorithm works and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs

The POS is very explicit that it expects pupils to problem solve and to edit and improve their programs rather than just move onto the next programming challenge. There is an art and a satisfaction in being able to improve your code to make it more efficient and more ‘beautiful’ which many coders find very addictive.

4. Pupils understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world-wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration

The POS suggests that KS2 pupils should have a fundamental knowledge of the internet and not just think of it as ‘magic’. I know of schools where the teacher will ask the technician to take the class on a ‘field trip’ around the school tracing the network from the PC or laptop back to the point where the internet enters the building. Explaining how the school server stores files and information and controls things such as printing all via the network.

You also need to teach them that the internet is just a very large network of computers of which your PC or laptop is just one. It spans the world and includes some VERY large computer data centres such as Google’s and Microsoft’s as well as granny’s computer and Mum’s smart phone too.

There needs to be an awareness that the internet is FAR more than the world wide web, it delivers phone calls, VoIP (Skype for example), email, instant messages, file transfer and far more as well as web pages.

These aspects of the internet should be things which the pupils become more involved in using for collaborative purposes, working together online on documents using MS Office 365 or Google Docs or on sites such as Padlet (http://padlet.com/) or using services such as Skype to collaborate with other schools or authors or scientists.

5. Pupils describe how internet search engines find and store data; use search engines effectively; be discerning in evaluating digital content; respect individuals and intellectual property; use technology responsibly, securely and safely (there is opinion that this aspect of the new POS might be modified before the final version is published…)

The skills of being able to interrogate the online search database and get back just the information you wanted is a real life skill. Getting reliable and accurate information on exactly what you wanted saves time and makes you more efficient. Conversely companies like Google (and to some extent Apple with Siri) are just reverse engineering this by introducing conversational voice search. You can now use a Chrome browser and click a button and speak a question sentence into the browser and the complex programs at Google will firstly turn your voice into text and then try and interpret that using previous search information and contexts such as where you are now and what sorts of things you are interested in etc.

There is a lot you can do with pupils looking at what makes for a reliable website, names you can trust etc.

Also squashed into this bullet point are digital rights. Pupils need to be educated that everything has a creator. If someone stole your graphics picture you were proud of and had displayed on the school website and they were passing it off as their own work wouldn’t you feel aggrieved? All content has an owner and they have rights. In some cases they will defend these rights using legal might and financial fines. Pupils should be expected to respect these

rights and to be aware of the Creative Commons approach to licencing work so that others can use it (http://creativecommons.org/) and be expected to use creative commons searches (http:// search.creativecommons.org/) to find resources, such as images, to use in presentations etc.

This bullet point also includes the e-safety aspects which should be taught in KS2, building on those taught in KS1. The Think-U-Know (http://thinkuknow.co.uk/) resources are a good starting point with the Cyber Café being a great way to get KS2 pupils thinking about the various e -safety issues.

6. Pupils select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information.

This final bullet point in the Computing POS for KS2 is the ‘catch-all’ one. It basically covers all of the ICT you used to do, but with a bias towards DATA. You can still present information, create graphics, word process and make music BUT you also still need to handle data in spread sheets and databases too…

The new POS has little to say about Assessment…

Attainment targets—By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

Basically you need to record what you do with respect to the POS, how they manage the various aspects and pass this on with the child. You need to show what they have been taught and experienced and record what they can do and show you have covered everything the POS demands…

 

(This is the second of a two-part article originally published in our monthly newsletter in July 2013)

Considering deploying iPads?

One of the most common things which we hear is “we bought some iPads but now we really don’t know what to do with them…”

iPads are VERY easy to use and that lulls some schools into a false sense of security believing that anyone can pick them up and use them.  This is TOTALLY correct, but unfortunately not everyone can pick them up and TEACH with them!  If you have a relationship with a good Apple reseller they will invite you to attend FREE events (such as the one that Apple Education UK put on this week in Oxfordshire) where you will get to see apps in use with brilliant ideas of how to employ them in your classroom.  These ideas are presented by experts such as the Apple ADE’s (Apple Distinguished Educators) who have tried their ideas and honed their skills and not just picked up the devices!

To use iPads successfully you need to ensure you have a VERY robust wifi system.  You need to plan well ahead.  Installing apps takes time.  Get a group of teachers (and pupils) together to look at some apps before rolling them out to all staff.  Start with a CORE of essential apps (see the list above) then build your selection as you go.  Keep on the right side of Apple licencing.  Each device (if shared devices) needs its own Apple ID creating and apps need to be bought for EACH device.  An Apple Education reseller can support you or your technicians with this and advise about products such as the Apple Configurator and Apple Volume Purchase Plans.

Once you have the hardware and apps sorted you NEED to train staff.

iPads can be used by anyone BUT staff need to be correctly trained