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EU Code Week 2022 with LGfL Computing resources 🤖

 

In just over 2 weeks  Code Week EU 2022 starts, EU Code Week is a grass-roots movement that celebrates creativity, problem-solving and collaboration through programming and other tech activities. The idea is to make programming more visible, to show young, adults and the elderly how you bring ideas to life with code, to demystify these skills and bring motivated people together to learn.

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In 2021, 4 million people in more than 80 countries around the world took part in EU Code Week. The average participant was 11 years old and 49% of participants in 2021 were women or girls. 88% of EU Code Week events took place in schools, which shows that efforts to empower teachers during the 2021 campaign have been successful. 

Code week EU have created a range of resources to help you organise and run coding events easier, they have prepared different toolkits and selected some of the best lesson plans, guides and other resources which you can find here.

Join EU Code Week by organising a coding activity in your town, joining the Code Week 4 All Challenge and connecting activities across communities and borders, or helping us spread the vision of Code Week as an EU Code Week Ambassador for your country!

Coding is for all, not just for programmers. It’s a matter of creativity, computational thinking skills, of self-empowerment, nothing boosts your problem-solving skills like learning how to program a computer, learning to code boosts your attention to detail, and having a high level of focus can improve any part of your life!

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Our National Curriculum computing programmes of study tell us “A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world” Coding isn’t just the act of programming code to control a device, it’s about being able to identify and understand problems or needs in the real world and using innovative thinking and creativity alongside logic reasoning to improve the world around them.

Computing is about teaching students about what is behind their screens and boxes and how the modern world works. With this knowledge, they can begin to see the possibilities so that they can create innovations that could one day change the world.

As a Learning Resource Consultant alongside my general responsibilities, I also have the role of leading computing for LGfL. Many computing subject leaders tell me they need more support in getting Computer Science into an already bursting timetable, need support with upskilling teachers' skills and more help with providing resources that support teachers understanding of the computing curriculum. I am very happy to provide resources that have been designed to support computing leaders and the subject of computing in primary schools.

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If you are interested in bringing coding to your classroom but you don’t know where to start, do not worry as we have plenty of LGfL award-winning Energise curriculum content via our Computing resource page, that can invigorate your teaching of computing. If you haven't used LGfL’s Computing Resource Centre before, our Hub:

  • Offers guidance and support for computing leaders and the teaching of the computing curriculum.
  • Is a  'one-stop-shop' for all of LGfL’s computing resources joining together various resources from the portfolio, including a spotlight on computing.
  • Offers an example Scheme of Work for the subject of computing.
  • Offers an open-door policy for support via emails, calls and video calls giving computing leaders the support they need.
  • Provides free in-depth CPD sessions to further the teaching of Computing (3 sessions run termly = 9 per academic year)

Firstly let's look at some support for teacher skills, teaching the subject of computing can be tricky, especially the programming aspects, if you need support then do have a look at our range of rewind training, In the rewind series, the Inspire team offer recorded chapterised sessions of our live sessions so you can explore our resources and training at a time that suits you. 

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The ‘LGfL resources to support programming: Rewind session’ is a 60 + minutes free online course that will showcase how LGfL resources as well as other free resources available can support the teaching of Programming within your school, we will also explore best practices for teaching the subject of computing. An overview of  j2code, focusing on how to incorporate the digital tools into the curriculum. An overview of Busy Code resources found in Busy Things. An overview of the various computing/coding resources within LGfL, filmed live with no edits to give the feel of a live session, As a taster for the session please do watch this short chapter on what is programming.

 

I am also very happy to say our newly refreshed Computing Resource centre is also now online. This page is designed to help computing leaders by showcasing how LGfL resources support the computing curriculum; breaking down our award-winning content into the computing stands of Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy.

In the resource centre, you will also see a link to other organisations that are passionate about supporting computer leaders and the subject of computing, all of the external links provide outstanding support that is free to use and highly recommended by me.

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I know how hard it can be to keep up to date with current computing research so I have added a section in the computing resource centre that showcases research reports that will help build a better understanding of the current climate of computing.

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Finally, I have added a video section which showcases the cream of the crop of videos from LGfL TV with videos from our curriculum conferences that hopefully will inspire you to think about computing in a different way.

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Now onto students' resources, firstly, we have Spotlight on Computing a resource that “glues” together resources found in the Energise LGfL award-winning portfolio of curriculum resources. Computing Spotlight is not a scheme of work but has been designed as a way of introducing core concepts and helping teachers and students understand the basics of computing with simple-to-follow lessons.

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This resource focuses on the core computing concepts introduced in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2: Sequence, Repetition, Selection, Events and Variables. Each unit has three lessons made in Powerpoint and provides an idea to form the fourth lesson.

The idea of each of these units is to introduce the computing concept first with an unplugged lesson. Unplugged coding aims to teach programming concepts through the use of games or activities that can be done offline using tangible objects, such as paper and marker pens. The activities allow children to participate in kinesthetic opportunities that help them relate the concepts they are learning in their own lives.

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The next part is a guided lesson using a computer and focuses on using Busy Code found in Busy Things The students are introduced to coding and taught the fundamentals of how to create, run and debug simple programs. In other words, they can have lots of fun making Busy Things’ Beard Man walk and dance!

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Code Disco is a great way for children to learn coding basics through repeat loops, conditionals, events and variables. The programs are built by linking simple blocks together, with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop feature. The lessons are broken down into three parts and are scaffolded, supportive and perfect for beginners to block coding.

  • Tutorials – simple and fun – introducing new programming concepts step by step.
  • Challenges – children are given problems to solve using the concepts that have been introduced in the tutorials.
  • Projects – open-ended tasks that let children experiment with the concepts they have learnt;  allowing them to be creative and see how the changes they make can alter the program.

The third part of the unit is a more open lesson where your students can explore the computing concept in more depth using the J2e Toolsuite coding platform j2code. This award-winning coding resource offers four differentiated platforms; within Spotlight on Computing we focus on two parts of the j2code platform:

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JIT Turtle - is aimed at the youngest learners and starts to introduce all of the important concepts of programming and is used in the first lesson in the Computing Spotlight. Pupils begin by simply clicking an on-screen turtle or sprite to move it, turn it or put a pen up or down. As well as moving the sprite it builds up a simple program as a series of commands in a separate window. As a user becomes more confident they can move to an advanced mode where the turtle does not perform the actions until the program is run. This is a perfect compliment to motorised floor turtles or other activities

Visual – The visual programming language is a familiar, block-based programming tool. Starting with the simplest of programs, pupils can progress to a high level of sophistication which will keep them engaged and motivated. There are three differentiated levels which enable pupils to work independently without unnecessary clutter and distraction of script that they do not understand or need.

I spoke to Danny Young the Managing Director of Just2easy about the importance of learning to code and children developing digital skills.

“Being digitally literate is becoming increasingly important for the future of our children and Just2easy has 2 offerings to help in that regard, j2code is a set of differentiated coding engines designed for ages 3 to 13, we made sure that there was no need to have software to install and everything is accessed via your USO login.  We also designed j2data which offers a different take on digital literacy, focusing on the data aspects, in particular, sorting, filtering and searching data”

In Spotlight at the end of each unit, I have added an extension activity for students to continue to use the particular computing concepts for another lesson which can link to other areas of the curriculum. For example, using Visual and the concepts of inputs in j2code to create an interactive water cycle.

A new addition to the j2code portal is Hive-hackers library of lessons, The idea of Hive Hackers is to give teachers step-by-step guidance through the basics of teaching coding. It will show you how you can teach sequencing, loops, conditionals, debugging, and much more besides.

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It includes detailed lesson plans and teacher guides and assumes no prior knowledge of coding whatsoever. Hive hackers originated in the UK Channel Islands as an initiative from professional services firm Price Waterhouse Coopers ( PwC) as part of their corporate social responsibility program. They wrote the resources to work seamlessly with the Just2easy coding tools as these were already in use in the Islands. In 2022, permission was kindly given to distribute the Hive Hackers resources to all Just2easy users. You may well want to start with the "supporting materials", which include a detailed scheme of work.

Looking for a creative way of introducing coding to KS2? Space Adventures is a unique and engaging cross-curricular resource based around an original story commissioned by LGfL by the award-winning author Cath Howe.

It features dramatic video content and a virtual reality experience linked to the narrative. The aim is to draw the learner into the turn of events that threatens the ability of our intrepid astronaut Tazz to return safely back to earth. Will her onboard computer be enough to get her back safely or will she need to draw on her maths and science knowledge and understanding? The resource features a comprehensive set of resources for Maths, literacy and Science and a Computing unit created by Max Wainwright, author of the popular espresso coding resource for primary schools.

There are two units, which are designed to teach computing concepts in line with the Computing Curriculum, Unit 1 is aimed at Year 5 with unit 2 is aimed at more experienced pupils who will have existing coding skills, there are six lessons in each unit. Each lesson contains:

  • A presentation that can be used by the teacher with the class on an IWB.
  • An introduction video.
  • A video demonstrating the code used within the lesson.
  • A step-by-step PDF.
  • Extension Activities
  • An example of a Scratch file for teachers to explore

Python Tutor and Web Tech tutor offers 50 coding projects presented in single simple stand-alone lessons. Students' understanding is initially developed at a conceptual level by allowing them to drag and drop parts of the code, but later they can refine their skills with specific code creation in activities.

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Students watch a short introductory video. Which presents a key coding concept or problem. They then can carry out a series of related short tasks using the software, after each task is complete, the software will then present the next task in the unit.

When using these resources, it is important to understand that simply using this resource in isolation will not give your students the depth and breadth of computational skills needed to become independent Computational thinkers. Using and moving code within these resources does create a solid scaffold for students to explore unfamiliar concepts and gives them quick on-screen results but it’s important for students to have the freedom to create code outside of this scaffold, the idea of the resource is not to “copy code” but to gain practical knowledge of key concepts.

It is vital to remind ourselves that introducing young people to coding gives them an appreciation of what can be built with technology. Our students are surrounded by devices controlled by computers in their everyday lives. To understand coding is to understand how our devices work, and being able to imagine new devices and services is essential to inspire and push our students to solve the problems of the future, it was with this idea we created ‘History of Computing’ In his forward to History of Computing, Doron Swade (MBE) Formerly Curator of Computing, and Assistant Director & Head of Collections, Science Museum, Tells us:

“The resource promotes the idea that by understanding our digital heritage we can better understand our digital future”

 

The History of Computing resource features unique materials to help understand how British computing developments have influenced the world we all live in. It also provides a wide range of materials to show how British innovation in Computing Continues to impact our world today and shape our tomorrow.

The resource features:

  • Unique video and photographic resources from the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.
  • Expert insight into the iconic British Computing systems from the past 70 years.
  • Curriculum material created by practising Computing teachers all mapped out the National Curriculum.

The video materials are used to support a broad range of complete lesson activities to cover Key Stages 2 to 5, however, teachers are encouraged to use and modify the suggested activities and tailor them to the needs of the students and curriculum.

Alongside the History of computing, we also have the Women in Computing resource which has been recently updated, WIC promotes the achievements of women in British Computing within the social context of the time, it explores the issue surrounding how and where their unique contributions have developed understanding within the computing industry and wider society.

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You could also use the many free resources found within Barefoot Computing Project As Barefoot Ambassador  I am proud to help showcase the amazing work the Barfoot team have done creating free resources that will help you improve your subject knowledge and understanding of computing. Barefoot resources give clear definitions, examples and progression across all primary school age and ability ranges.

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Barefoot Computing can also help you to deliver the computing curriculum brilliantly with free face-to-face workshops, helpful online guides and engaging lessons. or you can download cross-curricular lessons and resources that unpack computational thinking in almost every subject, saving you valuable time. Barefoot makes computing easy to teach and fun to learn, with or without a computer.

If you are a school that uses iPad then I would very much recommend using the 'Everyone Can Code curriculum' will guide you through Swift Playgrounds, an app that teaches coding for kids through a world of interactive puzzles and playful characters. It’s great for students aged eight and over, and will help you introduce coding in the same language used by professional app developers.

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When you teach code, you’re not only teaching the language of technology. You’re teaching new ways to think and bring ideas to life. And Apple has programmes to help you teach coding, whether you’re just starting or ready to get your students certified in Swift.

The Everyone Can Code guides help students understand the concepts behind the code, and on-device exercises let them practise coding and problem-solving. The student guides allow learners to work at their own pace, while the teacher guides help you support all your students, from extra help to extra work.

When you teach code, you’re not only teaching the language of technology. You’re teaching new ways to think and bring ideas to life. And Apple has programmes to help you teach coding, whether you’re just starting or ready to get your students certified in Swift.

We would love to see how you are going to use LGfL services and resources to help energise your student's learning, let us know by sharing your evidence of impact (it could be photos or students' work) via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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