I've just had an amazingly mad idea for transforming KS2 ICT/computing lessons...
Core Skills Lessons
Children would start off the year by doing a series of whole-class lessons to teach/remind them of a few fundamental skills:
- word processing - including formatting the appearance of text and using cut/copy/paste to edit it;
- digital communication - to ensure that they can all login and send a message to their new class group on Edmodo;
- e-safety - to ensure that they are aware of how to stay safe online (at an age appropriate level obviously).
Additional Skills Lessons
For some things, I think that some additional whole-class lessons would be needed to follow these, such as:
- digital photography (Year 3) - a couple of lessons to ensure that they know how to capture and edit a photograph properly since many applications will require them to be able to do this;
- spreadsheets (Year 5) - from experience, I've found that children need to be specifically taught how to construct a formulae to perform an operation.
Independent Learning Lessons
This year at my school, Learning Logs have been very successful and have had a huge impact on children's learning. The children all really enjoy doing them and some of the work that they produce really does amaze me at times:
Each set of Learning Log tasks are presented as a grid of options from which children must choose a certain number of to complete independently. My thinking for ICT (or Computing as I should say now), is that children could be given a similar opportunity to work independently during lesson times to develop their capability: at their own pace, in strands that they are interested in and in an order that they want. New apps are regularly being released and children always love exploring them to find out what they do - being so flexible with lessons would mean that children could use a newly-released app straight away without having to wait until I found time to plan it in. It would truly be a skills curriculum and would help the children become more independent learners - something which Google themselves promote.
As ICT/computing lessons at my school are delivered in the afternoons, this structure would be a nice contrast to the more formal literacy and numeracy lessons in the morning and would also allow children to link tasks to whatever class topic so interests them at the time (e.g. a child might want to make an e-book linked in with a history topic that they love whereas another child might want to develop their coding skills then instead and make an e-book about geography topic instead a few weeks later).
To ensure that children do meet the statutory requirements of the national curriculum, I would have to create a set of tasks for each year group from which they had to complete certain ones and a minimum number of other ones too. For example (and this really is just me thinking ideas up on the spot - any final version would need a lot more thought and detail!), the Year 4 independent tasks/projects for the whole year could be:
You must complete these:
create a computer program
type and design a printable document
You must complete at least four of these:
produce a multimedia video
create a multimedia e-book
create an interactive activity
explore a virtual map
paint a picture using ICT
create a photo collage
handle data using ICT
To ensure progression between different year groups, I would have to map each task to a set of differentiated (good/great/super) outcomes that could be layered across the key stage (i.e. what would be 'super' in Year 3 would be 'great' at Year 4 and be 'Good' in Year 5).
Obviously, I would allow children to spend several sessions doing a project if they so wished (e.g. creating a multimedia e-book) or do lots of the same sort of task linked to different topics (e.g. create a printable document several times throughout the year but in different designs (posters, tri-fold leaflets, postcards etc) and/or with different apps each time).
To implement this idea, I would have to be very organised - the children would have to know exactly where to go to access support for themselves (e.g. I would have to create a website that contained an 'LI slide' for each one) and I would have to come up with a good way for children to document/save their work easily so that progress could be tracked.
What do you think - could this totally crazy idea actually work and transform ICT/computing lessons in KS2? What would OfSTED think of it?