Teachers are doing a fabulous job at tackling the new curriculum and as we continue our learning journey we need to make use of communities around us who are willing to help. Programming is new to many teachers, but there are loads of people who do it all day (and then go to âcoding partiesâ at night for fun!) and we can use them to help us out!
This weekend marks âPyconâ a community-organised conference about the Python programming language. Before you all think âahhh, thatâs very scary and I wouldnât know anythingâ believe me, all you need is to be willing to learn! The Pycon organisers have a specific education track designed to support teachers with using Python in the classroom, but the really cool thing is the mix of developers and teachers – itâs like a pool of people who can tell you what youâre doing wrong or explain tricky things and make your resources to help you teach it: amazing!
New year, new kids, new iPad-related ideasâ¦
So…the new term is always interesting for me, a time to think about what I will do differently from the previous year and what will stay the same. This year I had a new element of consideration as it was my second school year with 1:1 iPads. You would think, having done it all once, I would be much more prepared for a 1:1 iPad class, but actually I was a lot more unsure!
This week marked my school staff’s first official introduction into the new Computing curriculum. I, myself, have been on a big journey since the Computing Programme of Study was first announced. When I first heard about it I was surprised and shocked, would we be able to teach this? How on earth would I be able to support my staff?Â Some of whom were still not confident delivering the old ICT curriculum! Well a year (and a bit) on and many hours spent on Twitter, reading blogposts, attending courses (and the like) I’m Â ready and raring to go. I have just completedÂ writing the curriculum including main strands or topics, learning intentions and success criteria, activity suggestions and learning outcomes. This is something that I feel truly covers the scope of understanding that is necessary in the new curriculum whilst modelling how exciting, creative and exploratory Computer Science can really be.
I made the decision recently that there was no way I could give staff as much information as they needed to teach the new curriculum from one twilight session. We made the decision to just introduce staff to the content necessary for Autumn 1 and 2, ready to teach those aspects, and I will be ready with another INSET or twilight after October half term to prepare everyone for Spring. This meant that I had 3 focuses for this twilight:
Computing not ICT is really a false title. Although there has been a name-change, if you look closely at the curriculum most of it we were already teaching. ICT hasn’t gone anywhere at all and the old ‘control’ strand links nicely with a lot of the programming and algorithms objectives! Anyway, after lots of hard work I am finally at the stage where the first draft of my school’s Computing curriculum is ready. I will share it as it currently stands although I expect, as it develops and we begin implementing it, it will change.
The ‘Teaching Blocks’ document shows you roughly how I am organising the coverage of the objectives.
Following my time at Picademy, I decided to set up a local Raspberry Pi Networking group to try and connect with other schools that are using Raspberry Pis. Not only this, I wanted to show other schools what could be done on Raspberry Pis and how they could play an important role in the implementation of the new Computing curriculum. Iâve since decided that MK:Pi (with a little help from @Denbigh_TSA) is a better name for the group as the former is a bit of a mouthful!
I sent out some emails and advertised it in a local teaching news email and hoped that someone would come! Luckily, they did! A mixture of KS2 and KS3 teachers attended and I had my 5 Pis set up with some activities and two lovely Digital Leaders who stayed behind to show off what theyâd been doing on the Pis.
If you have not read my first and second posts on this subject: Raspberry Pi in the Classroom â Step 1: I have a Pi but I havenât plugged it in and Iâm not sure where to startâ¦ and Raspberry Pi in the Classroom – Step 2: Now, should I plug the Pi in? How will I know what to do? then you might want to start there.
If you have not already decided, you need to think about the reason you are using a Raspberry Pi for your lesson as opposed to another device.
If you have not read my first post on this subject: Raspberry Pi in the Classroom â Step 1: I have a Pi but I havenât plugged it in and Iâm not sure where to startâ¦ then you might want to start there.
If you have never connected a Raspberry Pi and turned it on then it will look different from other computers you have used. When initially being connected to power (as there is no âbuttonâ for on and off) it will load as a screen of scrolling text (command line) and then ask for a username and password. I am not going to write a tutorial here for how to log on to your pi and do certain things, but there are already plenty of blog posts around that do that and the Raspberry Pi foundation website is extremely useful for getting started.
This weekend I stumbled across a Guardian debate about whether or not teachers should be called by their first name. You can see the original article here. The article begins with a story of a teacher, whom had previously been referred to as ‘Professor’ due to her level of expertise, experiencing a pupil’s unavoidable habit of referring to all females as ‘Miss’.
Coates says: “It’s a depressing example of how women are given low status and men, no matter how young or new in the job they are, are given high status…Miss is ridiculous: it doesn’t match Sir at all. It’s just one of the names you can call an unmarried woman.”