Computing at Thorndown Primary School
Subject Leader – Miss J Collins (Year 3 Teacher)
Online Safety Lead – Miss J Collins (Year 3 Teacher)
At Thorndown Primary School, we believe that technology is a fascinating, exciting and enriching tool to help children learn new skills, promote curiosity about the world around them and help them to solve a wide range of problems. Children growing up today are immersed in a range of new technologies whether that is in the home, when out shopping, on the streets. This is often so embedded in children’s everyday experiences that they sometimes don’t even recognise it. Our aim is to help children to identify technology in the world around them and be comfortable with how to use it in a range of ways safely.
We plan a structured sequence of lessons, ensuring that we cover the skills required to meet the aims of the National Curriculum. The content is divided into four strands, as identified by the Cambridgeshire ICT Service. Please find more information on this below. Each unit offers a range of opportunities for consolidation, challenge and variety. This allows children to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science. They develop analytical problem-solving skills and learn to evaluate and apply information technology. It also enables them to become responsible, competent, confident and creative users of technology.
The four strands identified by the Cambridgeshire ICT Service are Understanding Technology, Programming, Digital Literacy and Online Safety (also referred to as E-Safety).
Children are naturally very curious about the world around them and this applies to how technology works and what it can do for us. From their first experiences of technology in the home and in Early Years settings, children begin to develop a sense of the role technology plays in society and how we can get the most out of different resources. Throughout their journey at Thorndown Primary School, pupils will extent their curiosity to exploring computer networks such as the Internet and the services that they can provide, such as the World Wide Web. We provide a range of practical, exciting experiences that allow pupils to make links with their existing understanding. Through these experiences, pupils will be more effective and confident digital creators and users of digital content.
Here are a few examples of what we’ve been doing across the school in our Understanding Technology units at school:
We explored what we can do online in Year 5. We thought about the different ways we can use the Internet safely and for what purposes.
In Year 3, we acted out how messages were passed through the Internet.
Programming is a skill that we unknowingly use very often in our day to day lives. We think about what we want to do, the order that we want to do it and any problems that may get in the way of our final goal. At Thorndown Primary School, children get hands-on experiences of designing and writing computer programmes so that they understand the basic principles of computer science. The aim of teaching programming is to equip pupils with the skills that they need for the world of work, inspire more young people to pursue careers in computing and help them to problem solve and become logical thinkers.
Here are some examples of Scratch Jr and Turtle Logo that we use across the school:
We don’t only learn how programming using iPads and laptops. We also learn how to code using Beebots and we even code our own dance routines!
When learning about Digital Literacy, the pupils will develop the ability to effectively and critically navigate, find, evaluate, summarise, use, create and communicate information using a range of digital technologies. We discuss and practise appropriate use of technology generated words, images, sounds and motion. This skill is becoming increasingly important because it supports learners to be confident and competent in their use of technology in a wide range of contexts. The pupils at Thorndown Primary School will have experiences of using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Movie Editor and more.
Here are some examples of how we might use technology to help us publish our work:
We also learn how to find information safely using child friendly search engines like Kiddle. HERE is the link for Kiddle if you would like to use it too!
Online Safety (also known as E-Safety)
With the online world being part of our daily lives, giving us access to a wealth of information, educational and recreational resources and endless activities, it is growing increasingly important for children to learn appropriate uses of the internet. It is vital to understand the risks posed when children access and use online technologies and how to manage these risks appropriately. For more information on how you can do this at home, please see the page called ‘Keeping Children Safe Online’ or click the link HERE.
Alongside our Online Safety units throughout the year, we also take part in the national celebration of Safer Internet Day. This is held every year in February. Please have a look at what we’ve been up to this year by clicking the picture below or the link HERE.
At Thorndown Primary School, we create bespoke Computing lessons to fit what is appropriate for the children in our school. We use elements of Purple Mash and Barefoot Computing to enhance the learning of Computing. Every unit builds on prior learning and challenges them to develop their learning and application of knowledge even further. In addition to targeted Computing learning, technology is embedded throughout the curriculum with the children being able to apply their knowledge of computer science, logical reasoning, online safety and digital content in other subjects.
While we enjoy using laptops, tablets, phones and other forms of technology in our everyday lives, we also teach Computing ‘unplugged’, meaning that we don’t get any technology out for some lessons. The purpose of doing this is so that the children can learn to develop their skills through practical experiences before applying their knowledge and using technology.
If you are interested in knowing what your child will be learning in Computing each term, please see the Computing Coverage Map HERE.
While following the Cambridgeshire ICT Service’s four Computing strands, we plan lessons to ensure coverage builds appropriately over time. We ensure that the progression of skills is clear throughout each year group and that key vocabulary is introduced at appropriate ages.
Please read our Computing Progression Grid HERE if you would like to discuss different aspects of Computing with your child at home. The vocabulary that we use is also included in this document.
How can I help my child at home?
Computing is not just using a computer. It also includes the use of tablets, games consoles, controllable toys, digital cameras and every day equipment such as speakers, washing machines and digital clocks. At home, children can be helped to develop their computing skills by any of the following:
- Sending an email to a friend
- Drawing a picture on a screen
- Using the Internet to research a class topic
- Planning a route with a controllable toy
- Using interactive games
- Playing on an educational app or web-based game (such as Numbots or TTRockstars)
If your child is using technology at home, please be aware of what they are looking at and encourage them to talk about things that are concerning them.