Computational education equips children to use computational thinking in order to create an understanding of computer science. Having observed KS1 pupils Ofsted were impressed by their ability to learn programming through testing sequences of instructions for floor robots.
National Curriculum September 2013
- Understands algorithms-how they are implemented as programs on a digital device.
- create/debug programs (Admiral Grace Hopper wrote a program that wasn’t doing what she initially asked of it, turns out there was a moth in the relay… hence the name)
- use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programmes.
Lesson Activity using and
We successfully programmed the car to make a triangle followed by a pentagon…eventually!!
Attempt 1: We incorrectly worked out 135 degrees would complete our triangle.
Attempt 2: Having successfully completing a triangle we moved on to make a pentagon- 252 degrees for each angle took our car off the page (outer the angle of pentagon), trying 108 degrees making up the inner angle of a pentagon was unsuccessful also.
Attempt 3: Therefore it came down to our third attempt in trying the external angle.
Other programmes to try:
- Scratch/ scratch jr (tbc)
- Light bot
- expresso coding
- turtle graphics (yr 2)
What is an algorithm???
Set of steps you follow to get something done.
Google defines it as: decomposition, pattern recognition and abstraction. eg breaking a big problem into smaller more manageable chunks.
Take the everyday making of a jam sandwhich – give a robot the correct, specific instructions and it will succeed – miss out some important steps ( holding the bread whilst you spread) and the bread will be on the floor. Liken this to a computer code and there in lies the potential for problems.
Activites that convey this pattern recognition…
quick sort/bubble sort pots in order of weight
sorting numbers using scratch programme
mini beasts safari to sort out insects from invertibrates from flys from spiders
Whilst on placement i considered the amount of focus that made on computers within the EYFS surroundings. With 2 computers in the Nursery, ICT was always an option for the children. The programs listed below were just a few of what was on offer to the children on a daily basis:
Swashbuckle Adventures – through use of hand eye coordination the aim was to bounce Swashbuckle over the stepping stones watching out for various sea creatures along the way.
2Paint is a simple painting programme for all primary school children. they are able to experiment with brush styles, and pattern making templates.
Poisson Rouge is a website containing over 300 games – there is no text and no explanation, thus a great opportunity for children to find their own understanding of the website.
I initially thought the children would swarm around the computers, however, there was so much on offer for the children to ‘play’ with that overcrowding was never an issue. My second thought was that the games on offer would be mind numbing and have little in the way of learning. I believe i was very wrong in that respect… and here’s why!
- If there were 2 children sat at 1 computer it was a good opportunity for them to learn to share/wait their turn.
- The games on offer allowed children to use their imagination; whether it be drawing on a blank canvas, or working out how to play a game with no instructions (Poisson Rouge).
- It gives children the chance to develop their hand eye coordination. Example, clicking the mouse at appropriate times for their character to dodge an object.
- Who knew maths could be fun – masked by Animated computer games.
One last point to make – the class IWB was broken – THE WHOLE 7 WEEK PLACEMENT!!! To any teacher this is disappointing but to a keen PGCE student this was devastating. Asking on numerous occasions fell to deaf ears. Having said that it was a great learning experience to use imagination and home made resources as a substitute.
This weeks task was to experiment with painting software and filters to create some digital art. I have never used this form of medium before so it was very much on a trial and error basis. I thought it a good idea to not only have myself in the picture but a focal point which i would then distort and play around with on ‘pixlr’. The 2 pictures below were altered using solarized and kaleidoscope applications, and i think its fair to say through some simple experiementing i have transformed a some what dull picture into something that can now be used as a talking point.
On reflection i could take this one step further and home in on certain sections of the picture; for instance the leaves on the tree could have more of a contrast in colour, or i could focus in on them with the rest of the picture a blur. Thus, drawing attention to the change in colours, reinforcing the idea that autumn is upon us.
Exploring ‘artproject’, ‘flickr’, ‘artsonia’
I am so happy to have discovered ‘artproject’. From a personal point of view the idea of free art to view, alongwith creating my own virtual library to share with friends is amazing. From a teaching point of view i believe this to be a great resource for myself and the children to use within the classroom. Whether it be to research Kandinsky when we focus on painting in art, or as part of a history lesson to research a famous artist in the Georgian period who influenced the British people at that time. On the other hand, programs like these should and will not replace museum visits. There is a great satisfaction of moving around a museum and experiencing it first hand which a computer will never replace.
Having new technologies to experiment with and use within a classroom environment is a great opportunity for learning through ‘play’, however, i do believe a big drawback to this is having to teach children in the first place about these softwares. This is reitterated by Steve Jobs, 1980: ‘we immediately throw a big problem right in the middle of you and your problem which is learning how to use the computer.’
Sharing childrens work online through the use of artsonia is a great way of showing off childrens work on a day to day basis. It can provide the parent/carer with reassurance that their child is happy and learning in a productive environment, however, parental consent is needed first and foremost. Without this innovative sites like artsonia are useless and will not be a success in schools.
Bowe’s children get the reading bug with iPad poses a great deal of advantages. With iPads proving to be extremely accessbile and portable they are a hugely innovative part of the primary curriculum. They can be taken out of doors, in small groups and installed software allows for them to be cross curricular.
Despite having a fast response and being technologically sound there is a danger of spending too long in setting up or logging on and you can loose the attention of your audience very quickly.
They pose to be advantageous towards children with learning difficuulties or English as an additional language as some find they communicate more effectively: specific multimedia software helps to articulate in pictures and film what they might deem as being difficult words for instance.
‘At the Zoo’ by William Makepeace Thackeray
First I saw the white bear, then I saw the black;
Then I saw the camel with a hump upon his back;
Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw;
Then I saw the wombat waddle in the straw;
Then I saw the elephant a-waving of his trunk;
Then I saw the monkeys-mercy, how unpleasantly they-smelt!
I decided to make an audio tape on animals in the zoo. I coupled pictures of animals with a voice recording for each verse of a poem and believe this is a great way for children to develop their learning and understanding through listening.
Another way of using audio would be in a phonics lesson. I experimented with the IWB and voice recordings with green words ‘dog’ ‘fox’, clicking on a letter to then hear my voice sounding it out. I did, however, find the drawback that i was unable to attach a voicenote sounding the whole word, alongside separate voicenotes for each letter. In a classroom situation to get around this problem (if you would call it that) i would have to click quickly on each word in order to sound the whole word out.
My intial thoughts on watching a video on how to use IWB was not the most positive. However, having been taken through various steps and activities on the program i have found it extremely useful and really looking forward to using one when i qualify as an NQT.
Some of the examples being used in the video were rather dry but i appreciate being given the basic information, and can now build on these foundations.
Hot spots are fab! Say for instance you are teaching the human body; hot spots give the child the opportunity to click on a specific body part to do further reading.
Having worked in a school where 75% of children were EAL i believe using the ‘working with images’ section on the Interactive whiteboards is a fabulous tool. Some children may not have the words to complete a task but given the opportunity they might succeed in using images. After watching the IWB video i can now make my own sorting game: ‘which animals live in the farm yard?’ I simply find an image of a farm, farm animals along with sea creatures and building the program from there (order the farm animal images to ‘send to back’ of the farm, so when a children moves the animal into the correct home it disappears). I could go one step further by finding an audio file to match each animal.