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Assessing Computing: Grids and Badges

section of progression pathways gridSince Michael Gove, England’s then Education Secretary, announced that Levels were not fit for purpose – the purpose being to assess and describe students’ proficiency in National Curriculum subjects – there has been a proliferation of attempts to assess Computing without using Levels. Many of these have taken the approach, quite naturally, of devising a progression grid of some sort. All the ones I’ve seen break the grid down into the Computing Programme of Study’s component parts

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How can teachers get to grips with computer programming, and where do we start? By Lawrence Williams

Pupil using Scratch, by Lawrence WilliamsMany teachers have been utterly dismayed by the seemingly impossible demands of the new Programmes of Study for Computing. How can we all suddenly develop a wide range of new skills in Computing? Can our pupils, aged from only 5 years, really understand, write, and debug computer programmes? It seems an impossible task. But help is at hand…. And from a teacher of English, with no Computing training! (Though with some experience in using ICT.)

Lawrence Williams explains.

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Digital Education new edition out now!

Did you know that today is International Ada Lovelace Day? Information about this, online poetry, journalism and novel writing, may be found in our latest newsletter. It’s a relatively short “interim” edition, but it’s still packed with lots of wholesome goodness!

Here’s the full list of contents:

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My Top 5 Programming Apps, By Adam Foster

Adam FosterIf your students use iPads in lessons, what apps could you use in order to help them learn programming? In this article, Adam Foster, aka @iPadTeachers, describes his top 5 apps and how he selected them.

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20 things new teachers need to know about the technology in their school

IT OfficerSo, you'll be starting teaching soon, whether on teaching practice or in your first job. What should you try to find out in advance, as far as the education technology is concerned? Here is a general, though by no means definitive, list.

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Audiovisual heritage: media archives and how best to use them, By Theo Kuechel

Theo illustrationThere are literally millions of free media resources for use in education. Theo Kuechel introduces some of them, with suggestions on how they might be used not only within the Computing curriculum but also more generally.

I was delighted to read, via an email from Terry, (our editor), that UNESCO has announced a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage to be held on the 27th of October this year. This timely initiative seeks to draw attention to the urgent need to preserve the worlds audiovisual heritage of film, television and sound recordings. Why this so important is graphically illustrated

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Digital Education Out Now!

Self-portrait with coloured pencilsSome news from Terry Feedman...

The October 2014 edition of Digital Education, the free ezine for those with a professional interest in educational ICT and Computing, was published a few days ago.

There are articles on research, a couple of cynical articles (Ambrose Bierce said that a cynic is someone who sees things as they are, and not as they ought to be!), and much more, covering digital literacy, computing, assessment and management stuff. Here’s the full list:

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Assessing without Levels

poll.jpgSince the Government in England announced that Levels aren't fit for purpose, and so shouldn't be used, lots of people have come forward with their own ideas. With the old system of Levels, the description of each Level was given. You didn't have to think about what Level to give a student who could do certain things: all you had to do was look at the Level descriptors, find the one that was the best fit, and that was it: job done.

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My grim and distant techie past: the uni years, part 2

banda sheets detailedIn this occasional series, I am outlining the sort of technology I’ve been obliged to use at various stages of my life. On the whole, I think things are much easier now than they have been at any time in the past, especially for teachers. When I did my first degree, for instance, photocopiers produced poor quality copies, very slowly, and at an exorbitant cost. (I wrote about this in the article My grim and distant techie past: the uni years, part 1.) These days, you can buy a multifunction printer for less than £30 (under $50), and have a photocopier, in effect, right there on your desk at home, producing copies for a few pennies each.

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A rights rip-off


Review of SMART Amp, by Ellie Gregson

SMART Amp is an application designed to facilitate collaboration across a range of devices. Ellie Gregson, a Year 10 student, discusses what was good, and what was not so good, about its introduction into her lessons.

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Assessing project-based learning in Computing

John PartridgeHow do you assess project-based learning? John Partridge explains how he has approached this issue.

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The Computing Curriculum: Suffolk's Interpretation

Kathryn Day Kathryn Day describes how she and her colleagues have approached the teaching of the Computing Programme of Study in Suffolk, England.

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Digital Education “Interim” Edition Out Now!

I’ve just published an ‘interim’ edition of Digital Education, the free newsletter for people with a professional interest in educational ICT and Computing. Here’s what it contains:

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Ideas for the computing curriculum: #3 Be self-referential

ideaIn this series I’m going to be making some suggestions, putting out some ideas. These are based on presentations I’ve given. I can think of how these ideas, or their implications, might be applied in the classroom. However, I think it better if I stand back and let you do that part of the work!

I know that this is counterintuitive, but what if you devised an activity to teach programming or computational thinking, but instead of of just telling the kids what to do, you make them solve a problem first – by applying computational thinking or some elementary programming?

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