Computing at Our Lady Star of the Sea
At Our Lady Star of the Sea, our aim is to provide children with a relevant, useful and exciting computing curriculum that helps develop skills they will find useful in later life. Children learn about how computers work, develop programming skills and will use computers, tablets and other technology creatively. As the technology landscape is ever changing, we aim to keep teaching up-to-date and relevant and help children to be flexible, adaptable learners.
Throughout their time at our school, the children develop skills in digital literacy, information technology and computer science – this includes knowledge about algorithms, decomposition (breaking problems down into smaller chunks), abstraction (identifying the key, salient points of a problem), generalisation (identifying patterns) and evaluation (establishing how effective something is and adapting if necessary). Children also learn about how computer networks work.
We put a large focus on e-safety and the first lesson of each half term in every year group is to do with e-safety. This rigorous approach to e-safety ensures that children are made aware of how to stay safe online and how to act responsibly when using computers or the internet. We use the South West Grid for Learning E-safety scheme throughout the school, which promotes responsible digital citizenship and makes children aware of issues such as their digital footprint, privacy, self-image and copyright. It also helps children identify and deal with issues such as cyberbullying and other online threats.
We use our own schemes of work, developed in conjunction with MGL, a local education and computing support company. The scheme of work incorporates resources and teaching ideas from computing experts such as Computing At School, CAS Barefoot, Primary Computing and CEOP. We subscribe to Discovery Education’s Espresso Coding resource, which is an online resource we use to teach children about block coding and simple HTML and python. Most computing lessons take place in the computer suite but some lessons take place in classrooms where children use one of our 30 iPads.
In each year group, children will study some computer science, which is about how computer systems work, some information technology, which involves programming and the use of computer systems and some digital literacy, which encompasses the creation of digital media using the computers and iPads. Children are given the opportunity to create and debug programs in order to solve problems.
In Year 1, children programme floor turtles and learn simple coding using Espresso Coding software. They also create, manipulate and combine digital images to make a collage about themselves using AutoCollage. Children also work towards their Espresso Computer Driving Licence, which involves learning about simple features of PCs and their uses. They will learn about the use of databases in libraries, supermarkets and banks through simulations and role play. Children learn the basics of operating systems and develop word processing skills.
In Year 2, children are introduced to Scratch Jr. and then Scratch, which they use to program simple animations. They also learn about combining text and graphics in digital media through programs such as 2Publish. Children are given the opportunity to make presentations about themselves using ThingLink or Explain Everything on the iPads or PowerPoint on PCs. Children continue to use Espresso Coding software to develop coding skills, this time in using keys on the keyboard to act as an input for their programs. Children use the build on the work they have done on programming floor turtles in Year 1 by working on programming Beebots to go through mazes and complete other tasks. Children also develop problem solving and programming skills using the Daisy Dino app. Children are taught about search engines and learn how to use the internet safely and effectively.
In Year 3, children further develop their work on Scratch, learning about how to add inputs to the programs they have created. When using the Espresso Coding software, they learn about sequences and animation and they do further work on animation when using the I Can Animate app. As part of their work on learning about how networks function, children go on tours of the school identifying the parts of the school network and they discuss how these all work together. In digital literacy units, children also learn how to make simple movies using Fotobabble and iMovie on the iPads too. Children are introduced to Google Sketch Up and design 3D models.
In Year 4, Scratch is used to teach children more about coding and children have the opportunity to create their own simple animations using the software. They also use the program in combination with Lego WeDo to link on-screen instructions to real life objects. Stop motion animation is introduced in Year 4 and children investigate how to tell a story using this technique. In the digital media element of Year 4, children use Epic Citadel and Comic Life on the iPads to create their own comic, using ideas developed in English lessons. Children are introduced to Kodu, an online coding application that gives them the opportunity to design worlds and program objects to move around their world. They also learn about simulations, mixing and creating music and making their own compositions using GarageBand.
In Year 5, children continue to develop programming skills through Scratch by programming physical systems. In coding lessons, children learn about how speed changes can be programmed on the screen. They also learn about how to introduce randomness to a program. In digital literacy, children create presentations about topics combining images, video and sound considering audience and purpose. Music lessons are combined with computing when children create music using GarageBand.
In Year 6, children use many of the skills developed during their time at Our Lady Star of the Sea and they build on these in open ended tasks. Children create quizzes and games for younger children related to their topic work and they use iMovie to create adverts as part of the class ‘Time For A Change’ enterprise projects. Developing what they learnt in Year 4, children create worlds using Kodu and program objects to move around their worlds responding to other variables on screen. Kodu is used to create racing games. Using the Espresso Coding resources, children are introduced to HTML and use this to make simple website about a topic they are studying.