We are working hard on developing our Computing curriculum at Titchfield Primary School this year. We have been fortunate to receive support from Phil Bagge (Hampshire Inspection & Advisory Service). This is to ensure we can develop our computing curriculum to a high standard and to make sure staff receive up to date training to enable us to effectively deliver high quality computing teaching. With technology playing such a significant role in society today, we believe ‘Computational Thinking’ (problem solving, analysing and evaluating) is an essential skill children must be taught if they are to be able to participate effectively and safely in our digital world.
“A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.
Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.” (National Curriculum, 2013)
There are three key areas to the Computing curriculum:
• Information technology (IT)
• Computer Science (CS)
• Digital Literacy (DL)
The core of computing is Computer Science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computing, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. We have been using a programme called Scratch to implement the programming aspects of the Computing Curriculum in KS2. The children have been fully engaged in the Scratch projects we have taught so far and they have enjoyed exploring the concept of coding to create their own characters and exciting projects.
An integral part of computing is using the children’s ability to develop digital content in a creative way. Learning using digital devices can be recorded in many ways including: printed screenshots of creations, saved programs, PowerPoints, word documents, written work, photographs and video recordings. The ‘process’ undertaken to arrive at the finished product or program is as important as the finished product itself. This area of the computing curriculum perfectly lends itself to our integrated curriculum at Titchfield Primary School. Children can apply the specific computing skills they have been taught to present learning relating to their current curriculum project. Examples of this include Year 1 children using digital cameras to take photos of our school environment to use in their booklets about our school. In Year 5 children are currently learning about Florida and will be using presentation programs such as PowerPoint to share the outcomes of their learning in an engaging way.
Another important aspect of the computing curriculum at Titchfield Primary School is learning how to use technology safely. British Values are taught through Computing by promoting tolerance, cultural diversity and in turn mutual respect. We link this to pupils’ behaviour online and how mutual respect and tolerance is applicable to the online world as well as in society. Respect is key to ensure that our children know that their actions online can affect the feelings of others. Responsibility and accountability of our children to develop the enthusiasm to become safe users and programmers of information and communication technology for positive purposes. In February this year we will mark Safer Internet Day, which this year will be explored under the theme 'An Internet We Trust: Exploring Reliability in the Online World'. We will hold a ‘Safer Internet’ assembly and the children will develop their understanding of this through age appropriate activities in class. KS1 children will be shown videos featuring fun characters such as Smartie the Penguin to help them develop an understanding of the online world and ensuring we can all use technology in a safe and respectful way. The biggest impact we want for our children is that they understand the consequences of using the Internet and for them to be aware of how to keep themselves safe online.