Computing in the New National Curriculum.


Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, National Curriculum | Posted on October 13, 2014

In todays ICT lecture we have been taking a look at some simple programs that can be used to introduce computing and coding to Reception children and Key Stage 1 children. The idea of computing being introduced into the curriculum was previously quite scary as I wasn’t really sure exactly what this is involved. Also some of the language associated with computing is quite scary, but when you look at the definitions it becomes a lot less daunting. The word Algorithm filled me with horror when I saw it in the new National Curriculum, but when you see it defined as a step by step set of instructions to solve a problem it suddenly seems so much friendlier.

I chose to take a look at the 2code program on Purple Mash. This offered lots of options for writing simple codes using simple game style challenges. I chose to look at the snail race. I thought this would be an idea that would appeal to many young children and it is something that you could link to other areas of the curriculum for example Science or Understanding of the World. The program itself was very bright and colourful and I thought it was visually appealing. The program itself was fairly easy to use once you understood the principles, but I can see how younger children would need the task explaining to them. This is  maybe something that could be done as a group or whole class activity to introduce the program and to explain the instructions. There were many other coding activities on Purple  Mash that could be used to introduce children to basic computing skills, and these could link to many other areas of the curriculum and also to unplugged learning.

Computing in the new Curriculum can be as simple as moving a sprite or character around a screen using a set of instructions. Children can write algorithms to move the. Bars gets around the screen often to complete a challenge such as collecting items or following a prescribed path. Good apps for introducing this type of coding from the Foundation stage include Move the Turtle or Daisy the Dinosaur. Both these apps are bright and colourful and would appeal visually to children. They are both quite used friendly and simple to use the functions. Daisy the Di issue however is only a small app and only has 5 challenges to complete and this may not stretch some children’s learning very far. Daisy also requires some reading to be able to programme the dinosaur to move, so this app may require a bit more explanation or support from the adult.


After today’s session I definately feel more confident in teaching computing in Key Stage 1.  I am going to further my knowledge by taking a look at the BBC Bitesize we page about computing to get some further ideas on how to introduce he subject and for some activities I can use whilst teaching.

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