ICT - Log on to the future

29th June 2012 at 01:00
Get pupils as young as 7 excited about ICT with a tech day

There is a fierce debate over children and sex education. How much is too much information? And when is the appropriate time for them to learn it? But the argument over when to introduce children to ICT and technology is almost as divisive.

The technology curriculum has traditionally focused on secondary school, but in light of proposed changes to the primary curriculum we felt the chance to expand our pupils' knowledge was impossible to resist. So why not follow our example, liaise with the technology, science and computing sector and set up a special day to introduce children as young as 7 to the technology of the future?

We teamed up with Intellect, the trade body for the technology sector, and the [s20]goto[s19] foundation, a new organisation aiming to change the public perception of computer science, to create the Goto Tech day. And it was an astonishing success.

Pupils aged 7 to 9 took part in three lessons to give them hands-on experience of computing skills. At the end of the day they showed their delighted parents what they had learned.

RS Components introduced the pupils to the Raspberry Pi computer (pictured above); the University of Roehampton ran lessons on Scratch, a programming language for young people, and Apps for Good showed pupils how to design mobile apps.

In the Scratch lesson children collected a few computer-controlled animal characters and then wrote simple programs to animate them. They were thrilled that they had learned how to make a simple game.

By using Scratch, children find out about mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively.

In the past year we have replaced many of our old laptops and we have been developing our creativity-themed curriculum -where technology is no longer a stand-alone subject but is integrated into everything the pupils study. So this was a day not just to use technology but to find out more about how it works and how pupils can make it work best for them. We are also delighted to have been able to work in collaboration with so many knowledgeable and inspiring people.

The fact that children as young as 7 could get actively involved with computer science was fantastic for everyone. They loved it.

Pam Dryden is headteacher of St Matthew's CofE Primary School, Surbiton. To learn more about the [s20]goto[s19] foundation and how you can set up a Goto Tech day, visit gotofdn.org

What else?

Help pupils to design their own mobile apps with a lesson from QBall.

Introduce pupils to Scratch with Barbarathompson's lesson.

Find all links and resources at www.tes.co.ukresources041

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