‘‘There is an argument that the ‘R’ of pRogramming needs to be a fourth ‘R’ alongside Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic as a basic foundation of 21st-century education’
Therefore the need for children to be exposed to and for programming to be incorporated into the curriculum is vital. With Michael Gove ‘scrapping’ the existing ICT curriculum, it has left space for a richer curriculum to be developed by schools, which includes that of teaching children skills they will need for life, that of programming and computer science Eric Schmidt.
As a result of this, a whole host of programming applications have been developed and are available to be developed to assist and develop children’s learning.
Many of these applications are available on tablets which are seen to be an important tool for learning, however, with the use of tablets becoming ever more, there are still many debates over the accessibility in terms of price.
‘Scratch’ is a coding program available both on an IPad and the internet, which allows children to create interactive stories, games, music and art along with many other applications by themselves and in turn share them on the internet. This resource does not only promote coding skills, but mathematical and creative skills.
During the ICT session we explored a few apps which are suitable for children in the Early Years. These were all accessed using an IPad.
This app is very user friendly and allows for experimentation. Due to the ease of using the app, children do not need to read or follow instructions before beginning the game. This app could be made real life with children directing other children in the same form as on the app.
The second app reviewed from the session was Tinkerbox
I found this app to be quite frustrating ; this was because instructions had to be undertaken in order to grasp the game and it did not allow for the same amount of exploration as Dizzy. I also felt this app was very male orientated, so could be used to help hook boys if they are struggling to engage with the session but may not appeal to girls in the same way.
In school practice I have seen initial ‘coding’ taking place through the means of BeeBots. Here children have been given or create their own directions which are then put into the BeeBot . I found children grasped this really well and it was a successful activity. Using BeeBots, not only develops children’s coding skills but also is cross curricular in developing skills of direction.
As well as apps, we looked at a computer program 2DIY and the coding activities they offer. Below are several examples of work I created to develop different coding skills. This program was easy to use and accessible.
For more able there are activities such as ‘catching’ games and ‘quizzes’. I created was a ‘catching’ game which would enable children to work together to create an activity that is cross curricular and uses several coding skills.
I feel coding is a vital tool for children to use at a young age, because as they grow up and develop they will have more skills to apply to their learning and have different ways to show their knowledge and understanding.