Category: ELC

COMPUTING SCIENCE WEBINAR 17 MAY

17 May, 16:00 – 17:00, Design Build & Test Computing Solutions, Coding and Programming, Early – 2nd Level

A Glow account is required to join this webinar

It’s essential for young people to develop their computing knowledge and skills so that they can understand and participate in our increasingly digital world – being creators rather than solely consumers. This webinar will introduce you to why it’s important for your students to learn computing and how to plan for and teach computing science effectively. This webinar will focus on the experiences and outcomes for programming and coding, introducing attendees to engaging, accessible resources. A practitioner from the Scottish computing science leadership group will exemplify how they have embedded programming and coding across the primary curriculum.

Please sign up here

10 May, 16:00 – 17:00, Building confidence and creativity with computing science Early – 2nd Level

A Glow login is required to join this webinar.

It’s essential for young people to develop their computing knowledge and skills so that they can understand and participate in our increasingly digital world – being creators rather than solely consumers. This webinar will introduce you to why it’s important for your students to learn computing and how to plan for and teach computing science effectively. This webinar will focus on the experiences and outcomes for computational thinking, introducing attendees to engaging, accessible resources. A practitioner from the Scottish computing science leadership group will exemplify how they have embedded computational thinking across the primary curriculum.

Please sign up here.

05 May, 16:00 – 17:00, (Primary) Get started with Micro:Bit – Delivered by the Micro:Bit Education Foundation

Join the Micro:bit Educational Foundation to explore resources and tools to bring physical computing to the primary curriculum.

About this Event

A staff Glow account will be required to access the Microsoft Team where the session will take place.

Join Aimée & Giles from the Micro:bit Educational Foundation to hear all about the resources and tools available to help you bring physical computing to the primary classroom with micro:bit. Learn about the wealth of free materials and projects available for teaching with Scratch and MakeCode including an amazing global competition based on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Free to join and no resources required – https://microbit.org/projects/

Sign up here

04 May, 16:00 – 17:00, Collaborative event – Computing Science Tackling Gender Stereotypes

You will require a glow login for this webinar.

This is a collaborative event to share practice and discuss strategies following on from the webinar – Computing Science Tackling Unconscious Bias and Gender Stereotypes.  If you have not attended the webinar you can still take part and join in with this collaborative event.

Sign up here

04 May, 16:00 – 17:00, SSERC CRIS mentor programme workshops

SSERC and Education Scotland have teamed up to bring you the CRIS mentor programme. It is designed to build confidence and to develop understanding of a number of issues related to cyber resilience and internet safety in the teacher community across Scotland. The knowledge and experience gained by delegates through the programme can then be used, along with the provided resources, to mentor other staff and pupils within their school communities.

The programme focusses on 4 key areas of CRIS:

  • Digital Footprint
  • Passwords and Encryption
  • Dealing with Online Issues
  • Securing your devices

 

The Digilearn team will be available for drop-in workshops, where you can ask questions, discuss ideas and share resources. These sessions will be:

  • 04 May, 1600 – 1700
  • 11 May, 1600 – 1700
  • 18 May, 1600 – 1700
  • 25 May, 1600 – 1700

Join the meetings here

 

Further info and sign up details are available here

COMPUTING SCIENCE GENDER BALANCE LESSON PLANS

Computing Science Gender Balance Lesson Plans

Research tells us that more boys achieve computing qualifications than girls. There can be many reasons for this and in order to help you mitigate some of these gender imbalances we have curated this folder of lesson plans and resources to support them. They have been curated to help you ensure your Computing Science lessons are as accessible and engaging to learners regardless of their gender.

Find out more abour Improving Gender Balance support here.

INTRODUCING CODING AND COMPUTATIONAL THINKING WITH CODE-A-PILLAR

Dundee practitioner, Judi Regan has very kindly shared resources for some wonderful Code-a-pillar play activities for early level learners. If you were at SLF 2019, you may have been lucky enough to attend her seminar. Among the resources, there are the ‘human’ Code-a-pillar arrows for children to wear. Judi them laminated these and added string for children to wear to remind them which ‘direction’ they were during unplugged CS play and also when creating their algorithms with the Code-a-pillar . The children would decide on the directions the Code-a-pillar was to travel, and form a line, holding on to the person in front. The ‘head’ would listen for each child in turn to call out their ‘direction’ and would then move in that way to make the ‘human’ Code-a-pillar travel. This could be extended by planning in advance how to reach a particular object/area; recreating the actual Code-a-pillar algorithm and moving alongside as it moves or making a plan for moving in a shape, e.g., “let’s see if we can get our human Code-a-pillar to move in a square shape?”

We have popped all of Judi’s resources into a folder on OneDrive, you can access and download here.

WHY COMPUTING SCIENCE MATTERS

by Susan Ward, DHT Kingsland Primary, Scottish Borders

Finding the time for computing science can be tough. With a slimmed-down recovery curriculum to contend with and a ‘to do’ list stretching to infinity and beyond, primary teachers could be forgiven for consigning CS lessons to the ‘would be nice’ pile rather than firmly rooted in the weekly plan’s must haves.

But computing science is too important to be sidelined.

There’s a viral video doing the rounds just now of a toddler demanding that an Amazon Echo play her favourite song (Baby Shark, in case you’re wondering). The person filming watches with great amusement as the little girl talks to the machine as if it is alive: “Alexa, play my favourite song!” When Alexa obliges, the little girl claps her hands in delight: “Alexa you my friend!” she squeals.

And as any stumped parent will tell you, ‘asking Google’ quickly becomes a regular response to the steady stream of “But why?” enquiries from curious offspring from their earliest days.

The message inadvertently given to children is that technology knows best, that Google and Alexa are the smart ones, that they just magically “know”.

The point here is that to a generation used to asking machines to do everything from play CBeebies to shutting the curtains, making computing science visible becomes a real struggle. Technology is now so integrated into the fabric of everyday lives it becomes unseen, unknowable, just ‘there’.

In the absence of good-quality computing science teaching, we are faced with a generation growing up who will believe Alexa is the ghost in the machine. All-seeing and all-knowing, machines will provide all the answers and children won’t think to question how they know.

But if our children and young people don’t know how the machines work, how can they design them to work better?

Teaching children to think computationally is essential learning and should start as young as possible. Children in nursery can understand the importance of sequencing and pattern making, the idea that instructions have to be clear and sensible. Tinker tables where children can take machines apart and look inside make technology visible and encourage curiosity about how things work. Like the technology all around us, the principles of computing science are woven into our everyday lives. We just have to show our children where to look.

There are lots of nifty gadgets out there that can help and one of the best and most underused is the humble Bee-Bot. Sturdy enough to cope with enthusiastically sticky hands yet sophisticated enough to demonstrate simple programming, Bee-Bots are a brilliant option. In our school, P4 learned to program using Bee-Bots, initially by using paper ‘fakebots’, available free from Barefoot Computing, to design and debug before moving onto the real thing. Problem-solving and collaborative working were in plentiful supply as children sought out and tested their own solutions.

Once confident in their programs, P4 created some furry costumes and story mats and, in the era before class bubbles, they were able to head to nursery to teach the younger children what they had learned. Big fans of ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen, the Bee-Bots became bears and the nursery children learned how to program the bears to go through the swishy grass and oozy mud, just like in the story.

This is a small example of how computing science can open doors to learning and collaboration across the curriculum and across your school. It is a great leveller, a chance for children to shine in unexpected ways when the pursuit of a logical solution becomes a shared goal.

Computational thinking doesn’t require lots of resources or even constant access to a computer. It’s not about ‘doing coding’. We can grow problem solvers, careful sequence checkers, creative thinkers and logical predictors long before the word ‘algorithm’ is ever mentioned.

Showing children and young people how machines work, drawing back the curtain on the ‘magic’ and opening their eyes to the amazing and inspiring power of computational thinking will ignite your classroom and the potential that lies inside every child.

When you get right down to it, computing science is about careful attention to a problem and the curious and methodical pursuit of an effective solution.

 

What weekly plan cannot make space for that?

TEACHING COMPUTING IN A ROAD SAFETY CONTEXT

This short clip captures how Computing Science does not sit insolation and this is one example of how it can be embedded through the curriculum and in the context of children’s interests through play. The context for learning in the video is health and wellbeing, road safety. The programmable devices are all playing an important role in telling the story of how to cross a road safely. Early level learners create algorithms to programme the BeeBot to travel as cars along the road. Older learners use a more abstract form of programming with the other devices in the clip.   

  • I know and can demonstrate how to travel safely  HWB 0-18a  

 

  • In movement, games, and using technology I can use simple directions and describe positions MTH 0-17a

 

  • I can develop a sequence of instructions and run them using programmable devices or equivalent. TCH 0-15a 

 

If you paid close attention, you may have noticed a missed debugging opportunity? The programmable device ‘crossing the road’ did not look left and right again before crossing the second road! 

DEDRIDGE PRIMARY SCHOOL CODE CHRISTMAS

Dedridge Primary School, West Lothian shared this wonderful example of how early level learners created algorithms to programme BeeBots to retell the nativity story at Christmas time. How many areas of the curriculum can you identify in this clip? 

We would love to continually add examples of how you are embedding computing science through play in ELC settings and with the young learners you are working with. Please click on this link to share your examples of unplugged computing science and how children are exploring programmable devices if you have access to them