The computer science curriculum has changed in recent years, with an increased focus on the science of computing — on helping our children have a good understanding of how computers work in this highly digital age. The skills within computing are useful because many of them centre around problem-solving which can be applied in many other contexts. Technology is a tool which should be used to enhance learning and simplify tasks. Therefore, we see Computing as embedded into teaching across the school/subjects.
In EYFS, children have opportunities to explore, observe and find out about Technology.
In Key Stage 1 and 2, discrete Computing teaching ensures that children can learn the skills, which they can then apply when using computers in other subjects. The objectives for both Key Stage 1 and 2 fit into three main strands: computer science, information technology and digital literacy.
We use visual programming languages that involve snapping blocks together, rather than keying in text, like Scratch. Unplugged tasks, where we teach concepts away from the computer, using techniques such as role play, also work well.
We introduce a bit of text-based programming to the older children; computational thinking is also developed further through concepts such as decomposition, which means breaking down large problems into smaller parts.
Information technology involves the creation, organisation and manipulation of digital content in both key stages – digital content could be interpreted as many things from audio to images to film and beyond.
In Key Stage 2, information technology steps up because children are taught how to use search technologies effectively and how to analyse, present and evaluate data.
The digital citizenship component of the computing curriculum incorporates a lot of what is referred to as ‘online safety’ – using technology safely, respectfully and responsibly. All children are taught a range of ways to report any concerns they may have.
In addition, pupils in Key Stage 2 also learn how to evaluate content and consider how reliable the information they find online is.
How can I support my child with Computing?
The best way to support your child with any aspect of computing is to enjoy using technology with them and model the safe and responsible use of it. Here are some ideas:
- Become the Student
Let them show you how to use their favourite app or do something that they have learned in school.
- Help them use Technology to support their Homework
If they have to practise a maths skill, help them create a how-to video demonstrating the skill. Why not create a short film based on a story they have written? Or perhaps an animation? Find some YouTube videos or play games together that support what they’re learning about in school.
- Research with them
Research a topic they are learning about or are interested in with them. Decide together how reliable you think each website is — does the information on it appear anywhere else? Who created the website? Discuss the rankings — why does the search engine rank some at the top and some further down?
- Communicate with Family
Keep in touch with family members by composing emails together or using services like Skype to make video calls. Discuss how useful these tools can be when used responsibly.
- Chat Regularly
Ask children how they have been using technology this week, what their favourite app is etc. Make sure they feel they can come to you, should an issue arise for them.
- Useful Weblinks
- common sense media— they aim to empower parents and teachers by providing unbiased information to help them harness the power of media and make it a positive force in children’s lives. There are family guides and they tackle many topics of concern
- NSPCC— key advice on keeping your child safe online
- SCRATCH— find out more about visual coding and learn how to do it with your child for free
- Vodafone: digital parenting– a comprehensive magazine from Vodafone with ideas to build confidence and resilience online