Computer Science in Schools - Getting Started

Here at Speakr we love computers, and we’re excited about the replacement of ICT with Computing in the UK’s National Curriculum. Knowing how to use a computer is important, even for administrative tasks, but being able to create things using computers – now that sounds fun (and is seriously useful as a life skill / career).  

This week is Computer Science Education Week, and while some children may be excited about learning to programme, for many teachers it’s difficult to know where to start.

We’ve got some ideas to help – it’s not an exhaustive list of the many resources available, but here we’ve gathered some good places to start. Even if you’re not teaching computing, it’s a good idea to know what it involves – you never know, you might discover a skill you never knew you had!

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s a great video featuring some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, who also happen to be computer software developers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKIu9yen5nc

This article by Sarah Byrne, a Year 4 Teacher, is a good place to start exploring the options for teaching computing, with some solid advice from a teacher who’s been there and done it.

Computing at School has a great list of resources, including a guide to the new Computing curriculum for Primary teachers here. The organization also has regional hubs around Britain which are offering support and training to teachers to help them transition to teach computing.

CodeClub is a network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for 9-11 year olds. Children are taken through the basics of computer programming by a background-checked ‘developer’, and it doesn’t cost schools or parents a penny!

The site has comprehensive instructions for starting a code club, and finding a volunteer developer. We couldn’t mention Code Club without including a link to this video, featuring some very talented children, the founders of Skype and YouTube, the inventor of the World Wide Web, and the Duke of York!

CodeAcademy offers free courses for schools (as well as free programming courses for adults) as part of its mission to bring digital literacy to the world.

You may have heard of the Raspberry Pi which has been credited with starting a second wave of bedroom developers (the first started with the availability of the BBC computer and ZX Spectrum in the 1980s), this is a quick guide to getting started: http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/desktops/how-to-get-started-with-the-raspberry-pi-50009845/

We’d love to know what you’re doing for the new Computing curriculum, or for Computer Science Education Week. Join the conversation on twitter.