Primary teachers energised by computer programming week
A total of 128 UK teachers took part in Programming for Primaries awareness week events (24-28 March), with sessions described as ‘energising’ and ‘enlightening’.
The week saw 648 children from 30 primary schools using Kodu, Microsoft’s game-making software, to develop their own video games. In addition, 87 teachers attended continuing professional development workshops focused on introducing pupils to programming and coding. Launched and run by technology education specialist ComputerXplorers, the Microsoft-backed Programming for Primaries initiative sought to demystify computing. This is especially important for English primary schools, which must implement a new computing curriculum that involves teaching children how to write code from September.
Teachers remarked that the sessions proved the new curriculum targets are achievable. They noted pupils’ willingness to ‘have a go’ at coding, and the speed at which they were able to produce results. Children who tend to be disengaged in lessons were keen to get involved too. One of the schools that took part was Warwick’s Westgate Primary School. Year Four teacher Mrs Rainsberry said: “The children had a fantastic time creating their own worlds, before programming a cycle to pick up apples for points they had allocated in the program. It was impressive how quickly they learnt how to code.”
Under the new curriculum, pupils aged five to seven will be expected to ‘understand what algorithms are’ and to ‘create and debug simple programs’. By the age of 11, pupils will ‘design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems’. Nigel Toplis, managing director of ComputerXplorers, says: “Programming and coding capabilities are becoming critical in the worlds of education and employment. Helping primary school children develop a hunger to learn these skills opens new worlds of opportunity for them.”
More information on the revised national curriculum for computing programmes of study is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study
To find out more about ComputerXplorers, visit: http://www.computerxplorers.co.uk/
ComputerXplorers is the leading provider of quality technology education for children from the ages of 3 to 13. The clubs and classes are engaging, educational and fun, and are run in a variety of settings, such as after school clubs, pre-school and nurseries, summer camps and in-curriculum time classes. For pre-school children ComputerXplorers covers everything from podcasting, digital photography programming and robotics to digital microscopes and an introduction to the internet. Primary school children learn programming, digital storytelling, animation, web design, coding, forensic science, video game design, music and technology. Classes are linked to the new national curriculum in England, the Curriculum for Excellence, the national curriculum for Wales and the NCCA curriculum in Ireland.