Code Week EU 2018

“Everybody in the world should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think”— Steve Jobs

Next week is the start of Code Week EU 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 content that can energise the teaching of computing in your school.

EU Code Week is a grass-root movement run by volunteers who promote coding in their countries as Code Week Ambassadors. Anyone – schools, teachers, libraries, code clubs, businesses, public authorities – can organise a #CodeEU event and you can even add it to the codeweek.eu map to show your support.

Coding is for all, not just for programmers. It’s a matter of creativity, of 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, having a high level of focus can improve any part of your life!

Our National Curriculum computing programmes of study tells 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.

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 have 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 is 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”

J2code offers a range of coding languages to enable to explore coding, each coding language offers three detailed lesson plans, each designed as a starting point for a series of lessons. Children new to coding, whether at year 1 or year 2, will need to work through the basics, starting with lesson 1. Year 2 children should be able to move through the first two lessons much more quickly.

At the end of each lesson plan there are suggestions for further activities. It will help the children’s learning experience if they are given plenty of time for consolidation and adaption of skills learnt before moving on to the next lesson plan. J2Code is designed to be open ended rather than prescriptive in order to encourage children’s creativity and problem-solving skills.

To help both teachers and students Just 2 Easy tool suite have included a glossary for the various computational terminology used, there is also a link to this in each lesson plan.

JIT is a turtle-based coding language in which you can code freely or use spite and background templates to create simple animations for KS1.

Visual is a block based coding language in which you can freely code to create more complex coding outcomes for Upper KS1 and KS2.

Logo is a script-based platform that you use to complex procedures perfect for upper KS2 and can be used in KS3.

Just 2 Easy tool suite also offers a block based or script based platform for the micro:bit what is great about this platform is that it offers 3 levels of differentiation, adding operators, variables and procedures, when needed.

J2data enables schools to meet the data handling requirements of the national Computing curriculum for KS1, KS2 and KS3. Starting with the youngest learners using pictogram, then progressing through chart, branch and database, there is a tool appropriate for every age from 4 years up.All the coding and data handling files can be sent to the Blogging platform built into the Tool suite System. This unique element significantly enhances the scope for broadening the audience and enables students to peer review each other’s code.

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.

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 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.

Computing Inspector and advisor for Hampshire Inspection and Advisory Service Phil Bagge talks about using coding schemes of work:

 “I often start with examining the module and asking what computational thinking and problem-solving attitudes it is building I then explore ways that they might adapt that planning, chopping the instructions up, asking the students to predict what parts will do before they use them”

Looking for a creative way to introducing coding to KS2? Space Adventures is unique and engaging cross curricular resource is 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 threats the ability of our intrepid astronaut Tazz to return safely back to earth. Will her on board 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 my 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 4/5 with unit 2 being aimed at more experienced pupils who will have a good exciting 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 Scratch file for teachers to explore.

It is important 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’

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 on our world today and shape our tomorrow.

The resource features:

  • Unique video and photographic resources from the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.
  • An 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 is used to support a broad range of complete lesson activities to cover Key Stage 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.

Here are two quick examples of how I modified the lesson plans within the unit “A Brave new world” for a year 5 group with little or no experience of computing.

First let’s look at the lesson about building a computer, My students  used an animation app called Chatterpix Kids (but you could use Morfo or our very own j2e5) to create simple animations of parts of a computer in which the animation tells you what the part does in relation to the whole computer.

My second example is with the Code breaking lesson, I used the lesson plan and video to explain the historical significance of code breaking and then used ‘the explaining binary resources’ from the wonderful website CSunplugged for children to explore how computers use a special type of code to communicate with each other.

Alongside 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.

‘These new updates reflect a broader range of women that have contributed to the development of computational thought in Britain. Each have their own unique story to tell within the societal context of the time, many of which were genuine trailblazers in progressing thinking and practice at the time’

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 resource which you can find here.

You could also use the many free resources found within Barefoot Computing Project These resources will help you improve subject knowledge and understanding within computing. Giving clear definitions, examples and progression across all primary school age and ability ranges.

We would love to see and share your amazing Code week EU projects, you can post them on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #codeweek

World Space Week – October 4 – 10 2018

World Space week runs from the 4th – 10th October, and is an international celebration of all things Space and focuses on science and technology and its role in the past, present and future of mankind, a way of not only promoting the work that countries do together to explore space but also how important space technology is to life on earth.

The theme for UN-declared World Space Week 2018 will be “Space Unites the World,” and “will celebrate the role of space in bringing the world closer together,” said WSWA President Dennis Stone.

There are a number of resources for educators to use during the week from the official World Space Week website.

If you haven’t used it yet, this week would be a perfect time to launch Space Adventures, this unique and engaging cross curricular resource is 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 on board computer be enough to get her back safely or will she need to draw on her maths and science knowledge and understanding? You can watch a trailer below:

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.

J2e have a range of tools that can be used within Space week, the children could use any of the tools in j2write, to complete research into the planets, space and the Solar System as well as creating fact files on famous astronauts. They could also use JIT to explore branching databases, sorting aliens.

J2code has a range of resources and examples that can be used.

JIT is a turtle based coding language in which you can code freely or use spite (Or more then one spite using advanced mode) and background templates to create simple short based animations for KS1.

Visual is a block based coding language in which you can freely code to create more complex coding outcomes for KS2, including for example,  creating a space themed game:

Busy Things also have a range of labelling and fact sheet templates covering the Solar System and Space that can be used in class for KS1 and KS2, whilst younger children can get creative with designing their own spaceship.

You can find lesson plans and activities from Switched on Science – The Out of this world Unit for Year 5 is perfect to use during World Space Week.

If you are running an event in school, you can register this on the World Space week website as well as finding a whole range of resources including: A Space nutrition activity sheet and an activity leaflet from Tim Peake.

This picture which was first posted on Twitter shows all the planets in on picture – Pluto is included and the picture is not to scale, however I think it would make an excellent introduction to the topic of Space as well as being great on display – you can see the original painting here.

Stem learning have a range of resources that can be used during Space Week, with just a few materials, building a paper model of the International Space Station (ISS) can become a class project. The resource contains a brief overview of the ISS, its parts, the science that occurs on board, instructions, and extension fact sheets. Learn about the ISS, explore fun facts, simulate building the station, and learn about the international partners.

Is there anyone out there? This resource was funded by the UK Space Agency and developed by ESERO-UK and CIEC Promoting Science. It is based upon the quest to discover more about the solar system through space projects such as the European Space Agency’s Aurora programme, and NASA’s Curiosity mission seeking to gather evidence of life on the planet Mars. The students take on the role of space scientists or space engineers to discover more about Mars. The activities in this resource are designed for students aged 9-12 years.The activities are organised into three themes: life, landscape and landing. Activities in the life and landscape themes are suitable for students aged 9 to 11.

You can find all the resources here, including getting your students to train like an astronaut in P.E.

Your class could even borrow the moon!

The STFC Lunar Rocks and Meteorites Loan Scheme has been running since the mid 1980s. It has lent the NASA Moon rock discs and meteorites to thousands of schools, museums and outreach organisers. You can find out how to apply here. The site also has a vast range of resources from the National Space centre suitable for ages 5-18.

The Moon Camp Challenge is a new interdisciplinary school project that invites students, aged 8 to 19, to team up and design their own human base on the Moon, a ‘Moon Camp’. The project will allow students to use exciting and innovative learning technologies, such as 3D modelling, to explore the extreme environment of space, in particular on the Moon, to better understand how environment affects habitability.

The first Moon Camp Challenge will run in the school year 2018/19. It will be launched during World Space Week 2018 and it will continue throughout 2019, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.  In the future, to enable astronauts to stay on the Moon for long periods of time, new infrastructures have to be developed to solve important challenges; protection from radiation and meteorites, energy production, the extraction and recycling of water, food production and much more. The Moon Camp Challenge invites students to become Moon explorers and decode some of the complexities future astronauts may face.

The Moon Camp Challenge is an educational and inspirational programme run in collaboration between ESA and the Airbus Foundation, featuring preparatory classroom activities that focus on learning-by-design and science experimentation. Students will have to develop a number of scientific experiments related to the Moon and apply their acquired knowledge to design their own Moon Camp using a 3D modelling tool (Tinkercad or Fusion 360).

The participating teachers and students will be invited to participate in webinars with space experts and then share their designs online. A jury of experts will select the best projects.

Participation is open to teams of students aged 8-19 through two entry paths: ESA Member States or Associate Member States, and worldwide. Teams will also be able to choose between two different difficulty levels. Teams must be supported by a teacher or an educator.

The BBC have a great range of clips around Space, including this collection from CBeebies great for using with younger students and includes Dr Brian Cox reading The way back home by Oliver Jeffers.

VirtualiTeach – a non profit site dedicated to all things AR and VR in Education have produced a great blog post entitled Space: The Virtual Frontier, it features a list of 20 experiences across four categories: AR apps, 360 videos on YouTube, mobile VR apps and full VR experiences from Steam.

Discovery Education Espresso is giving primary schools access to fantastic free resources, helping teachers to bring the wonders of space into the classroom. Taking children on a fascinating tour across the universe, the resources include interactive videos, lesson plans and activities, closely mapped to the National Curriculum. From visiting observatories to looking deep into our solar system, to tracking cosmic firestorms, meteors and shooting stars, these exciting free resources will engage younger children with space science. They’ll also help pupils to see the bigger picture, as they learn about the future of space travel and life on other planets. With spectacular clips from television network Discovery Science, and contributions from world famous astronomer Professor Richard Ellis, children will learn about space in a fun and accessible way.

The resources also include a special World Space Week lesson plan: Beyond Planet Earth – A Virtual Space Experience, culminating in an out-of-this-world virtual reality tour of the universe.

Remember we would love to see your work for World Space week – you can share via our Twitter and Facebook page #WSW2018

 

 

 

J2e new features added

Just 2 Easy have announce not one but two updates to their popular suite of tools.

The first update is to JIT: Junior Infant Toolkit, part of the Just2easy Toolsuite which has a range of digital tools to help introduce basic computing skills such as word processing, animation, graphing, coding and digital publishing. The online infant toolkit allows the following features – all linked via the LGfL USO log in:

  • Word processing
  • Animation
  • Graphing
  • Painting
  • Pictogram
  • Turtle control
  • Mix of all the above into an online document

We are really excited to say that this popular program has had some new features added!

Pupils can now paint or fill using textures as well as solid colours, the colour picker and pen sizing have all been improved and an eraser has also been added.  You can see these new features in the picture below.

 

Speech bubbles and text can now be added to painting or animations, vastly improving the learning possibilities, enabling story boards to be created across a range of curriculum subjects. A new stamp feature takes the creativity on to new levels, you now have the ability to not only create your own stamps but these are then all saved in a new My Stamps area and these can then be used across the JIT progam.

Internet search has also been added to the JIT program – this is a safe search with copyright filters in place.

You can see all the features in action by watching the short video below

The second update is to Visual part of j2Code, adding a new sprite in visual is now even easier, 3 tabs have been added and you can choose from my pictures (pictures stored within your own files on j2e), shared files any pictures that have been shared with you and a web search.  Using the web search you can either search for all images, faces, pictures and clip art, once you have search for an image you can then set it as your background, making it easier to add backgrounds into visual.

If adding a new sprite from clip art, there are a new set of commands with added directions so that you can set the direction you want the sprite to move.

The video below explains the new added improvements:

 

We would love to hear what you think of these new features or if you have any examples that you would like to share with us on how you have made use of the new features via our Twitter or Facebook pages.

5 Ways to support Computing

Introducing another in the 5 ways series of resources to help you access LGfL content quickly and help your students learn more.

The aim of 5 ways is to showcase five ways to use LGfL resources across the curriculum that you can take and use and share for example, they can be shared in the staff room, at INSET sessions and also given to parents so that they can support their children’s learning at home.

5 Ways to support Computing

Busy Things

Busy Things includes a wide range of digital resources and fun interactive activities linked to the computing curriculum for use in EYFSKS1 and KS2.

IT tools such as Busy Publisher and Busy Paint can help children to develop their basic IT skills whilst doing project work:

You can test algorithmic thinking and debugging skills with “Path Peril”, always a firm favourite in class:

Fun and interactive games like “Body Boggle” and “Tree Keys” are great for practising mouse and keyboard skills:

 

“Busy Graph Maker” can be used to answer you data handling needs:

And remember, you can search both via subject and topic using the curriculum browser – just select the computing strand to see more great interactive activities!

Coming soon: From September LGfL users will be able to access a NEW Busy Code area including lots of fun coding tutorials activities and challenges!

 

J2code

J2code, part of the award winning platfrom j2e offers a range of coding languages to enable all students to explore coding:

JIT is a turtle based coding language in which you can code freely or use spite (Or more then one spite using advanced mode) and background templates to create simple stort based animations for KS1.

Visual is a block based coding language in which you can freely code to create more complex coding outcomes for KS2, you can see examples here.

Logo is a script based platform that you use to complex procedures perfect for upper KS2 and can be used as a transition platform for KS3.

J2e also offers a block based or script based platform for the micro:bit, what is great about this platform is that it offers 3 levels of differentiation, adding operators, variables and procedures, when needed.

Each coding language offers three detailed lesson plans, each designed as a starting point for a series of lessons. Children new to coding, whether at year 1 or year 2, will need to work through the basics, starting with lesson 1. Year 2 children should be able to move through the first two lessons much more quickly.

At the end of each lesson plan there are suggestions for further activities. It will help the children’s learning experience if they are given plenty of time for consolidation and adaption of skills learnt before moving on to the next lesson plan. J2Code is designed to be open ended rather than prescriptive in order to encourage children’s creativity and problem-solving skills.

To help both teachers and students J2E have included a glossary for the various computational terminology used, there is also a link to this in each lesson plan.

All the coding work created within any of the coding platforms can be sent to the Blogging platform built into the Creative ToolKit System. This unique element significantly enhance the scope for broadening the audience for the students Coding and facilitates peer review.

Space Adventures

This unique and engaging cross curricular resource is 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 threats the ability of our intrepid astronaut Tazz to return safely back to earth. Will her on board 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 my 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 4 with unit 2 being aimed at more experienced pupils who will have a good exciting 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 Scratch file for teachers to explore.

There is even a selection were you make your own rocket and launch it using a Micro:Bit as a internal Data Logger!

History of Computing

This 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 on our world today and shape our tomorrow.

The resource features:

Unique video and photographic resources from the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

– Offering an 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 material is used to support a broad range of complete lesson activities to cover Key Stage 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.

Here are two quick examples of how you can use the lesson plans within the unit “A Brave new world”

Using the building a computer lesson Get your students  to create an animation (you could use an app called Chatterpix Kids or use Morfo or our very own j2e5) to create simple animations of parts of a computer in which the animation tells you what the part does in relation to the whole computer.

The second example is with the Code breaking lesson, Simply use the lesson plan and video to explain the historical significance of code breaking and then use ‘the explaining binary resources’ from the wonderful website CSunplugged for children to explore how computers use a special type of code to communicate with each other.

Python Tutor

Over 25 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.

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.

All videos within the tutorials are downloadable and can be used outside of the resource, one way of using this would be to allow all students to complete the standalone lesson, but then let the students have freedom to impairment the key concepts but for a different purpose, creating their own projects.

We will also be running 5 ways as short training sessions, so if you are a subject leader or are running a leader’s forum, why not get in contact with us to talk about having 5 ways as part of your CPD programme.

Over the next couple of months, we will be adding to the series, but would love to hear your thoughts! What 5 ways would help you get the most out of LGfL resources?

Please let us know via our Twitter or Facebook pages or in the comments section of this blog using the hashtag #5ways