Exploring computing

October 23, 2014 | 1 Comment

The third session of ICT has come quickly come around, it’s amazing how quickly 3rd year is going already. In today’s session we were able to look at the new National Curriculum, where ICT is now known as Computing. This shift in the curriculum allows for the development of children, and for them to be able to learn about programming as well as software and basic computer skills. The National Curriculum aims for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are;

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
  • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

After reading the curriculum prior to the session I felt overwhelmed, by the terminology and how much more children are now expected to learn (especially after reading the aims). It also concerned me that on a personal basis I do not feel confident with the Computing terminology, as well as being able to carry out the process of ‘programming’ or know what an ‘algorithm’ is. However within the session we were able to unpick the curriculum and learn the definitions of the terminology that the children are now expected to learn. It became apparent that children are using different ‘algorithms’ within their everyday learning. After going through the the curriculum with Helen within the session I now feel slightly more confident in being able to teach this to children.

The video below ‘program your teacher’ shows computing as a simple unplugged activity which can be used within the classroom;

After learning about the curriculum we were able to experiment with different apps that have been created for use with it.

Daisy the dinosaur- app, easy and simple to use, children will be able to use it independently, gets them started with the idea of programming, children need to be able to read to use the commands, colourful, engaging, uses computing terms

5898904a43820ebbcc5746a1c89565fascratch junior- children will need support to start with on how to use the app and what the different functions of each button are. Alternatively you could allow children to use app independently to develop these skills and learn through experience. The app was good for children who can not read as this is not needed to carry out any of the tasks. It allows children to be creative, and to learn the basics of programming. Within the app the children can chooses their own character and picture which they have to programme, and can even make their own background which links with being creative. The app works well for using with young children, engaging them in their learning as well as developing their knowledge and understanding. The app has a sister website simply known as Scratch, which is suited to older children as it delves into the complex areas of programming.

The app Cato’s Hike. This used simple instructions which are given to allow children to learn how to use the app, as well as the art of simple programing. Children need to be able to read to use this app, which can be seen as a floor if trying to use it within the EYFS or for the low level readers in KS1. The app was colouful and engaging for children to use. After carrying out the instruction phase where children get to know the app they are able to create their own map to navigate around.

screen568x568I was also able to explore the use of Bee Bot as both plugged and unplugged activities. Bee Bots can be used physically and the children can program them to carry out different tasks. They can also be used as an app on the Ipad. Both use the idea of a basic ‘algorithm’ where children are asking the Bee Bot to carry out a simple task. The video is a good way of showing how Bee Bots can be used to carry out a simple algorithm which can be repeated.



The Barefoot website provides different adaptable activities for children to understand an algorithm through unplugged activities. I was able to look at the sharing sweets activity which is aimed at KS1. It is an unplugged activity which

Barefoot-logo develops children’s knowledge of what an algorithm is. It also provides links to maths e.g. sharing and halving. The guidance provides a definition of an algorithm as; An algorithm is a precisely defined sequence of instructions or a set of rules, for performing a specific task. The activity allows children to consolidate their learning of sharing as it asks them to explain it as if they were teaching a reception child. The guidance gives the example for the teacher to share with the children showing that an algorithm is a simple set of instructions, or a recipe, by giving a simple but clear example;

  • draw two children, a pile of sweets and then write
  • 1. Snatch as many as you can
  • 2. Run away
  • 3. Hide
  • 4. Eat them.

The aim of the activity is for children to work in small groups to make up their own algorithm, which incorporates the idea of sharing, it highlights that most children will adopt to use the ‘one for me, one for you’ approach. Children can represent their algorithms using words or symbols.  This activity and the many others that are provided offer many opportunities for children to talk to each other, to discuss the activity, to consolidate their learning and to be able to express their own ideas and view points. The guidance for the teacher also gives teachers examples of how the activity can be differentiated, as well offering some guidance in how to assess, with regards to understanding what an algorithm is.


1 Comment so far

  1.    Emily on November 5, 2014 5:21 pm      Reply

    The Barefoot teaching lesson you explored seems really good, I think children would respond well to it. It would perhaps be especially relevant to the early years who can often struggle with sharing at this young age. I also felt overwhelmed by the terminology at the beginning of the session but exploring them really did help. This just supports that by exploring we can learn more.

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