Lucy: Week 1

Strengths and weaknesses/ learning objectives for the module

Looking at the demands of ICT in the national curriculum for the first time terrified me as I have forgotten a lot of the skills that I acquired when completing my GCSE in ICT. As a result of not being able to remember how to use different programmes, this made me worry that I would have no idea how to teach children basic concepts such as creating and testing their own programmes. I hope that by completing this module I will be able to increase my skills in ICT and that this will leave me feeling more confident when teaching ICT to a class of children.
A strength of mine is that I am determined, I do not give up, and therefore I will work through the difficulties that I may face in ICT. When we unpicked the national curriculum in the seminar it made me realise that some of the tasks are easy and do not require the use of technology. For example, looking at algorithms (instructions) is something that I am capable of and this is an example of a task that I feel confident with and would be able to complete using my pre-existing skills and knowledge.

Reflect on the national curriculum for computing

The national curriculum for computing will introduce children to a variety of new concepts/vocabulary which will benefit them in terms of logical thinking. For example, children will understand  and be able to apply  the basics of computer science including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation.

Children will analyse problems in computational terms, they will also be given the opportunity to write computer games in order to solve problems.

Children will develop as responsible, competent and creative users of information and communication technology.

At Key stage one pupils will understand what algorithms are and how they are implemented as programmes on digital devices. Pupils will learn how to create and debug simple programmes, they will recognise common uses of technology beyond school and will use technology to create, organise, store and retrieve digital content.

At Key stage two pupils will be taught to solve problems by decomposing, use sequence and selection in programs and use logical reasoning to explain how algorithms work. Pupils will understand computer networks including the internet, they will be able to use search technologies effectively and appreciate how results are selected and ranked. Students will be able to use technology safely, respectfully  and responsibly.

My thoughts on the new national curriculum for computing are that the content appears to be  well designed and relevant for the current generation ensuring that we as a country can produce qualified professionals who can undertake jobs relating to technology. The national curriculum will benefit children in my opinion as it will encourage them to think logically and to solve problems by decomposing. Finally, I think that is great that the national curriculum for computing has a focus on internet safety since this a prominent issue in today’s society.

What is decomposition?

Decomposition refers to the process whereby problems are broken down into smaller and more manageable parts. The aim of decomposition is to solve complex problems which may be difficult to solve as a whole. Decomposition is a good thing since it allows one big problem to be broken down, therefore making the problem appear easier. Decomposition encourages collaboration, a team may work together each bringing their own skills, perspectives and experiences to solve the problem.

Decomposition not only applies to ICT but is a concept which can be seen in everyday life. For example, we can decompose the idea of making a cup of tea into many different parts such as boiling the kettle, putting a tea bag in a mug, then pouring an appropriate amount of hot water into the mug, adding some milk whilst stirring before finally removing the tea bag.

Decomposition is evident across the whole of the Primary national curriculum, for example when solving maths problems children are often encouraged to break the problem down into smaller steps. If pupils undertake any kind of project in school they would be using decomposition skills to research different bits of information/aspects of the project in detail rather than researching the whole project in one go.

The image above demonstrates decomposition taking place as the children are breaking  the structure of the plant down into small parts in order to explore each aspect of the plant in detail.

Decomposition also takes place in the early years foundation stage as children may break down problems/situations when they are playing. For example, if the children were playing shops they may break down what they are going to sell, how they are going to show the prices of the different objects and how they will arrange the shop.

 

A summary of an article written by the Guardian for parents

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/04/coding-school-computing-children-programming

Teaching programming skills is essential for closing the gap between the number of technology jobs available and those qualified to undertake the jobs. Adding programming skills to the new ICT curriculum which is referred to as “computing”is being trialed in the UK. Coding lessons are to be introduced to children as young as five in a bid to equip this generation with the skills needed to fulfill computing related jobs in the future.

The new computing curriculum has been introduced as a result of continuous critique relating to the previous ICT  curriculum from ministers and technology companies. Several technology companies have been complaining that the UK is not producing enough  graduates qualified to fill the vacancies.

According to Gove, the education secretary at the time, the new curriculum teaches children not only how to work a computer but how a computer works and how to make it work for them. The new curriculum no longer focuses purely on computer literacy but instead combines computer science, information technology and digital literacy.

The article also emphasies the fact that the new computing curriculum will benefit children since it will encourage them to think logically.

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