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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Assessing the New Computing Curriculum



After four days at the Bettt Show speaking to teachers about the new Computing curriculum, I was asked over and over again how I would teach it and how I would assess it. This document released by the DfE this week, doesn't really shine much light on the situation.

I was lucky enough to take part in a meeting with the "NOT the DfE Expert Computing Group" during Bett, where this topic was hot conversation. I'm still not sure we resolved anything, but it got me thinking seriously about how I would assess my students without levels and how I would explain this to SLT.

Pointless Data?

I have always argued that levels were pointless since before I trained to be a teacher. They do not mean anything to students or parents. They are just numbers, and yet at a data driven school, teachers are expected to give a level to students progress as much as 4 times every academic year. I think I'd approach SLT and start a conversation about dropping this system from Sept 2014, or considering a new system. Without actually having this conversation with someone in SLT it's difficult to say the outcome, but I would urge you to start pestering them, perhaps with a system like mine (below).



What would I do?

If I were still teaching (I still think I am tbh, only been out of the classroom for 3 weeks!) I think this is how I would go about assessing the new computing curriculum:

All students at KS3 have an eportfolio, either a website or a blog. Over the course of Year 7, 8 and 9 this would stay with each student. It would act as an exercise book for the subject, where students would add all their work in the form of links, screen grabs, videos, screen casts, audio files, whatever.

I'd create a badge for each bullet point on the new programme of study for KS3. Each of these would have a subsection of badges that were gold, silver and bronze. (For your school data this could be lower, middle, high).

I'd make new badges in this style reflecting new curric
(algorithms, programming, data representation, hardware, networks, etc)


At the end of each unit I would assess the students classwork, tests, homework against the unit's objectives, and the CAS Pupil Progress Chart produced by Mark Dorling. (Row purple would be bronze, row red would be silver and row black would be gold.) Then I would award a badge to the student based on the teacher assessment against the statements in the chart. I'd be looking for accuracy and frequency as an assessor within each unit.

Students would then be able to add their badge to their eportolios next to their work. They would understand where they would need to go next to progress looking at the overall chart.  At the end of KS3 students would then have an eportfolio full of work and badges that show how they have progressed through the computing curriculum.

Obviously this is just a theory, I'm not in a position to test it, but it could be a starting point.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

You should come to BETT 2014 and here are the reasons why...


On the face of it, BETT seems like any other trade show. Lots of vendors with shiny stands and know it all sales people. But it's not. There are so many layers to bett, that as an educator you'd be silly to ignore it.


Free CPD

The most interesting and exciting aspect of Bett for me, is the large amounts of FREE seminars, talks, and workshops taking place not only in the 4 or 5 Bett theatres but also on individual stands. Ston Computing is a great example of this, they have a schedule packed with inspirational talks from educators, innovators and personalities.

Show Guide

Meet Likeminded Educators

Another big pull is being able to meet other educators. Bett has the largest Teachmeet every year, and seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year. There is also a teachmeet takeover going on daily, where teachers are taking over some the of the exhibitor stands to give talks.



Meet Exhibitors 

Bett is also a great opportunity as a educator to speak to people who are not directly in the classroom. For example, the Raspberry Pi Education Team of @Clivebeale @Ben_nuttall DaveHoness and myself will be at Bett for all four days. We want to meet you. We want to know what you want, what your concerns and interests are. We want to listen to you, and we are not alone in this. All the exhibitors want to hear from you too.

Try Stuff

If you've ever wondered what Raspberry Pi was all about, or Lego robotics, or Smart boards, or any other educational technology then Bett is the place to do it. Where else do you get to play with technology all day? You might even be able to win a prize or earn a badge for doing so. On the Stone Computing stand, I'll be running a Raspberry Pi workshop, so come have a go and earn a badge!

Get Stationary

Every year I am usually able to restock my pencil case and often my stationary drawer thanks to Bett. Many stands will offer you some promotional pens, pencils and often much more, in the hope that you'll speak to them. It's a win win on both sides.

From the horses mouth

I don't like to describe the Education Secretary as a horse, but it is fair to say that big announcements are sometimes made at Bett. A few years ago Michael Gove announced that the ICT curriculum was being scrapped during his keynote, and he is due to open the show this year. He is not the only high profile speaker. At bett you get the chance to ask questions and have access to people you may not ordinarily have.

Meet Me!


Ok so this one is less of a reason to go to Bett. I'm not that cool, but I will be at Bett every day, and as you can see from my timetable below I'm going to be busy! I really want to meet and hear from you. I want to help you teach computing, a subject that I am passionate about. I don;t want to tell you what to do, I want to understand what will help you teach how you want. Please tweet me, come find me at any of these stands, and connect with me.

Check out my Bett Timetable here!






My Timetable Highlights:


  • 10 ways yo use YouTube Talk - Google Stand Wednesday 22nd 10.30am - 10.50am.
  • Raspberry Pi Bett 2014 Workshop - Stone Stand Wednesday 22nd 11am - 12 noon.
  • Girls in Computing Talk - Stone Stand Wednesday 12 noon.
  • Adventures in Raspberry Pi Meet and Book Signing - Exa Stand Friday 24th 3.30pm - 4.15pm.
  • Sonic Pi Live Demos - OCR Stand every day!