Computing training event for School Direct trainees

On 19th October, school direct trainees visited Park Road Sale Primary School for their alliance-based computing training. Throughout the day, they developed an understanding of the national curriculum expectations for computing and approaches to teaching it.

In the morning, trainees took part in activities to deepen their own understanding of the terminology and concepts in computing. A highlight of the morning was exploring ways to teach children about algorithms through stacking cups and drawing crazy characters. Through looking at resources from Barefoot Computing, trainees learned about how to ensure children had the foundation skills needed to become computer programmers of the future. After a short break, trainees moved onto applying their knowledge from the morning and their university based computing session to developing a basic understanding of using scratch to teach computing. After this introduction to programming, trainees reflected on what they need to develop further before they approach teaching a similar topic in school.

We then moved onto interactive whiteboard (IWB) training. We discussed the benefits of using an IWB in the classroom as a tool to enhance teaching and learning and to support planning and delivery of lessons. Trainees enjoyed the opportunity to share ways that the IWB has already supported their teaching at their placement schools. Looking at an example lesson on SMART notebook allowed trainees to understand the full potential of the IWBs in their classrooms. After learning about the basics of setting up, creating slides and using an IWB, trainees were given time to explore the features of SMART notebook software and to practise using the whiteboard. Before lunch, trainees examined the use of tablets, desktop computers and laptops in schools. Through discussions, they were able to examine the advantages and disadvantages of each technology and begin to think about how choices in hardware have an impact on children’s learning.

The afternoon focussed on ICT across the curriculum. Trainees visited every class in the school to observe teaching and discuss learning with pupils. The children enjoyed demonstrating to the trainees how technology helps them with their learning. Trainees shared lots of highlights of the tour including:

  • An ‘unplugged’ (no technology needed!) afternoon where Year 1 developed their understanding of algorithms through dance and drawing. 
  • Year 2 independently accessing lots of different websites to allow them to extend their learning both at school and at home.
  • WeDo LEGO kits being used in groups in Year 3 to develop teamwork skills and computing knowledge.
  • Year 4 using fruit to control their scratch programs using the Makey Makey.

We ended the day by looking at online safety. After looking at the power of the internet, we discussed our responsibility as teachers when online (particularly on social media) and how to approach talking to children about being safe online.