Great Websites for Teaching Digital Skills

Great Websites for Teaching Digital Skills

The following list is not exhaustive, and I will endeavour to keep it up to date.  If you think a website that is not already on this list should be here, please tweet me a link and a few sentences about how it has benefitted you / your learners.

Coding

Teaching coding is something that many staff do not feel confident doing, and yet it doesn’t have to be tricky.  I will be posting a blog entry about simple ways to teach coding.  There are so many great websites out there that do the hard work for you, and I will post below the one that I have found to be particularly beneficial.

  • Code.org is arguably the most effective and simple way to introduce your class to coding.  It is completely free and has progressive courses for your learners to work their way through, with instructions and hints.  I would recommend working your way through one of the courses prior to the learners accessing it if you are new to coding as it is a fantastic CLPL experience.  Better still, code.org works on tablet devices as well as on computers, although does require an internet connection.  For schools with limited computer access (e.g. one or two devices per room) there are the Hour of Code courses that children can be timetabled to work through in pairs during the school day.  Furthermore, teachers can create a free account, and assign their learners courses to work through which track pupil progression!
  • Scratch is my go-to coding website.  I would recommend though that you get used to, and get your learners used to, using block code on code.org before going anywhere near Scratch, as it is essentially a ‘blank-canvas’ programming application and a level of understanding is therefore needed.  There are many online Scratch tutorials, books with step by step instructions and YouTube video tutorials though if you want to get started.  I will post more about this in my coding blog post.
  • CodeAcademy is great for learners who require additional challenge.  You can develop block programming skills, and even learn to use other more powerful script-based programming languages, e.g. Python.

Touch-Typing

I’d argue that being able to type quickly and accurately is a skill that is just as important as the ability to take notes and write legibly by hand, as the world now uses computer-based means of documenting text far more than handwritten means.  Yet, I remember being so bored and put off of learning to type by a teacher spending full lessons reading out lines of script for us to type.  Fortunately, there are some really engaging websites to help our learners progress quickly in an enjoyable manner.  Here are some websites to help your learners develop their touch typing skills.

BBC Dance Mat Typing, whether you’re a fan or not of the BBC, their Bitesize Touch Typing course has proven time and time again to be one of the most engaging ways for youngsters to learn typing.  I’d recommend this mainly for P3-5, however I have seen some younger and older children enjoy it and engage with it.

Typing Club is a very progressive online typing course that has clear instructions and doesn’t feel childish in the way that Dance Mat typing does.  A slightly faster pace though makes it better for older children.