The BBC micro:bit

I returned from the Easter break to find 4 huge parcels containing 280 BBC micro:bits (one for each Y7 in school.  This is tremendously exciting!  I’ve had my teacher bit for, erm, a bit and have loved playing around with it, as has my 6 year old daughter and her friends (a small plea – MORE of this sort of thing please BBC – lots of other year groups and especially primary teachers would LOVE these resources).

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Little Miss Colley and friends investigating the micro:bit.

The Y7 micro:bit pioneers club have been writing some excellent programs such as a compass, a real life snakes & ladders and a magic 8 ball too.

Now it’s time to start introducing all of Y7 to their new devices.  We’ve made the decision to keep the micro:bits in school whilst we work through the 4 lesson scheme of work and give them out at the end once pupils have become more familiar with the devices and (hopefully) some fires have been lit.

As usual, I’ve been busy creating resources, so here are:

My YouTube playlists:

My microbit website profile – basically all the scripts that I have written.

The scheme of work and lesson resources.

SSAT Computing Conference 2014

Thanks to everyone at #SSATComp14 for a warm welcome at my first conference presentation.  My workshop was about the Y7 binary converter scheme of work that I have been developing for teaching from Sep 2014.  I had an absolute blast, and here are my key learning points from the day:

1. Computing isn’t just programming, it’s a blend of ICT, digital citizenship and Computer Science.  This excellent document form Computing at School is a good reference point.

2. You won’t get it right first time – the new curriculum is there to be played with and tweaked. Think of it as a beta release.

3. What are your (up to) 10 key ideas about Computing – design your curriculum around those and you won’t go far wrong.

4. You are not alone, there are lots of other people in the same boat or a bit further down the line.  Some of these people are on twitter, where lots of valuable discussion take place.  If you are one of the people that I bullied persuaded to sign up on the day and you’re not too sure where to start, then just follow Miles Berry (@mberry).  He’s like the Kevin Bacon of the Computing curriculum – he’s connected to everyone. Look at who he interacts with, follow a few of them and you can’t go far wrong!  See my resources page for my stuff and a list of my recommendations for resources made by others.  Once you see what others are doing it will fire your creativity and get you thinking about where you could take it.

5. Own your curriculum. Yes, I share my resources, a lot of which have been adapted from other people’s. I wouldn’t recommend that you use my resources out of the box, tweak and adapt for your school and your pupils.  You know them best after all.

6. Don’t think that every lesson has to involve computers – it’s about solving human problems and sometimes simulations and abstractions can get in the way of that.

7. Big data is ace! Nuff said.

For those who were there (or not), here are my slides, and a link to all of the resources from the scheme of work.  Any WWW/EBI comments about the session or the resources would be more than welcome.

 

 

 

 

KS3 ICT/Computing Resources – A ShaREvolution

I’m a huge believer in sharing good practise and working with other teachers to develop quality lesson plans and resources.  This probably stems from my preference to wander the corridors searching for some poor lucky soul with whom to chat about and refine ideas.  The idea that I can share a questioning framework before school that can be used instantly by teachers around the world is not only exciting, but an incredibly powerful argument for the teaching of digital literacy & citizenship.

I’ve been sharing my resources with various ICT teachers around the world for a while using DropBox, but @MrLockyer has turned it into something bigger. He has become Lord of the Dropbox and organised several collaborative spaces for sharing resources.  I’m a member of the #KS34ICTDropbox and #SLTdropbox, but here is a full list on Stephen’s blog.  If you aren’t a Dropbox member, you can sign up here (I get a few extra mb of storage if you use this link, so if you don’t want to do it that way, use this one instead).

Anyway, to avoid instantly filling everyone’s storage limit on Dropbox, I’ve created a simple document that links to all of my schemes of work, projects and assessment materials for Years 7,8 and 9.  Please feel free to plunder, but with Creative Commons Non Commercial and Attribution restrictions.  Enjoy, sign up to share your own stuff, and let me know how you get on.

EDIT – With the advent of the new Computing curriculum, I have adapted and reworked lots of the content in my KS3 SOW.  Links to the latest resources can be found on the Computing Resources page of my site.