DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: COMPUTING

The lessons that I enjoy teaching the most are the ones where the children are enjoying their learning. This enjoyment can stem from various sources, including using their interests as an impetus, but always occurs in lessons where I feel secure in my subject knowledge. This security allows me to test new ideas, to give children greater ownership of the lesson and to roll with it if / when things don’t go as planned. For me, this is most evident in my lessons that use technology.

Games trade body Ukie are this week showcasing their range of computational thinking workshops run through the Digital Schoolhouse programme at The Big Bang Fair, the UK’s largest celebration of STEM subjects, from Wednesday 16th March to Saturday 19th March. The Big Bang Fair is being held at the Birmingham NEC Arena, and The Digital Schoolhouse can be found at stand #409. The activity on the Digital Schoolhouse stand will include a full programme of inspirational speakers and interactive workshops over the four days of the Fair.

In my previous article for Innovate My School, I talked enthusiastically about the huge benefits that technology such as cloud computing can bring to schools, provided that it’s used effectively to meet real and measurable needs. From a budgetary standpoint, schools can achieve better value for money and improved functionality through tools like virtual learning environments. Innovative pedagogical models such as the flipped classroom are improving teaching and learning even from Primary age. It’s a brave new world for technology in schools, and I’m delighted to see educators reaping the benefits.

Inventive Computing teachers and gurus have been working in and with schools across the country to ensure that teachers have everything they need to deliver the subject, which was introduced into the National Curriculum in September 2014. Progression Pathways has worked with partner schools to collate a set of free-of-charge, impartial and sans-marketing Computing FAQs available online and in PDF format from: www.computingfaqs.net. In addition, online open forums will ensure that this selection of FAQs are up-to-date and relevant for school leaders and teachers alike.

The transformation of our library to a libratory began well before I accepted the position as Resource Center director six years ago. I had been fortunate enough to have taught in the building for 14 years prior taking on the position. I watched how my students interacted with technology and books in the space. I saw overstuffed and inflexible bookcases, cluttered horizontal surfaces and a space that was visually disorganised. The whole space seemed askew - I have always been good with the ‘flow’ of spaces.

Technology and innovation is at the heart of Sandymoor School, a Microsoft globally recognised Showcase School in Runcorn, Cheshire. As a teacher of Computing at Sandymoor, I have always been interested in how the use of technology can be embedded within teaching and learning to create a 21st century learning design.

The UK government has committed to investing £3.5 million in technology to support schools to adopt the new IT curriculum in 2015. While this technology investment is undoubtedly welcomed, the rapid advancement of connected classrooms and e-learning has left many teachers struggling to keep up.

I teach Computing. This means that, at least twice per day I get asked this question:

“Are we going on the computers today Sir?”

As an NQT, I was flattered by this, thinking that it displayed an enthusiasm for the subject. However I soon learned that it was, in the wise words of Admiral Ackbar, a trap.

Getting students enthused about Computing can often be a bit of a battle. I wanted them to really benefit from understanding the purpose of the subject and how it can be applied to the real world. Being an all-boys school, our students are often very competitive with one another, which made me think about incorporating an element of competition in order to motivate them and bring some excitement to the subject.

Women are still highly underrepresented in STEM subjects and technology. The 2015 statistics published by the Joint Qualifications Council have shown that girls account for just 16 per cent of those sitting the computer science GCSE, but they were also shown to perform very well, with 72 per cent of them attaining grades A* - C. Encouraging more girls into computing and technology is not just a numbers game; there is clearly a huge pool of talent and enthusiasm to be discovered from all pupils.

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