How to turn an ICT project into a computing one
This week, I ran two sessions at Shireland Teaching School Alliance for local ICT Coordinators on my Switched On Computing resource and preparing for the new computing curriculum. A key thread that ran through it all was that the difference between ICT and Computing can be subtle and doesn’t always have to mean different outcomes to the ones already being taught as part of ICT.
Let’s take Unit 2 from the book, in which children work towards making an interactive recipe book: essentially, a PowerPoint with images, text and audio. That kind of final outcome is nothing new at all, so what maps this unit to some of the computer science elements of the new curriculum?
- Language: the main aim of the unit is to teach children to understand what algorithms are, so throughout teaching this unit that term is used and related to how computers carry out tasks.
- Unplugged activities: practical activities to help children understand the importance of precision when designing algorithms are included in the build up.
- Evaluation and refinement: in-built in the unit is time for children to test out each other’s recipes or, in other words, evaluate each others algorithms. This can then lead onto improving them or correcting bits that don’t work as they want them, AKA debugging.
Before, when I have lead such projects under the ICT curriculum, the main focus would have been the final outcome – have they produced the recipe book? However, with computing, the language used, concepts underpinning it, an evaluation of how well it works and the opportunity to improve it are just as important as the final product itself.
How could you make subtle changes to the way you deliver some ICT projects you are already doing and map them to the new computing curriculum?