So with the primary computer science curriculum underway, I wanted to check in on some of the primary schools and see how they’re teaching the new curriculum. I took a visit to Leighfield primary school in Uppingham and thought I would have an attempt at teaching them a new programming language.
TouchDevelop is a very new programming language for many people and when I asked the students around it, many of them said that they hadn’t heard of it. Many of the students said that they were using scratch. I taught them some computational thinking and talked about how ‘stupid’ computers are. Many of the kids were shocked when they were told that they can only talk in 1’s and 0’s. We also had a nice game of ‘program the robot’ they thought this was quite funny!
Computational thinking aside, it was time to start coding! I logged all of the students onto TouchDevelop and introduced the programming language and the environment. I started off with the basics of computer programming and got them to pretend to be turtles and then I got them to include a library! It was nice to see children as young as 9 and 10 understanding the concept of libraries on a computer. They knew that they were set of instructions already stored and could see how they were like libraries.
We also carried on and got to ‘for loops’ and these students were just full of excitement!!! It was actually funny to see the girls stepping in and helping the boys out #girlpower. Then we got onto the exciting bit. Once they had programmed turtles to make different shapes, I told them that TouchDevelop works with other devices. WHAT!!! They said! I then introduced ‘’MAKEYMAKEY!” they loved these kits and were programming their turtles to act based on the instructions they were given.
TouchDevelop was great for these students. We had computers go down in the lesson and yet, 5 students took out iPads from their set and sat on a table at the back coding in delight. Just goes to show how accessible it really is. I’ve attached some pictures from the event below and some of the year 5’s were so happy, they’re now going to go and teach their parents how to code!
If you’re interested in downloading the KS2 curriculum I’ve produced, you can download it from here
Questions asked by the teachers: I do not want my students having a hotmail account. How do I get them to log on.
Answer: – Create one school account, when the student creates his/her code – get them to give it a name convention such as Name_Program_Year and then they can search for their code. Then you can allow them access.
Thank you for having me Leighfield