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Project-based learning in the Computing curriculum

Project-based learningJohn Partridge, Assistant Head for eLearning, explains how Computing is taught through a project-based learning approach at his school.

I remember clearly looking at the first draft of the new curriculum and just being totally shocked by the degree of change. It had been clearly signalled that the new draft would be a step-change, but I didn’t appreciate the shift which was about to take place. Almost nothing remained from the previous programme, save a few references to digital resources and, in a later draft, safe use of technology. So it was clear that some serious work was going to be needed to make sure our school adapted.

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Preparing to teach the new Computing curriculum

Oh No!!I've been giving talks on preparing for the new Computing curriculum, and as well as waxing lyrical that also involves listening to others' concerns. It also means hearing about some innovative approaches that colleagues have adopted.

At the same time, I have been conducting a survey of what people have been doing to prepare for the new curriculum. I'll be publishing the results in due course. In fact, some of the resources mentioned in the collection of coding resources in the early July 2014 edition of Digital Education  came to my attention from that survey.

So, given that at the time of writing there's about 2 or 3 days to go till the end of term, what can you realistically do at this stage to prepare for September?

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Digital Education latest edition!

For the final edition of this free newsletter, we have a great line-up of experts and articles:

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Should we welcome the nanocams?

I’m reading a short story by Ian Creasey called “The Edge of the Map”. In the world depicted by Creasey, automated cameras called “nanocams” take photos and newspapers (and other media, presumably) source their illustrations from the pool created by them. In other words, there is no need for specialist photographers.

This raises a number of interesting questions.

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Awarding Levels in Computing for the purpose of number-crunching

It’s all very well coming up with weird and wonderful ways of acknowledging students’ achievement, but at some point somebody, unfortunately, is going to ask you for a number. The number is important to them because they can enter it into  spreadsheet and show, hopefully, that the numbers go up over time.

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A is for Assessing Computing: 16 criteria and 5 considerations

A student writes a program. What are you going to assess it on? There are at least 16 criteria you could take into account. Not all of these will be apposite – it depends on what you’re teaching and who you’re teaching. Also, I’ve framed the list below in teacher language; it’s up to you to adapt it into language that is more appropriate for your students.

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The 6 Fundamental Computing Assessment Scheme Questions

Whether you decide to create your own assessment scheme from a blank sheet of paper, so to speak, use a ready-made scheme created by someone else, or do a bit of both, there are 6 questions you need to ask:

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Digital Education Coding Resources Special

Digital Education cover early July 2014The new edition of Digital Education, the free newsletter for those with a professional interest in educational ICT and Computing, has a special focus on resources you can use to teach coding. Here’s what it contains:

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ICT Direct supports schools with ICT spending cuts

HP 8100 EliteWith government austerity measures curbing spending in schools, one major area that has been significantly affected is ICT investment. Budgets are restricted, making it difficult for schools to make the investment required to develop the school curriculum with the aid of technology.

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Digital Education–Latest Edition

Digital Education June 2014This is what the latest version of Digital Education contains, with guest articles by Professor Paul Curzon, Sal McKeown, Geoff Jones and Crispin Weston

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TrilbyTV inspires children to achieve life-long success at Stanhope School

Stanhope School TTVStanhope Primary School in South Shields has been using TrilbyTV as much more than a teaching aid in their school. It has been used as a tool to inspire their children to believe in themselves and the goals they want to achieve throughout life.

Set in a deprived part of the UK, Stanhope School has to work exceptionally hard to ensure each of their pupils

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The Magic of Human-Computer Communication

Palming Card Trick Magic Macro 10-19-09 3Magicians demonstrate that some kinds of human mistake are not down to stupidity or negligence but about how our brains are wired. Computer Scientists have to understand this too but instead engineer systems so no one makes mistakes – especially in critical situations like a hospital. The machines need to help not hinder. Professor Paul Curzon explains...

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In principle, these are exciting times, writes Crispin Weston. Having spent the first three years of its administration backing away from any active involvement in ed-tech, the government now appears to recognise not only that ed-tech has an important part to play in improving educational provision, but also that the government has an important part to play in making that happen. In practice, I do not believe that the ed-tech community has yet taken advantage of the opportunity it has been given.

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Review of Teacher’s Pet

bingoGo on, admit it: you still create worksheets, right? If you do, and you use Microsoft Word or OpenOffice to do so, you’ll find Teacher’s Pet very handy. It’s basically a set of macros that can transform lists of words into several different types of puzzle or test item.

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The (digital) revolution comes to the London Barbican

Digital Revolution explores and celebrates the transformation of the arts through digital technology since the 1970s. The exhibition brings together for the first time a range of artists, filmmakers, architects, designers, musicians and game developers pushing the boundaries of their fields using digital media. It also looks to the future considering the impact of creative coding, DIY culture, digital communities and the creative possibilities offered by technologies including augmented reality, artificial intelligence, wearable technologies, robotics and 3D printing.

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