“There are no boundaries or borders in the digital age” - Karim Rashid
In this ever-changing and increasingly-connected modern world, technology is everywhere. It will play a pivotal part in the future lives of our pupils, therefore we need a computing curriculum that excites and engages them. We want them to be creators and not consumers, and our broad curriculum - encompassing computer science, information technology and digital literacy - reflects this.
“Computing technology is so built into our lives that its part of the surround of every artist” – Stephen Levy.
At Meadlands, we want to furnish children with the skills, knowledge and understanding that will make them responsible and digitally literate citizens, so that they can be the next generation of programmers, bloggers and debuggers!
We recognise that the best route to preventing many of the issues we currently see within technology and social media is effective education. We want to educate our children on how to use technology positively, responsibly and safely, including through modelling positive use – for example through our own social media pages (@MeadlandsSch)
At Meadlands, we don’t follow an externally created computing scheme, but instead have worked with local advisors to create a curriculum that is progressive, develops real-life skills, and utilises our Chrome Books, LGFL and J2E resources. At every stage, our Computing curriculum has been designed to be cross-curricular in its implementation, therefore enriching the learning of pupils both in computing and the wider curriculum.
Our discrete weekly computing lessons develop one of the 3 following computing strands:
1) Information Technology: Developing the skills to use computers for functional purposes, such as collecting and presenting information, or using search technology. At Meadlands, we learn how to use a variety of tools and programs to create, edit and publish our work. Children in Key Stage 1 learn the fundamental skills through the JiT platform, and then deepen and develop their understanding in Key Stage 2 through the use of Google Apps: Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms.
2) Digital Literacy: Learning about the safe and responsible use of a range of software and internet-based programmes. This includes recognising its advantages for collaboration or communication, and enabling pupils to use them in a creative manner. Please see the Online Safety section below to find out more about this provision.
3) Computer Science: Developing understanding of how digital systems work (including computers and networks). At Meadlands, all of our children have the opportunity to learn about computer programming, including how to code and to debug programmes, how to use algorithms and how to work logically. Children in the EYFS are first introduced to coding through the use of Bee Bots, progressing to using the JiT Turtle programme in Key Stage 1, before honing and developing their skills throughout Key Stage 2, using Scratch.
The implementation of our computing curriculum ensures a balanced coverage of computer science, information technology and digital literacy. However, it is important to note that as children progress through our school, the weighting and balance of the three Computing strands is adjusted. This ensures that fundamental skills in digital literacy are secured in earlier years. Once children are able to control and manipulate ICT, they are able to move onto more detailed and higher-order aspects of Computer Science in KS2. For example, children in Key Stage 1 learn what algorithms are and how to use these in their simplest form, which supports them in the design stage of programming in Key Stage 2. By the time they leave our school, they can design, write and debug programmes, explaining the rationale behind their algorithms.
In all year groups, across an academic year, the computing strands are taught in the same order:
online safety, then digital literacy/information technology, and then computer science. Topics are taught in half-termly blocks and where possible, are cross-curricular in nature.
At Meadlands, we understand the importance of exposing children to technology from an early age, extending and enhancing the experiences they have both in school and at home. We want all of our children to become ‘digital natives’, which is why they are immersed in an ICT-rich environment that allows them to be independent users of technology, selecting technology for a specific purpose.
Our Nursery and Reception classes have a dedicated set of iPads, as well as access to the school’s Chrome Books. These are used by the children and in order to capture and enhance the children’s learning. We also ensure children have open access to computer programmes through the class Interactive Whiteboard during independent learning time, as well as opportunities to explore early programming through the use of Bee-bots
Please note: the forthcoming revised EYFS curriculum (beginning September 2021) does not contain a specific Technology objective.
At the start of the year all year groups complete an Online Safety unit. Key learning from this unit is then threaded throughout the year and revisited where there is real life application. For example, when creating a presentation in Year 4, learning would revisit trustworthiness and reliability of online information.
Our regular teaching of online safety is to ensure that our pupils feel confident when using electronic devices and the internet, and furthermore to know what to do if they come across something either inappropriate, uncomfortable or upsetting.
Pupils and parents are expected to sign our Children’s Acceptable Use for Computing form, which details how we expect our pupils to behave on the Chrome Books and internet, both in school and at home. This must to be signed by both the parent and pupil before pupils are given any access to a school device. These signed forms are stored safety in the school office and permissions shared with class teachers.
Link to Parental Online Safety page https://www.meadlands.richmond.sch.uk/online-safety-1/
For each unit of computing taught, we celebrate the lives of individuals who have made a difference. Here are just a few of our Computing Heroes: Helen if the below can’t be copied over, I have added a PDF of the heroes.
Examples of work
For more Online Safety work please scroll down to ‘Celebration of good work’.
In order to show what digital literate pupils we have, we use our school blog, where children can show off the brilliant work they produce using J2 software. Click here to view our school blog
Examples of work:
Celebration of good work
Online Safety Scratch Game created by E from Year 5
Online Safety Assembly