Draft Computing Curriculum 2014

My last module at University (ICT306) was based around the role of the ICT Coordinator. Due to ICT being reformed with the rise of the new draft curriculum our group was given the task of devising a 2 year plan to deliver a robust response to the 2014 Primary Computing Curriculum. During this module we were given an example school (one form entry) and the equipment audit of their current technology. Within our plan we were given a £3000 budget for software and training.

Before beginning the task my group decided to carry out research to actually gain a secure understanding of what the new curriculum intends children should learn. Thanks to many blogs we were able to gain a greater understanding. Due to it being a new curriculum in primary education there was a limited range of research on the internet, however, from using examples from schools that have already implemented computing technology and from professionals within this field we were able to create a plan.

Our finished plan can be accessed below:

Computing Implementation Plan

Contributors: Samantha Curry, Holly Dytham, James Horne and Lucy Kitching.

We decided on a 2 year plan that began in September 2013 to ensure it was implemented by 2014. As a group we felt that computational thinking was a basis to start to ensure children began to think in this way from the beginning of Key Stage One.

As shown, we felt that teachers need to be fully trained to ensure computing to be taught successfully and with confidence, creativity and competence. As you can see we had not spent all of the budget within our first year to ensure money was left for training that may be needed for the future.

Progression is shown throughout the plan in terms of the technology used and the skills that are required for the technology. For example, as shown within programming children begin by using Bee-Bots and will develop on to more language based technologies such as iPad apps Hopscotch and Daisy Dino. Continuing on from this a wider range of technologies will be used such as Raspberry Pi and Mozilla Thimble/Hackasaurus to begin coding. There is also progression in the field of gaming, for example we begin with the Sketch iPad app and then develop onto Game Salad and Kodu. We aimed to give children transferable skills for the future.

Some key points within our plan are ‘problem finders term’ (based on Ewan Mcintosh’s ideas which can be found here: http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/2011/11/tedxlondon-the-problem-finders-video.html). We aimed to give children the freedom (within a success criteria) to find a problem within the school or community to solve using technology. Another key point within our plan was play-based learning to allow children to experiment through play, learning about computational thinking and programming. This was taken from Steve Bunce’s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK3PdVprtMM) idea of knitting to develop programming skills from an early age and Miles Berry’s idea of play-based learning. Steve Bunce indicates that there are many skills that can be learnt from knitting such as social, debugging, sequencing…

This was a first attempt at writing an implementation plan and we had limited time of a week to complete the written plan and research.

Feedback would be good as this is something very new to me. Thank you : – ).

Plymouth Half Marathon

Plymouth Half Marathon COMPLETE!

After watching friends race over the finish line at last year’s Plymouth Half Marathon it gave me the inspiration and motivation to book my first half marathon for Plymouth 2013! I have completed the Race for Life (5k) for the last 4 years for Cancer Research UK but nothing as far as 13 miles!

I was very pleased and relieved when my friends Laura and Naomi decided to join too! Before Christmas we were running regularly about 5k twice a week and attending body conditioning classes at University. After Christmas it was a bit of a struggle to keep up with the training due to being on placement for 12 weeks. However, I powered through and made sure I ran every Sunday increasing the amount of miles I ran! Before the actual run I managed to run 9 miles but no further. This left me nervous for the day to come having not actually ran the full 13 miles before the day. We had to ensure we had lots of carbohydrates before the day to give us the energy we needed.

After all the hard training on the day it definitely paid off! All the support from the amazing people that donated for my chosen charity Great Ormond St Hospital and from the people on the day cheering me on (especially on the last mile) kept me going! I managed to raise a total of £229.00!

I completed it in 2 hours and 10 minutes which I was not expecting at all! This has made me want to continue running and I will definitely be applying for another half marathon next year! It was a enjoyable day and I would recommend anyone doing it!

Here are a few snaps of the day:)



Plymouth Enhanced Learning Conference- Digital Learnscapes: Meeting Future Challenges #pelc13 @PELeCON


This week I was fortunate enough to attend Plymouth Enhanced Learning Conference (PELeCON 2013) which included talks from professionals in the field of learning and technology. This event was organised by a fantastic team of 8 at Plymouth University which consisted of two of my lecturers Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) and Pete Yeomans (@ethinking). Over the three days (April 10th-12th) my main role was to be a student helper mainly focusing on the technical side of setting up wifi, live streaming etc. Furthermore to this my second role was to present the research carried out by myself and Steve Wheeler (this can be seen on an older blog post) to a large international audience. After talking to large audiences at TeachMeets I thought it would get easier but I’m not going to lie this was quite frankly a very scary but exciting experience- I may have talked very fast and could definitely work on my presentation skills but reflecting on this I am very proud and very glad I did it. The audience was made up of a professional group of delegates who were very friendly and helpful.  I got a good set of questions at the end surrounding the research. One question being along the lines of, ‘if you had the time and resources would you like to carry out more research focusing on the attainment of children’s learning whilst using game consoles’ (by Donald Clark- @DonaldClark). My answer was most definitely yes- it would be amazing to go into the research field during my future career! Knowing this is a limitation of my study looking particularly at student’s perceptions I now want to go on and research this further. An abstract of the research presented at the conference can be accessed here: http://pelecon2012.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Abstracts2013.

Twitter was a useful tool used throughout the 3 days of PELeCON and allowed all to discuss the topics further. It was helpful getting feedback on my presentation via Twitter- as some tweets show:


Twitter 2
It was also good to see a fellow student presenting her research on the use of Twitter by trainee teachers by @beckyharcombe.

Among helping out throughout the conference I was also privileged to go to a range of presentations from a wide range of professionals- I have provided a brief overview of only some of the insightful presentations.

Karine George (@karinegeorge)- Keynote 1: Off the Beaten Track: Learning for the Third Millennium

Karine George is a head teacher at an outstanding primary school in Hampshire and listening to her inspirational speech indicated how different the future is going to be- as shown on her slide below here is a job that may well be around in the future.


We need to educate our learners for the future we cannot describe for jobs that are not around today as this slide has demonstrated. Technology plays a vital role in this as this is where our future is going. Technology is changing the way we do things. I think this will be the only presentation whereby the keynote presenter will bring in a toilet seat to make people think about how technology is changing every part of our lives- a new toilet seat has been invented with many different controls including temperature on the seat itself!

Karine discussed what she has done in her school to allow children to learn for the future. One idea I loved was the s’cool radio whereby the children have a voice within the school and are able to explore ways of communicating.


Steve Bunce (@stevebunce)knitting

Steve Bunce carried out presentations and I gained a huge amount which I can use in my career as a teacher- many great resources that can be used included Hackasaurus, Makey Makey and Book RX. Throughout out one of his presentations (Knitting, thimbles and programming: How does it stitch together?) he got the audience excited through finger knitting- it demonstrated the brilliance of YouTube- you can see my master piece in the photo>. It demonstrated ways to teach programming and to program using technology.

Doug Belshaw (@dajbelshaw)

Doug Belshaw talked about Mozilla Open Badges and how they provide a way of learning online and being rewarded for this. Your badge can be displayed on the web and will contain metadata for people to access to see the issuer, why it was rewarded and even the evidence that got you the badge etc- more details can be seen online and will probably be better explained than how I have just here: http://openbadges.org/ .

Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) and Steve Margetts (@stevemargetts)- Keep taking the tablets… but will they make a difference?

Interesting research is being carried out at a High School for boys whereby each child will have an iPad in Year 7 and 8 and to see if there is any learning gain. It was interesting to see the many advantages iPads can have in the classroom and how skilled the young boys are at using the technology- I was very impressed to see how some of the boys were able to create their own apps.
It was also interesting reading Donald Clark’s blog posts about the use of tablets in education as shown at this link: bit.ly/YeFKrt 

I can’t wait to see the interesting results from this research. Talking to a younger cousin in year 7 it was interesting to hear that he will be getting an iPad for himself for a month at his secondary school for use at school and at home to see the advantages and disadvantages- I will definitely be asking him questions about it to find out more! When talking with him about technology he said ‘it’s annoying because I don’t need instructions when using it I can just use it even with new things’. I think this gave me an important message to sometimes let children explore with the technology themselves- sometimes they do not need to be taught how to use it physically but to know the skills to allow them to enhance their learning with it.

Overall one message I took from this conference is the tremendous power of social media!
It was announced in the plenary session that there will be a PELeCON 2014! It was suggested that this may not be in Plymouth to make it central for delegates to attend.

The cupcakes presentations were definitely a highlight of the conference 🙂


You can access all information via the PELeCON website/blog .. http://pelecon.co.uk/about.php / http://pelecon2012.blogspot.co.uk/

It is also an exciting prospect that this research will also be presented at EDEN Conerence- Oslo by Steve Wheeler in June.


Coming towards the end of term one of my final year at University is quite frankly scary. Being worried about getting assignments completed and in on time is a constant worry this year. However, I am ecstatic to find out about where I will be on placement in my second term and also I have an amazing opportunity of going to Gambia in three weeks time. I am too excited. Then I will be applying for jobs (fingers crossed). I am no writing this and not doing work…

I best go a make a cup of tea

I need to carry on with work. 


I am finally in my fourth year of the BEd Primary Teaching degree and have under one year until I become a newly qualified teacher- exciting. I thought I would wipe the dust from this blog and begin posting again. I am embarking on a new module this year called Vision and Values which has a strong emphasis on what the purpose of education is, looking at the wide range of different perspectives. The module focuses on the present Secretary of State for Education’s mission statement. As of yet I am still forming my own visions and values from reading widely and looking at different perspectives of education and schooling. It also helps speaking and listening to other people’s views as this can add to my own understanding.  Therefore, I will be rambling trying to understand my own thoughts in the following posts and will be trying to put what I am thinking down onto ‘paper’. I am hoping by blogging it will allow me to form my own ideas.

To start…. Whilst reading and looking around at different perspectives of schooling and education for this module I came across a TEDx talk by Dr Derek Cabrera that interested me (see below for the video).

Dr Derek Cabrera- How thinking works

Dr Derek Cabrera suggests that 21st century learners are very good at ‘doing school’ and following the rules and instructions in place within that school environment. However, are the skills of ‘doing school’ transferrable to life? He suggests that learners are not good at completing unstructured activities or problem solving because they are not equipped with the thinking skills needed for today in order for them to learn. There are important thinking skills that he recognises that schools are not teaching children and not allowing for them to explore:

-creative thinking

– critical thinking

-systems thinking

– scientific thinking

-interdisciplinary thinking

– emotional intelligence /prosocial thinking.

He indicates that we need to get children thinking again so they are able to be creative thinkers and learn by themselves. Dr Derek Cabrera has come up with four methods that will get children thinking again. We need to teach them to make distinctions, look at systems, find relationships between and among ideas (are school doing this now? Does having separate, compartmentalised subjects show the relationship that occurs in real life?) and to take multiple perspectives.

The education system today is ‘over engineering the curriculum’, thus removing the important aspect of thinking, we are giving children instructions and now learners are accustomed to following instructions they are not thinking and therefore, are finding it difficult in unstructured activities.

Photo by Benjamin Esham 

He looks at the example of LEGO. LEGO used to be in a bucket without any instructions, but today there are various LEGO kits out there with instructions and there is only one right way to build them. Children follow the instructions to solve the problem. This is a metaphor of what is happening today in our Education system ….

“LEGO isn’t the problem, but it is a symptom of something seriously amiss. We’re entering a revolution of ideas while producing a generation that wants instructions instead” Seth Godin

Do teachers and educators need to rethink what we are teaching children and the method we do it? What is the right way to educate learners and what is education?

Also, Miller (2005) recognises that “young people in the present system are not perceived as growing, active human beings who seek meaningful connection to their community, society, and natural world, or to the realm of the spirit, but as units of production whose academic achievements contain primarily economic value”.

Are we not allowing students to think and be creative human beings? Why not? What is stopping us?

Do game consoles have a positive impact on girls’ learning and motivation?

This year I have carried out a research project to investigate the positive learning and motivation that game consoles and video games have to offer in primary education, focusing on girls’ learning and motivation. The research was carried out on a small-scale, thus, no findings were of a huge value to education. However, from carrying out this research project it has made me understand the great value of game consoles which I will definitely go onto use in my classroom if it suits my class. I have uploaded it for anyone interested. The raw data has been taken off.


This research project discusses the use of game consoles to support learning and motivation and how they have recently been used in education. Over time game consoles and video games have been portrayed as a male used technology. Therefore, being discussed and explored in this research paper is the current use of game consoles in learning and how it can positively affect a child’s learning and motivation. The research has directed me to the following question: ‘Do game consoles have a positive impact on girls’ learning and motivation?’ A semi-structured questionnaire was distributed to girls in Key Stage Two (n=49) in three schools that have already incorporated game consoles into their curriculum. The major findings of this report found that game consoles and video games can have a positive impact on girls’ learning and motivation and are key themes that have been raised. However, due to many limitations in this research paper it has not been fully addressed, therefore future research is needed. 

The Education Show 2012

It has been a very very very busy stage on my course this term. After handing in ECEN301 I am now concentrating on my research project and my EICT304 assignment. After a friend told me we are handing in a quarter of our degree on April 23rd it scared me. I am spending a lot of time on the work and am trying my hardest to be critical of everything I read (this sometimes proves difficult). However, from the help of @amyparkinbed’s and @timbuckteeth’s blog about being critical they have given me a greater understanding of being critical and some amazing resources to use.

Nonetheless, I am trying to enjoy third year. Therefore, Plymouth Education Society @plymedsociety organised a trip to the Education Show!  It was an amazing day out. The coach did break down on the way there, but we still got there in time to spend a good 5 hours exploring around. It was insightful with lots of interesting resources  to use in the classroom. It gave me a good insight into the different resources that are out there, and lots of interesting information about ICT.

After going past lots of stands and talking to lots of people, I decided to go to the Big Bang Fair. This was amazing. It was aimed at young learners in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths. I walked in and was amazed. This is what learning is really about. Hundreds of children were talking in excitement. I learnt lots from the different workshops  and I was only there for a maximum of 45 minutes. I wish I had spent longer there to get more ideas for when I am a teacher. A fantastic day out. I need to make sure I DO go to BETT next year to get some interesting ideas to use in the classroom.

Thanks for reading. Just some thoughts…