May 16, 2014 11:35 am

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Designing your school’s Computing Scheme of Work?

Having been a primary teacher for many years, I have been used to using whatever teaching resources I could get my hands on. Sure we would all like to devise our own new, exciting and engaging projects, but sometimes there just isn’t the time or it can feel like reinventing the wheel. Therefore I would often find myself late at night desperately flipping through the pages of a thick folder containing an organisation or company’s pre-planned schemes of work trying to find the holy grail – a lesson for which we had the resources, space and perfect ability group to deliver the session. More often than not the search yielded frustrating results and it often felt like I was settling for second best, not only for me but for my class. The lessons were either too vague, or generic, the questions not how I would ask them and I lacked enthusiasm to teach it, and lacked the time to start from scratch. How would I use this to engage and motivate my 30 fantastic, savvy inner London students in the morning?

Schemes of work do vary in quality, but all will need adapting to your school and cohort. At worst there is a danger of becoming too reliant on them as an easy fix, which can have the effect of sapping energy and enthusiasm from teaching. There are an incredible number of new resources that have been produced to support the new computing curriculum. Schools are quickly adopting resources to support teachers in delivering computing from September. Many schools are investing in a quick fix scheme, with a one-size-fits-all approach. This approach may work well for your school and help to get the curriculum up and running, but do make sure you try out a few of the lessons before investing.

I thought I would point out some excellent free resources that would supplement or could even replace a pricey and prescriptive scheme.

– Computing at School is a great place to start with community forums and resources from expert teachers. Phil Bagge has a multitude of pre-planned projects and lessons in Primary Computer Science and Digital Literacy.

– Code Academy and Hour of Code are working with the UK schools to provide fantastic computing curriculum resources. Sign up with a Google account. Check out their new iPad app

– Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organisation with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. All of the site’s resources are freely available. Simply sign your class up with a Google account and view the Computing resources.

– Ask your school’s IT consultant to  help identify resources that best support specific areas of the curriculum. Invite them to support you in class, or to deliver a demonstration lesson to launch a computing project.

Book a free training staff workshop from Turn IT On and we will come with free computing resources, bags of enthusiasm and great ideas for launching computing in your school.

There are many other excellent free resources out there! Please mention any useful websites or initiatives you have come across in the comments below.

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