The great thing about this programme is that it not only challenges the children to use ICT creatively, but it also inspires and engages staff throughout the school to use tools that they have heard of but have been unsure about using.
I can honestly say that after the staff sat down and read through their year group pack and had tried out the suggested tools they were all confident and eager to get started. I have never said that before about a programme that I have launched in school.
Why were they eager? Easy, because each unit has a clear purpose, builds on previously learnt skills and recommends some fantastic software to use that is free and simple to install or is generic software already on the computer. E-safety is built into every unit, guidance on assessment and expectations are included, as are ideas to extend projects and due to the open nature of each unit you can easily link in many cross-curricular elements.
For example, when we were completing the Year 6 unit ‘We are game developers’ we were able to reinforce other curriculum elements because of the vast range of skills that were being used. Alongside the ICT skills of coding, collaborating and constructing the children were securing their understanding of number relationships and calculations, they were being challenged to effectively storyboard an adventure through images and speech and they were recognising the importance of reviewing, modifying and evaluating.
Many of the children went home and carried on developing ideas – which again highlights the enthusiasm that was generated, as well as the carefully chosen software to enable this to happen. Instead of the audience just being a closed classroom, we had parents and grandparents joining in, not only did they praise what had been achieved but they also developed their own games as did our partner schools from across the world who loved being sent our work as they could tell us how and where to improve and then tell us whether we had got right yet.
A final positive for me is that the packs are already being added to due to the ever changing face of technology and our curriculum. This not a simply, hi, buy, bye product. It is continually improving so that your ICT curriculum continues to be forward thinking, focused but most importantly – fun.
Switched On Computing