Taking stock of the new Computer curriculum: 5 key questions

Fall 2011 Student Hackathon CodingNow that the new Computing curriculum in England has been running for nearly a term, it's a great time to stand back and take stock. Actually, I recommend doing that even if you are not in England and/or have not needed to change anything. Here's a list of 5 questions you might care to ask yourself:
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Computational thinking? Algorithms? Why all the jargon?

Creative Computing SymposiumThe new Computing Programme of Study has been criticised not only for its content, but also for the terminology it uses. In particular, it speaks about “computational thinking”, “algorithms” and “decomposition”. “Surely”, the argument goes, “they could have used ordinary everyday language?”

Had “they” decided to do that, there would no doubt have had so many people panicking about it all. So, it’s a compelling suggestion. It just happens to be wrong.

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The new Computing curriculum and its assessment is a great opportunity

(For the benefit of readers who don’t live in England, in September there will be a new Computing Programme of Study (ie the specification laid down in the National Curriculum), and schools no longer have to use “Levels” to assess pupils’ work.)

I was involved in a conference about preparing for the new computing curriculum recently (see Planning for the new Computing curriculum), and one of the delegates asked me:

“But what are we supposed to do about assessment now?”

“Well”, I replied. “Regard it as an opportunity.”

Cue guffaws of laughter.

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Preparing for the new Computing curriculum: what if #4

The new Computing curriculum is little more than a checklist. But what it lacks in detail, especially regarding progression, it more than makes up for in terms of the freedom it affords schools to interpret the new Programme of Study in a way that suits them.

With that in mind, have you ever researched your own area

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11 Reasons to collaborate with other schools in implementing the new Computing Programme of Study

1942 ... Rosie the Riveter!John Donne wrote that no man is an island; he might have said the same thing about schools. Many schools have a mindset perhaps best described as “splendid isolation” – except that there is nothing splendid about it. In fact, in many cases it is just plain daft.  Here are my reasons for saying so.
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Preparing for the new Computing curriculum: what if #2

PLAN AI am a member of Computing At School, and every day someone uploads a new scheme of work for the new programme of study. IT’s fantastic to have so much good stuff to choose from. It’s also a bit overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start in the first place.
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Preparing for the new Computing curriculum: what if #1

PLAN AI believe a lot of people are worried by the forthcoming Computing Programme of Study, judging by the number of people I’ve spoken to who say they have not yet begun to think about it. And that is quite understandable. Although looked at from one point of view it is more of a change in emphasis from the old one, there is also a lot more required in terms of computer programming and related matters. Schemes of work will need to be modified – I don’t think they should need to be completely rewritten if you have been teaching to the old ICT programme of study properly. This is the first in a series of posts that aim to encourage you to think about the new programme of study, perhaps in a new way. It is based around a keynote talk I gave a short while ago.
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We don’t need no official scheme of work for Computing

It is my fervent hope that Computing At School (CAS) does not update its Computing scheme of work, that Naace does not update its own scheme of work, and that the two organisations do not produce a joint scheme of work. This is not to disparage the work they have done so far, including a very useful document giving joint CAS-Naace guidance on dealing with the new Programme of Study. Indeed, it’s my belief that between them they will produce an excellent scheme of work which raises my concerns.
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Good riddance to levels in ICT and Computing

P1020520Who’s afraid of life without Levels? Quite a few people if the number of schemes of work and assessment grids being developed that incorporate levels are anything to go by. Working without levels is clearly very hard: it is almost impossible to think, much less talk, about pupils’ progress without mentioning levels at some stage.

Yet this is precisely what the government expects.

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Preparing for the new Computing Curriculum

Please note: the Westminster Forum Conference on Preparing for the new Computing Curriculum

listed in the post entitled Some useful-looking conferences takes place on the 26th February, and not the 14th as originally stated. Apologies!

The agenda and other details of the conference may be found here.

7 Criteria for evaluating a computing scheme of work

curriculum perspectivesNow that it’s certain that here in England we will have a computing curriculum to follow in September 2014, many people are going to be writing schemes of work. Whether you are a producer or a consumer in this regard, I think you will find the following evaluation criteria useful.
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