"Programming is a skill best acquired through practice and example rather than from books"
Computing in Key Stage 1 and 2
Computing at Ladbrooke is taught using the ‘Switched On Computing’ scheme. It is specially designed to cover all the requirements of the Computing programme of study in a way that develops pupils’ understanding of the concepts, practices and perspectives that underpin programming and other aspects of computer science. In addition, it provides opportunities for creative, collaborative project work in which pupils can acquire the information technology skills they will need, as well as helping pupils to understand the implications of technology as they become digitally literate.
Our approach is to weave the teaching of these skills and knowledge through our topics and other subjects so that children have a meaningful context for their projects.
Computing in the Early Years
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, computing comes under the Technology strand of Understanding the World. The Early Learning goal states that “Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes”.
Devices available for children to play with in Nursery and Reception include interactive whiteboards, iPads, digital cameras, audio recorders, light boxes, torches and electronic timers. Through experimenting and playing with these, children form their own mental model of how they work.
Children are introduced to the concept of programming through playing with Bee-Bots. These simple programmable toys allow children to experience the direct relationship between pressing a button and the way the Bee-Bot moves. They can also literally put themselves in the place of the device to experience how the program runs.
In terms of computational thinking, the Early Years environment offers ample opportunities to solve problems – whether it is completing jigsaws; continuing a repeating pattern or working out how to transport water from the water butt to the mud kitchen. Examples of how this is encouraged through adult questioning include:
Logical reasoning What will happen if you do this? How do you know?
Algorithms What do you need to do to solve this? Is there a better way?
Decomposition Can we break this problem up? Could we each do different jobs to solve the problem?
Evaluation What went well? Which way worked best? What would you do differently next time?
Computing from Y1 to Y6
The year-on-year progression of skills can be easily identified as there are six distinct areas of focus. These are explained as follows:
Programming Planning, writing and testing computer programs for digital devices from Bee-Bots to tablets.
Computational thinking Some of the computer science foundations – particularly algorithms, logical reasoning and decomposing problems into smaller parts.
Creativity Creating and refining original content using digital tools across a range of media.
Computer networks Using and understanding the internet, the web and search engines, effectively and safely.
Communication/Collaboration Making the most of computers and the internet for communicating with one or many, and working together on projects.
Productivity Collecting and analysing data and information using computers, organising, manipulating and presenting this to an audience.