Computing and Technology
Core aims for Computing and Technology learning at Harlands
At Harlands we aim to foster a lifelong practical and positive attitude to problem solving that enables and empowers children to find creative solutions through both the use of computers and programming, and practical skills and material knowledge.
We achieve this aim through:
- computational thinking - such as the ordering of steps that need to be achieved in order for a solution / program to be successful
- logic and algorithms - understanding the central commands in computing such as ‘if’ ‘else’ and ‘when’ – in addition to other concepts such as variables, loops and routines – and how they can be used to form a sequence of commands (an algorithm)
- decomposition and abstraction - the ‘breaking up’ and simplification of large complex problems in order for them to become a number of smaller, more manageable challenges. For example, the problem ‘Make a powered boat’ might be simplified into ‘hull design’, ‘buoyancy’, ‘steering’ and ‘drive system’.
- cooperative working and solution finding - the human race’s ability to find incredible solutions to seemingly impossible challenges through collaboration and teamwork is one of our greatest talents
- the importance of evaluation in the design cycle, i.e. that once a solution appears to have been found or designed, it should be reviewed and its effectiveness tested. As the design process may then also include a re-design and further development of an improved version of the solution, resilience in the face of difficulty is also a key theme.
Organisation of the teaching of Computing
- The teaching of problem solving and abstraction permeates many areas of education outside computing-specific sessions at Harlands. It is self-evident in Maths or Science, and also experienced when children work in groups to collaborate on a display, a piece of art, a drama piece or work as a team on the sports field.
- Computer specific sessions in our ICT Suite are typically scheduled weekly. Tablet computers and laptops are also used in the classrooms. In Computing children learn to code using a variety of ‘drag and drop’ computer languages such as Espresso Coding, Scratch and Blockly.
- Termly children will take part in sessions that are designed to enable them to become good ‘digital citizens’, including input on how to keep safe when using the internet (e.g. managing peer pressure and the demands placed on them by social media as they get older, how to prevent online data being accessed by unauthorised persons and how to conduct themselves online for the benefit of all).
Organisation of the teaching of Technology
- Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2 projects allow creativity and invention while the children learn the skills necessary to design, measure cut and join materials. In upper Key Stage 2 children design and engineer their own solutions.
- Design Technology has been incorporated into our Arts Carousel across the school, enabling the children to take part in a ‘flagship’ project once a year.
- Cross-curricular learning in Design Technology takes place for example when building the set for a school performance or investigating a scientific phenomenon.
Where Design Technology and Computing blur into one…
It is increasingly common for pupils to devise solutions to problems that their teachers set that involve both the engineering of design technology and the coding of computing. At Harlands, we seek to promote and support these ideas through the use of programmable project boards such as the ‘Code Bug’, ‘micro:bit’ and ‘Raspberry pi’.
Skills Development and Assessment
The development of problem solving ability in the context of design technology and computing is a long process, mainly underpinned by the provision of a gradual progressive scheme for programming in Espresso coding. These sessions are designed to teach the children, at their own speed, the fundamentals – which are then developed and extended when transferring their knowledge to another platform such as the ‘Scratch’ language.
- In Year 4, the children are offered the opportunity to advance their programming skills after school in ‘Code Club’.
- Upper Key Stage 2 work with local engineering firms and scientists each year to develop a project during Mid-Sussex Science Week.
- Year 6 pupils have the opportunity to get involved with the Goblin Kit Car project, a project where the pupils first build, then refine and race their own 24v electric powered car in a series of events across the South East of England.
- Please click here for further information.
- Find out about espresso coding (even give it a go!) - http://www.discoveryeducation.co.uk/what-we-offer/discovery-education-coding
- Download and start learning to code with Scratch here: https://scratch.mit.edu/
- Greenpower (Goblin Kit Car) information: https://www.greenpower.co.uk/