Teaching coding as part of the national curriculum

The changes to the computing curriculum may well have been lost in the middle of some fairly large scale reform over the last year or so, but will impact learning in many subjects according to those in the know.

The idea of teaching coding is incredibly daunting to those who may have just about grasped how to play Candy Crush on their phone, but is really a question of teaching strategy, logic and thinking – ideas which all educators can see are relevant across the spectrum of subjects.

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Technology and how it can test knowledge and understanding

Technology in 2015 offers a number of ways to be a motivational teaching aid. It’s a very flexible and customisable tool and can provide incredibly varied ways to expand learning experiences.

The testing of knowledge and understanding of what has taken place in a lesson can be achieved through a good mix of written and verbal feedback, question and answer sessions, written or verbal tests or self-reflective activities and projects such as diaries. Technology adds another layer to be able to assess the levels of understanding and can provide very personalised results.

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Staying up to Date with Technology; both as a Teacher and by Integrating into Classroom Time

It’s only a generation since classes used blackboards and the IT room was only really utilised by the IT teacher. The world of tablets, laptops, smartphones and whiteboards were future ideas in the minds of the technology world and certainly weren’t seen to be a definitive tool to be used on a daily basis within schools outside the computer room.

Technology now is everywhere; tablets for all pupils, the use of sites such as Facebook for social learning and text books replaced by interactive learning software. For teachers who have limited knowledge of current technology, it can be daunting to be presented with new hardware to use or be expected to teach a class skills barely understood themselves.

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The use of tablets in schools

The use of tablets in schools is currently at its highest ever level, with no sign of a downturn.

Technology charity Tablets for Schools has recently released the results of a study examining the use of the hardware in both primary and secondary sectors. The figures show that of the 671 schools sampled, tablets are in use to some degree in 68% of primary schools and 69% of secondary schools.

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Bring Your Own Device

For many classroom situations, students producing a phone in a lesson is obviously not required and shows that they are not engaging in the lesson itself. However, there are a number of benefits to asking them to ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) as a way of accessing learning information and to be used as tools for engagement and increased technology awareness.

More and more schools and colleges are now setting up dedicated IT provisions so student devices will connect to the in-house network.

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Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is now a cornerstone key skill for many careers and there is a growing impetus for it to be recognised as being as important as being able to read and write to a level where it felt that it is a comprehensively gained life skill.

In the past, digital literacy was known generically as ICT and was originally untested. It did not sit alongside the core subjects of English, maths and science and was often based around learning packages such as Microsoft Office or activities which included internet browsing or gaming.

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Careers in the gaming industry

Sheffield had an exciting event over the weekend to celebrate Britain’s gaming heritage and to inspire a new generation of gamers with Games Britannia Live! The event took place at various venues around the city with plenty to get involved with.

Arcade games lined the Millennium Gallery and gamers young and old gathered round the stalls to partake in workshops and test their design skills.

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Computing Curriculum 2014 – Digital Technology in the Classroom

Digital Technology and its place in the classroom has been a hot topic in education over the last few months. From September, when the new coding curriculum will come into effect, England will be the first country in the world to make this mandatory in both primary and secondary education (The Telegraph, December 2013). One country that embraced digital technology before many other countries is Estonia, where children are already taught programming, robotics and generating QR codes for their smartphones (BBC, 2014).

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