Aug 04

This drag-and-drop app teaches coding like a puzzle

blockley“While the economic demand for computer science skills continues to surge, introducing coding to the classroom can be an intimidating overture for teachers without a technical background.To ease this transition, Wonder Workshop, creators of smart robots that teach students the basics of coding, has developed a new version of the Blockly touch app in consultation with education experts.Through drag-and-drop programming and diverse puzzles, the app’s new content brings coding to life during STEM instruction. Students use the app to program Dash & Dot robots to sense and react to the world around them.Blockly’s project-based puzzles are designed to engage students of all genders and backgrounds, with personalized tracks that consider students’ diverse interests. The app integrates with Wonder Workshop’s digital curriculum, which is aligned to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.”To read further please click here:

Jun 26

Teaching Kids to Code

By: Simon Julian

codesss“In the not too distant future, England will be the first of many countries to begin introducing computer programming and coding classes to primary and secondary schools.

In this new system, students will be taught basic coding as soon as they enter school (at around 5 years old) and will continue to learn until their GCSEs are completed, when they can choose whether or not to pursue it further.

Breaking down the English experience

The English curriculum will be split into a number of key stages.

By the end of key stage one, students will be able to create and debug a variety of simple programs. Also, by this stage, they will know how to “safely and respectfully” make use of technology. They will also be encouraged to grow their ability to think logically and to use logical approaches to solving problems, notably a key area that many western curriculums don’t really cover at this stage of children’s learning experiences.” To read further please click here:

Jun 05

Accidental Discoveries When Teaching Coding with Geometry

codess“Having used coding for this school year, it seems like there are so many teachable moments to use with my class that I did not know existed.  I want to outline three accidental discoveries while I was teaching geometry.

1. Teaching the characteristics of shapes is in the Code

I have taught characteristics of shapes countless times in my career.  It wasn’t until I integrated coding that I discovered an amazing way to teach this lesson.  Coding forces kids to read the characteristics of shapes.  Lisa Floyd particularly likes this lesson.  Look at this code:” To read further please click here:

Jun 02

Teaching coding in schools: absolutely necessary or another fad to waste teachers’ time?

By:Bron Stucky

coding3“Coding is the literacy of the 21st century, according to Bill Shorten. It is so important the Abbott Government has allocated $3.5 million to support a ‘coding across the curriculum’ package in schools.Mind you I have to slip in here that our prime minister, Tony Abbott, decried the Labor Party’s elevation of the status of coding until many loud and derisive voices pointed out his own government’s promise of significant investment in it.Since Shorten’s declaration, the teaching of coding in schools has attracted much commentary. It is something many people have an opinion about it seems. So here’s mine.The idea that everyone needs to taste, explore and tinker with coding is easy to understand, but as to coding being the ‘new’ literacy of the 21st century, well I am not so sure. I think I would prefer science was the new literacy. This would, of course, include coding.

Someone said to me this week that because of the enthusiasm and focus on design and coding in schools their children are now convinced they will work in a design job or in the industry. I always worry when hype takes over and things become the new sexiest thing to do, even when I cautiously believe in their importance.” To read further please click here:

May 08

Scratch Jr helps students learn about coding and programming

By: Sam Patterson

scratch junior“Ever since I discovered that my pre-reading students could code using levelled apps like Kodable and The Foos, as well as open studio apps like Scratch Jr, I have worked to figure out how this fun and engaging challenge could be linked to literacy instruction.

At my school we do very little direct reading instruction in kindergarten, but we work on developing letter and number sense.  There are sight words that are studied.  As I worked with my kindergarten teachers I asked them what words we could support the kids in spelling and they brought me to the word wall.

Preparing Students for Programming

For this lesson I chose you, have, and peace.  I thought these words made a logical progression of challenges.  Then I set to crafting a digital learning experience.  I used to do craft paper learning experiences with blackline masters, a photocopier and white out.  To create a digital learning experience I build half of a program inside of Scratch Jr. I set up 3 different stages and each stage was a “level” holding one of the 3 words.
I had to make some adjustments to how the app functioned to set some boundaries on this learning experience.  I used guided access on the Ipads to turn o the touch on the main stage. This meant my students had to use code to move the letters because they could not click and drag them.
The students have worked in Scratch Jr before, so I only had to show them the activity once and set them to work.  Since I had guided access enabled, every Ipad was already on and in the app when I walked in the door.” To read further please cllick here:
May 08

Tasmanian primary schools to roll out coding curriculum

By: Aimee Chanthadavong

codingg“Tasmania will be the first state to introduce a coding curriculum to the primary school classroom as part of a new partnership between Code Club Australia and the Tasmanian government. Students will soon no longer have to wait until they hit university or late secondary school before they learn how to code — that is, if they haven’t already tried teaching themselves.As part of a new partnership between Code Club Australia and the Tasmanian government, coding will soon form part of the primary school curriculum across Tasmania.With funding from the Telstra Foundation, Code Club Australia will initially provide free training for one nominated representative from each of the 150 public and private primary schools in the state in delivering a coding curriculum to classrooms this year.The curriculum will involve two terms of teaching — HTML and CSS, before students learn Python — using Scratch, a free open-source learning program that was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).”To read further please click here:

May 03

An Excellent Lesson On How Students Can Use Scratch for Digital Storytelling

By:Med Kharbach

scratch junior“Some great news today! iPad Monthly is finally out today and we are sharing with you one excellent lesson it covered in its first edition. iPad Monthly is “a professional development subscription-based newsletter for teachers using iPads in the classroom”. iPad monthly is authored by created by Apple Distinguished Educator and inspiring keynote speaker, Paul Hamilton. The first edition of this newsletter has been released today and includes 6 lessons:

  • Lesson 1: Create digital stories using Scratch Jr
  • Lesson 2: Create Digital Math Manipulative Templates in Explain Everything by guest teacher Reshan Richards
  • Lesson 3: Create a Comic Debate using Comic Life
  • Lesson 4: Conduct a 2D shape investigation using the new paper and shape tools in Book Creator
  • Lesson 5: Inspire Creative Writing using Crayola Color Alive by guest teacher Drew Minock
  • Lesson 6: Create an interactive Narrative using The Adventure Creator”

To read further please click here:


May 02

8 Tips for Teaching Kids to Code

By: Deb Miller Landau

coding3Public education and creative programs are inspiring girls and minorities to dive into computer science like never before.

When we turn on a faucet to wash our dishes, we generally don’t think about the engineers who make dams or the hydrologists who ensure our water is clean and clear. Water flows freely from the spout then down the drain. Most of us are oblivious to the science of it all.

The same could be said for our technology, which enriches our lives through everything from entertainment and education to health care and economics.

Like running water, we assume technology will run freely too. But behind every cool new app or 3D printer are the humans who build code. Coders, or programmers, are the key bridge between human experience and technology.

They are the creative thinkers and problem solvers who build the systems that move our world forward. Coders are in high demand and yet their numbers are greatly lacking.” To read further please click here:

Apr 27

5 Year Olds Coding Without Technology

By: Brian Aspinall

codess“Melissa Dann (@meld70) is a prep teacher in Melbourne Australia who has begun exploring the concepts of coding with her five year old students. Yesterday she sent me the email below. As she reflects on her own practice, I applaud her confidence in considering a blog post – way to take a risk! As such, I asked if I could quote her here in this space to get comfortable. Check out the really cool things that are happening!

Hi Brian,

Here is a quick overview of what been happening in my classroom teaching coding to 5 year olds. (Just a reminder that we have been at school for 12 weeks – its amazing!)

Game : Robots and Programmers

Children work in pairs. One child is the Robot the other is the Programmer.

Language development is an important part of the activity. Programmers can ask Robots to take steps, turn, jump, hop etc. Programmers cannot ask their Robots to do anything dangerous. Programmers must say please, or the Robot will not respond. This is similar to the game Simon Says, where the children don’t respond unless the command is prefaced with “Simon say….” And saying please is just good manners.” To read further please click here:

Apr 19

Coding in the Classroom: A Long-Overdue Inclusion

By: Merle Huerta

codingg“One need not look to superstars such as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates to justify reasons for using code and programming logic in the classroom. There’s plenty of literature that illustrates its positive learning outcomes. Coding in the classroom is linked to improved problem solving and analytical reasoning, and students who develop a mastery of coding have a “natural ability and drive to construct, hypothesize, explore, experiment, evaluate, and draw conclusions.”

But there are other compelling reasons for integrating code in the classroom.

Reasons to Teach Coding

1. Coding is a new type of literacy.

Wired Magazine reported that reading and writing code is the new literacy. Those students who master it are better prepared for a technical revolution that spans cultures and language boundaries. That’s because coding isn’t just a language. It’s a way of thinking about problem solving.

2. Coding is a tool to improve educational equity.

Coding in the classroom is a means of bridging the digital divide. That means more than granting technological access — it’s a way for all students to use technology for creative engagement. Without coding in the classroom, many students in lower socioeconomic communities will miss the opportunities it affords.” To read further please click here:

Apr 08

Anybody Can Learn


codesCode your own stories or games with Disney Infinity Play Lab!Disney’s “Frozen” might be next-to-perfect, but have you ever wanted to create your own twist on the original storyline? Or create an action-packed game inspired by San Fransokyo in “Big Hero 6”?

We are excited to announce our second launch in collaboration with Disney Interactive: Disney Infinity Play Lab, starring Disney Infinity versions of five Disney characters: Anna and Elsa from “Frozen”, Hiro and Baymax from “Big Hero 6” and Rapunzel of “Tangled” fame.

In Disney Infinity Play Lab, you can learn to code your own animated stories or games. You have free rein to tell whatever story you dream up with this exciting cast of characters. At the end, it’s easy to share online to entertain or challenge a friend.

Our first collaboration with Disney Infinity, which allowed students to write code to help Anna and Elsa create snowflakes and magical “ice craft” for the Hour of Code 2014, helped tens of millions of young people in 180 countries delve into the world of creativity with computer science.” To read further please click here:

Apr 04

The Future and History of Learning to Code

By: Ben Williamson

codess“Much of the discussion around ‘learning to code’ is couched in futuristic terms. By learning to code, we are told, young people will be equipped to become the innovators, tech entrepreneurs and civic leaders of the future. Yet, much less is said about the history underpinning learning to code, and how such an appreciation of its past might enrich our understanding of its future.

Future Codes

Before considering its past, it is worth reviewing some current claims about learning to code and its potential contribution to the future. For example, a recent UK report entitled “Young Digital Makers” claims that learning to code is a key part of growing a nation of “digital makers,” individuals with the skills and knowledge to create the digital products of the future, grow the economy, and contribute to societal improvement:

“A huge expansion is needed if we are to grow a nation of digital creators who can manipulate and build the technology that both society and industry are increasingly reliant on. This expansion cannot be left exclusively to professionals, however, as we simply don’t have enough of them. It will require the mobilisation of enthusiasts and interested amateurs, from parents and non-expert teachers, to those working in the tech industry, working and learning alongside young people to help meet this demand.”” To read further please click here:

Mar 26

Using Scratch Jr. as a stepping stone for coding

By: Mrs Wideen

scratch junior“As my students and I continue on our journey exploring coding in our classroom I wanted to find an app that would help my students build a foundation on how to code in a simple and creative way.   I took a look at several apps and chose the Scratch Jr. App for several reasons:

  1. It is free.
  2. The app is a content creation app where students are able to create and express themselves, try new things, take risks and experiment.
  3. Students that cannot read, can still use this app successfully.
  4. There are some fabulous resources for teachers.
When I first opened the app, I wasn’t really sure what to do, there are many buttons and options.  I wanted to let my students “tinker” with it but I also wanted it to be purposeful and not too frustrating.  I went to the Scratch Jr. website and clicked on the activities tab.  It brought me to an introductory video that I shared with my students and 9 different activity cards that could be printed out or shown on a screen in your classroom ranging in difficulty.” To read further please click here:
Mar 25

Teach Programming Logic Through Gameplay with the Lightbot App

By:Lisa Blessington

codingg“Lightbot is an addictively fun puzzle game that is the perfect platform for introducing programming concepts to your students. Using sequential commands, students create simple programs to direct their Lightbot (Girlbot or Boybot) through a 3-dimensional grid on their mission to ‘light up’ the world of tiles. With no explicit coding required and a fun and tactile interface, Lightbot is an excellent starting point to get your class on the path to programming.” To read further please click here:

Mar 24

Life After the Hour of Code

By: Mary Beth Hertz

coding3“Now that the excitement of the Hour of Code has passed, and you still vividly remember your students’ eyes light up while completing their coding challenges, you may be wondering how to keep that excitement going in your classroom. The only thing is, you don’t teach computer science — and you have no idea how to teach coding.

The great news is, that’s fine!

Whether you are an English teacher, a history teacher, a math teacher, an art teacher, or any other subject area specialist, your students can still incorporate coding into what they are learning. If you’re a math teacher, coding is a natural fit — math skills are essential to programming. You can check out the lessons at Code by Math to see how your students can apply what they are learning in class to a coding challenge. You can even have them go to Khan Academy’s Computer Programming courses. No doubt they are already visiting the site for help with their math homework or as classwork.” To read further please click here:

Mar 18

Add Coding to Your Elementary Curriculum. . . Right Now

By:Matt Harrell

codess“ sums up the situation nicely:

Computer science drives innovation in the U.S. economy and society. Despite growing demand for jobs in the field, it remains marginalized throughout the U.S. K-12 education system.

There are many reasons for this. As you well know, teachers are already stretched pretty thin, and often it seems like there’s just no bandwidth to add something new to a very full schedule. Additionally, some schools have few or no computers and/or tablets for classroom use.

But the earlier we introduce children to coding, the more comfortable they will be when presented with more in-depth learning opportunities in middle and high school. Also, early exposure to coding helps teach children how important it is to understand computers as the valuable tools they are rather than merely fun playthings.

Kids Want to Code

Even if you don’t have a classroom full of future computer programmers, learning the fundamentals of coding provides students with skills that will serve them well in virtually any career they choose. Plus, there are few things that ignite and excite a room full of learners like a coding class.” To read further please click here:

Jan 19

Problem Solving Using Scratch

By:Yasemine Allsop

scratch junior“I am aware that the computer science aspects of the new computing curriculum creates extra work for some teachers as they need to learn many unfamiliar concepts. I know this can be challenging and time consuming, but I think we are very fortunate because there is a vast range of free programming environments /apps available for teachers to use for teaching computer science elements to children. What we need to remember is that the program itself doesn’t just make children develop computational thinking, the context we use, the pedagogical approach we employ shapes the learning experience of our students.

On the next page I have shared a simple activity which can be used as a main task or as an assessment task at the end of a coding session. The aim is to support children to design solutions for a specific purpose by selecting and using correct blocks in a sequence. These activities can encourage them to think in logical steps which is the main foundation of problem solving skills and at the same time provide opportunities for peer or whole class discussions.

Before this task there are some hands-on activities that you can do with children that will help them to design and use algorithms, which is a key element of programming.” To read further please click here:

Jan 03

Coding for Kids Revisited

By: Anna Adam & Helen Mowers

codinggg“While it feels like we just wrote 7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding Skills, it’s been a year, and as we know, that’s a couple of lifetimes in the technology world! Over the past year, we’ve discovered even more fabulous sites for teaching coding.

With programs like the Hour of Code and other sites, it looks like many children have been exposed to computer programming, but we feel that we still have a long way to go. Graduates with programming skills are in high demand, and it’s clear those numbers will only increase. In addition, the skills acquired through programming, like logical thinking, problem solving, persistence, collaboration, and communication, can be applied to any grade level, any subject area, and in every part of life. Programming isn’t just limited to computer science majors in college. Like we said a year ago, kidscan code — we have the sites and resources to make it happen. And it’s never been more important to provide students with opportunities to be exposed to programming, especially girls and minorities. In the interest of space, we’ve limited our list to resources for coding with elementary students (ages 5-11), and best of all, free resources!”

To read further please click here:


Nov 29

How Raspberry Pi Can Be Used In The Classroom


RaspberryPiWhat is Raspberry Pi, and how is it currently being used in education?

Raspberry Pi is a tiny, credit card sized computer; you simply connect a mouse, keyboard and monitor, add an SD card and you have a fully-functional machine. Schools across the country are starting to use the Pi as a means of teaching children about programming, hardware and networking, all of which are part of the new national curriculum.

What kind of kit would a teacher need to get started?
For one set-up, you will need a Raspberry Pi which costs around £20. The Pi requires a USB keyboard and mouse, and you might need a VGA to HDMI adapter depending on the type of monitors your school has. You will probably already have most of the kit you need available in your classroom. Of course, there are other parts you can buy to make your Pi even more exciting, ranging from a fancy case to keep it in, to breadboards, LEDs, cameras and other electronics kit – even motion sensors” To read further please click here:

Nov 28

Computer Science Classes for Kids Becoming Mandatory

By: Kathy Pretz

codess“Reading, writing, arithmetic, and coding: That’s the new curriculum in England’s public schools. England became the first country in the European Union to mandate computer science classes for all children between the ages of 5 and 16, starting with this school year. Depending on their age, students are getting lessons on algorithms, debugging programs, and coding in languages such as Java.

Meanwhile, some schools in Estonia are teaching programming to pupils as young as 6. Programming is scheduled to become part of the curriculum in Finland starting in 2016. Italy, Singapore, and other countries are working on changing their curricula.

There are several reasons behind such efforts. As the world becomes more dependent on computers, some countries want their youngsters to better understand software. Others say digital literacy and informatics (the British term for information science) are essential components of a modern education, and failing to teach such skills will harm their country’s economy. Many also say that teaching students to code is the first step in getting them interested in pursuing careers in the information, computing, and technology (ICT) fields.

Another factor is pressure from high-tech companies, which are demanding countries change what they teach to address the growing shortage of people with ICT skills.” To read further please click here:

Nov 23

Coding In The Classroom: How Teachers Are Learning To Code

By:Guest Author

Web Programming Development“Like a slow moving barge, the discussions around teaching students to code have remained afloat, drifting slowly towards a far away destination for many years. Although there is still progress to be made to achieve the goals of code fluency, current activities indicate that significant change is happening and thankfully, on a global scale.

In recent years, things have started to pick up speed. Steve Jobs of course was a passionate advocate of everybody, everywhere learning computer programming as a vital way to train us in new approaches to thinking. New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg made some waves in 2012 when he declared his new year’s resolution to be to learn to write code. Celebrities have started to pop up in various campaigns and the momentum is building.

The endorsement of code literacy’s importance is nowhere more welcome than through governments. Countries such as Singapore, the UK, and the US have made the news as they stood up and showed it was firmly on their agenda and in the places where it matters most – in schools.”To read further please click here:

Nov 22

4 Coding Apps For Kindergarten and Elementary School

By:Graphite by Common Sense Media

scratch junior“Common Sense Media’s service Graphite, which offers independent ratings and reviews of learning apps and websites, has compiled this list of apps to get young students started on the road to coding. For complete reviews, and for each app’s “Learning Rating,” visit the Graphite website.

Grades: K through 2
Price: Free
Concepts: Digital creation, logic, combining knowledge
ScratchJr‘s icon-driven interface is a good fit when the goal is introducing kids to programming concepts without all the complex programming. The interface does take some time to figure out: It’s not as simple as handing the program to a classroom of kids, but with a little teacher guidance, ScratchJr offers a rich and challenging environment for very young programmer.” To read further please click here:

Nov 16

3 Ways To Get Every Student Coding

By: Sheena Vaidyanathan

codeTeach kids to code. You can’t get away from this advice lately. Today everyone — from educators to industry leaders to policy makers — is talking about computer programming. In the past few years, it has gone from the once obscure purview of computer geeks to one of the hottest topics in education. Now startups and nonprofits are creating products and services to meet the demand. Online courses, iPad apps, after-school clubs, weekend hackathons and summer camps are sprouting up every day to teach kids to code.

But is that enough? If coding is to reach every student, can we really relegate it to these outside sources? I would argue that coding is an essential skill in the digital age, so it should be part of our core education system — an in-school program in every public school — so that all students get the chance to learn it, not just the lucky few who have access to after-school clubs and coding camps.

Not everyone agrees with me. The main argument against this idea is that public schools lack the resources, in both time and money, to add yet another core competency. But the truth is, it’s possible to use school resources to teach every student to code. We’re doing it in my district right now.” To read further please click here:

Nov 14

Kano: The Can-Do Coding Kit for Kids of All Ages

By:  Jack M.Germain

kano“So simple a child could do it” — I have heard that expression abused often in advertising. Yet it aptly applies to the Kano computer kit.Kano is a computer and coding kit that is suitable for all ages. Well, to be truthful, Kano’s step-by-step instructions in the included booklets and its simplified Linux-based operating system target kids aged 6 to 14.

That said, the hands-on method it uses to teach basic computer structure and coding principles will work for kids of all ages. Even older folks can assuage their curiosity about computers by playing around with this innovative real computer.

I spent years in the classroom pounding out lessons on writing, media and language that were so simple a child could do them. Kano’s instructional philosophy is sound, and the childlike ease of instruction might be just what older learners need.

After all, coding is not rocket science, but it might seem like it is for some people, regardless of age. Kano’s hands-on approach makes learning code — and for that matter Linux — a very enjoyable experience.” To read further please click here:

Nov 10

How to get started with coding in the classroom

By:Katie Dunn

coding3“This probably isn’t news, but coding isn’t just for geeks anymore. Computer based jobs are growing at a rate estimated to be about 2x faster than other types of jobs, and it is estimated that there will be a million more jobs than there are students to fill them by 2020. Currently, less than 2.4% of college students graduate with a degree in computer science.

Filling this gap means that more students need to get involved in STEM subjects early on in their education. Students need to learn to code, and luckily, there are some great tools available to make coding in the classroom more accessible. And since there’s always a fight for classroom time with ever-increasing standardized tests and core curricula to address, teaching your students to code can teach students a variety of skills at once, like collaboration, logic, practical problem solving and more.

That’s all great, unless you aren’t sure where to start. We’ve put together a list of our favorite learn-to-code resources for you to use as a jumping off point. Some of the resources are designed especially for students of certain ages, some for teachers, and some are for just about anyone! Some are online classes, others are apps or web tools – there’s a little bit of everything thrown in here.” To read further please click here:

Nov 05

Chandler library kicks off ‘Girls Who Code’ classes

codess“At the end of the two-hour class, a group of junior-high-age girls gather to talk about that first meeting.

“I learned how to make it look like a crab is proposing to a unicorn,” one student said.

“It took us an hour just to make the cat walk 10 steps,” another student pointed out.

They clearly had not been studying math or history or biology. They had just finished the first meeting of Chandler’s inaugural “Girls Who Code” class.

The national non-profit organization aims to teach technical skills and computer science to girls to encourage them to pursue technology and engineering and help erase the gender gap in those fields.

“That is true especially for (the) technical side of things,” said Pooja Agawane, an Intel graphic-software engineer, and a volunteer instructor at the Chandler club. “If you look at a lot of teams who do a lot of technical work like programming or software programming or hardware programming … it’s a visual imbalance.”To read further please click here:

Nov 01

8 Reasons Why Kids Should Learn to Code

By: Jack Lawicki

codess“The main arguments behind the push for students to learn to code, usually center aroundpreparing students for future jobs. There is a skill shortage in the computer science industry which determines skilled job seekers can walk into lucrative contracts. This trend is predicted to rise.

The other aspect to the usual argument is that even students who do not work in the technology industry will also benefit throughout their life and careers by learning computer science, as all industries now involve some component of programming.

While these arguments are perfectly valid, there are many more reasons why kids should learn to code. They include:

1. Learning to code teaches you a number of life lessons.

  • Learning from mistakes is vital.
  • You shouldn’t fear mistakes or failure.
  • Success is a scribbly line.
  • Persistence pays off.
  • Teamwork is important.

Computer science forces you to take responsible risks and engages you in the problem solving process of trial and error. ” To read further please click here:

Oct 21

The Doctor and the Dalek: Dr. Who Teaches Kids the Basics of Coding

By:Paul Sawers

dalek-520x317“Tying in with the new coding and computing content initiative announced by the BBC last month, the British broadcaster has announced a new Doctor Who-themed game designed to teach the basics of programming to kids.

Available online in the UK from Wednesday 22 October, ‘The Doctor and the Dalek’ game is aimed at CBBC-age viewers, and is voiced by the good Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi.

Players guide The Doctor on a perilous pursuit through space, as he teams up with a Dalek he rescued to save all of creation. Though the game is aimed at kids, the adventure also delves into the Sontar homeworld and the Clone Chambers, which have hitherto never been seen on-screen before, so this will probably appeal to curious Doctor Who fans of all ages.

Coding in games

The gaming facet is really just the packaging for what lies within. A myriad of puzzles and challenges are scattered throughout, with players taking control of the Dalek to ‘program’ it back into shape. With each successfully completed puzzle, an achievement is unlocked that helps The Doctor fine-tune the Dalek into tip-top condition.” To read further please click here:

Oct 20

Computational Thinking with Scratch



Over the past five years, we have developed a computational thinking framework based upon our studies of interactive media designers. The context of our research is Scratch — a programming environment that enables young people to create their own interactive stories, games, and simulations, and then share those creations in an online community with other young programmers from around the world. By studying activity in the Scratch online community and in Scratch workshops, we have developed a definition of computational thinking that involves three key dimensions: (1) computational concepts, (2) computational practices, and (3) computational perspectives. Observation and interviews have been instrumental in helping us understand the longitudinal development of creators, with participation and project portfolios spanning weeks to several years. Workshops have been an important context for understanding the practices of the creator-in-action.” To read further please click here:

Oct 19

How can teachers get to grips with computer programming, and where do we start?

By: Lawrence Williams

scratchingMany teachers have been utterly dismayed by the seemingly impossible demands of the new Programmes of Study for Computing. How can we all suddenly develop a wide range of new skills in Computing? Can our pupils, aged from only 5 years, really understand, write, and debug computer programmes? It seems an impossible task. But help is at hand…. And from a teacher of English, with no Computing training! (Though with some experience in using ICT.)

Lawrence Williams explains.

I am of a generation that remembers the wonderful cross-curricular, collaborative, and creative projects undertaken in our Primary schools, a process sadly destroyed by the introduction of the National Curriculum in the 1990s. By using Scratch as the tool, however, we have the opportunity to replace this lost teaching model, and by simultaneously introducing the new Computing curriculum.

Let’s start with a reminder of what pupils aged 5 must be able to do, but with some helpful hints added to the mix:

  • Understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices, and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions?
    Response: A cake recipe is an algorithm!
  • Create and debug simple programs?
    Response: Scratch is an easy-to-use block coding computer programming language, and pupils as young as 5 and 6 have had great fun using it to make animated stories. By animating their story, using Scratch, they are creating a simple program, and by changing the story’s timings to improve the visual effects, they are debugging and developing a simple program.
  • Use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs?
    Response: By asking the pupil, “What do you think will happen if you …….. and why do you think this?” you are developing, and they are using logical reasoning, to predict the behaviour of the Scratch program.
  • Use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content?
    Response: Simply make up the story, save the work, and add more to it each lesson.
  • Job done.The key to success, therefore lies in developing the curriculum project: Literacy from Scratch. I know it works, because I have done it.” To read further please click here: