Get the Programming Itch

From September 2014, all maintained schools in England will be required to teach the new Computing curriculum at key stages 1-4. For the past 18 months I have been working closely with Primary ICT staff in the Faculty of Education to introduce module changes that reflect the new curriculum for key stages 1 and 2.

My first task was to help clarify parts of the computer science terminology for staff. Secondly, I identified what our trainee teachers were currently being taught and how this could be mapped to the proposed changes. This also brought to light what would be needed in terms of additional teaching resources and support.

I created a series of short Scratch Programming tutorials that utilised what trainees had already learned in other programming languages (e.g. Logo). This way, trainees could become familiar with the Scratch environment, which had become one of the preferred development tools due to its inclusion with the Raspberry Pi, whilst performing familiar tasks. The next step was to create a more in-depth tutorial based around a simple chase game which introduced concepts such as variables, events, timers, animation, conditional statements and basic AI.

Scratch

The tutorial was broken down into a series of exercises, each of which built on the skills and knowledge learned in the previous tutorials allowing trainees to develop their level of competency.

This academic year, both undergraduate and postgraduate trainee teachers have been taught using these resources and the ICT Development Team have been providing additional support.

During the summer break, if you’ve got the itch for computer programming why not try Scratch. http://scratch.mit.edu/help/videos/

James Wainwright
ICT Developer
ICT Development Team