Time for a new Computing curriculum in England… Time to source resources and advice at the Education Show

Dave Smith, Computing and ICT Adviser for Havering School Improvement Services in London explores how the Education Show can help support you in teaching the new Computing curriculum.

The advent of a new National Curriculum for computing in England with a strong focus on computer science has meant that teachers are currently having to upskill themselves in readiness for the rollout of the curriculum in September 2014. 

Previous incarnations of the National Curriculum in England would have been accompanied with government procured curriculum materials, training and advice.  The new computing curriculum for primary schools in England is no more than 2 sides of A4 paper and brief in its statements.  The devolving of previously ring-fenced technology and training budgets directly to schools, is allowing schools the autonomy to source their own training and resources, meaning they have got to act smart in choosing the right sources. 

BESA (stand F5-E6) reported that “The survey of 1,238 UK schools (731 primary, 507 secondary) which was conducted in July 2013 found that in the school year 2014/15 schools forecast their ICT expenditure will be higher in cash terms than at any other time on record. Investment in hardware replacement, peripherals, software and technical support will reach £14,220 per primary school and £65,570 in each secondary school.” 

The Education Show offers a great opportunity to support these areas of investment in educational technology, with a number of companies and advisory bodies providing resources and ideas to address the requirements of the Computing curriculum, as well as a string of seminars to help guide teachers in implementing it.  Here’s just a taste of what is on offer…

I always make for the TTS stand at the Education Show (stand C2). They have a great catalogue for Computing and ICT with all of the resources in one place.  Checkout the fantastic Makey Makey kits and rechargeable Beebots and their big brother the Probot – a must for any programming activities. The Lego Education (A73) stand has got to be a must too.  Linking Lego WeDo to Scratch is fun and very engaging.  

Nationally, various free and paid for teaching materials are being developed by teachers and organisations to help support the new curriculum.  In Havering, we decided to work with specialist educational publishers Rising Stars (D44) and Miles Berry of the University of Roehampton, London to develop Switched on Computing (building on the success of its predecessor Switched on ICT – now in approximately 4000 schools globally).  This partnership provides comprehensive curriculum materials for primary schools.

Education City (F49-E50) have just launched their ‘Computing’ module, where pupils can explore new ideas to help them use computational thinking and creativity to understand the world around them. ZuLogic have recently unveiled their new Zu3D Stopframe animation app for iPads, where pupils can create their own animation by taking pictures, importing and recording sounds then adding titles, credits and speech bubbles.

And of course, where would educational technology at the Education Show be without that bastion of excellence 2simple Software Ltd (H40). They have recently added 2code to the offering within the fantastic Purple Mash. 2code is very impressive in terms of its simplicity of use, progressive nature and all round teacher and pupil-friendly approach. Or as 2simple put it, 2Code “lets teachers with no prior knowledge of coding deliver engaging and challenging lessons for children in KS1 and KS2.”

Also, make sure that you visit the British Council (H41) and find out about how eTwinning can be used for communication and collaboration.  Blogging, emailing, videoconferencing – you name it, you can do it through eTwinning – and best of all, it is free, gratis, gratuit, kostenlos…

Finally, the Education Show is home to some world-class CPD opportunities.  Checkout the Technology in Education seminars for an array of speakers and content.  I will be interested in what the Computing at School Master Teachers say on the topic of the new curriculum for primary and secondary phases.

There is even more, but I have a word limit to keep to!  You will just have to visit the Education Show for yourself to find out everything else.  Therefore, if you have not already registered for the Education Show, now is the time to get online and get signed-up.  You won’t be disappointed.  

See you there! 

Dave Smith is a member of the Board of Management of Naace, is a Naace Fellow and a Bett Show and Education Resource Awards Judge. He also has over 10 years’ teaching and senior leadership experience in 3 schools and has been a governor of 4 schools.  Follow him on Twitter @davesmithict.

Make a link with Lebanon – and receive funding too…

Looking to partner with a school in another country and receive grant funding? Havering School Improvement Services’ partners at the British Council are offering the opportunity to partner with a school in Lebanon to discover more about one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East, and you could be eligible for funding through the British Council Connecting Classrooms programme. 

By getting involved you can help develop your pupils as a global citizens, and as a teacher you will also benefit through sharing best practice with colleagues in Lebanon. The deadline to apply for funding is 31 January 2014

For more details visit – http://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/linking-programmes-worldwide/connecting-classrooms/spotlight/Lebanon 

The British Council has also produced a PowerPoint looking at how UK schools can partner with Lebanese schools and receive £1,500 funding with Connecting Classrooms.  Click here to read it.

This is an exciting way to enhance your school’s provision for teaching and learning through Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural aspects.