#Naace14 Conference Friday Breakout Session 2

Phil Bagge Adding a strand of Computing Science into Computing/ICT

*These are a few of my notes from Phil’s excellent workshop – all resources available on his site here*

*Excuse errors – live blogging and note taking*

What percentage do you teach computing vs digital literacy? 30 / 70 (roughly). *Again, links to the idea that there is more to technology in schools than just computing. Don’t forget the rest! 

Phil has found that debugging is the most important aspect of computing. From experience, we as teachers want to fix things. Debugging is about empowering children to fix things themselves and giving them the responsibility. It is not the teachers job to debug pupil code and fix their problems – important to raise this point with classes when beginning to teach them. *This develops independence and allows them to make mistakes! Limited timescales in digital literacy aspects bring temptation to teachers to solve problems for the children. Through computing children should be empowered to solve the problems themselves.

Burgers, Sandwiches and Side Salads. Analysing and interpreting the curriculum for computing. What to focus on (the meat) and how to support this (the bun). *See Phil’s slides for more explanation.

Planning has been influenced by the children; they have given excellent ideas and inspired planning tweaks. All available online here.

Phil shared his software ‘best fit’ for where certain pieces of software have been used most effectively in different year groups.

Screenshot 2014-03-28 13.32.10

(source: http://code-it.co.uk/resources/primaryproglang.pdf)

Scratch – allows users to make what they want. Kodu is great but is limited to making games. Scratch provides a variety of types of programming for learners. Sharing the fact that children ‘buy in’ to Scratch and have gone home and downloaded, taking what they have learnt in school back home. Online community can provide children with a community to learn from outside of school with video resources included (flipped model).

Phases of programming

What can it do? Give children different experiences of things that they can change, adapt and move forward.

Decompose before build. Break a programme up into all the bits it took to compose it. As you make, refer back to decomposition. Why? Because they will be decomposing in the future.

Give children blocks without the order. Experiment – can you make it do what you want it to? Celebrate

Blocks and speech. Read and understand the blocks and what they mean. Read the code! *Code comprehension is really important. No point in slotting blocks together unless you actually understand what it means and what it is going to do. 

Similar but not the same. Give children a piece of code that is similar to the one they need to create.

Model physically. Allows children to understand what is happening – they can see it. E.g. the forever loop (modelled perfectly by the audience!).

Tinkering. Play with stuff! Learning through play. If they’ve completed the task and showed an understanding of the key concept allow them to tinker, explore and adapt code.

Extension tasks and challenge cards. Build into lesson in order to support and stretch pupils. *Important to remember with ICT/computing lessons in general that there are differing levels of ability. It is like any other lesson we teach! Sometimes I feel this can be forgotten. Similar issues with marking and feedback in technology lessons.

Decomposed games planning. Play a basic game. Plan own games using tactile resources (playground, chalk, paper, pen). Break up the idea and plan the game.


Training teachers to code. All start at the same level. Choose one language to start with. Teach a module. Classes teach relevant modules. Come back and evaluate.

Not all Computing Science needs to be programming. Playground games, making sandwiches, getting up algorithm.

Internet side salad. Taking apart and discussing ‘search’ using the classroom environment. *See website for more. 


Just for reference: Phil’s infamous jam sandwich video:



#Naace14 Conference Friday Breakout Session 1

Rob Curran Using CoderDojo principles to inspire and enhance learning

As a mentor, Rob says he is learning all the time and that attending CoderDojos develop his understanding too. *I think this is what many teachers will experience as we implement a new curriculum for computing. This is a great aspect of the new curriculum that teachers should embrace, even though for some it may be daunting. Excellent way of engaging young people and their parents in learning something new. Children remixing standard scratch games to change background, costumes, speed of movement, etc. *Links to ‘remix’ that was mentioned this morning. ‘Skill set determines what is on offer – but not necessarily what takes place!’ Children always present and talk about their work at the end of the dojo.

CoderDojo resources available open source to all. Available here. These come with a health warning – resources are not always easy to follow by someone who has not lead a session like that before.

Pertinent question from audience around CRB checks for adults supporting the young people at dojos. Working with Hays Recruitment to ensure all adults are checked.

‘Be the guide on the side’ is a saying that also came up in the flipped learning session yesterday. *As a teaching approach, this supports learning across the curriculum and is not just useful when introducing coding concepts. 

Questions from audience

Any comments on how to achieve this standard of learning inside school without parents at learners sides with computing skill sets? This is an issue for us all to consider. These sort of events could be run between schools in a local area and therefore learn from each other (and perhaps invite specialist teachers to lead and other teachers learn alongside). A little like sports events where schools are all invited to one space to complete sports activities, perhaps there could be locally organised coding events. 

Issues surrounding pupil engagement, especially in areas of deprivation where parental involvement might not be so strong. Narrowing the digital divide? 

Comment from audience – In a class situation when learning coding (and other things!) the model of learning in groups and teams can be used to effect.

#Naace14 conference Fri (am)

Celia Hoyles and Richard Noss London Knowledge Lab, IOE

Seymour Papert – Constructivism – theory of teaching, not learning. People learn very well if they can build stuff outside of themselves in order to build models in their mind. Build + Share. Programming – What to build with? What to build? How to share it?

“Programming is a way to build things outside of your head in order to build things inside of your head” Richard Noss #Naace14 (Tweet from @dughall)

What to build with? Used to be very easy to choose – Logic. Need to break down the idea of programming and make it clear that lost of teachers are already teaching programming skills through other subjects in other ways! What to build? 72 pieces of Lego, on average, in every home in the world (with children). How to share? Remix projects – a new aspect. Looking forward to stories and papers about remixing education, remixing learning.

Learner needs to be active through using technology, encouraged to predict, test, reflect, explain. The teacher must appreciate the potential of the software and have ownership and technical expertise (at some level) with the software. They have to understand what they are doing. Must highlight the important ideas and processes and need to respond to the needs of diverse learners (misconceptions, gender, etc.). Needs to be curriculum support, teacher support and teacher and student communities and collaboration.

Cornerstone Maths explored and explained.

Closing remarks:

Hardware or software alone does not have an effect. For any intervention, need to be clear on what it aims to effect. Need a community of teachers and professionals who believe in it and who will communicate around the ideas it raises.

Tweet from @deputymitchell (recapping a comment originally from Miles Berry) during the session. This is an important aspect to remind staff when delivering sessions on new curriculum for Computing:

Screenshot 2014-03-28 09.40.34

Mark Chambers Naace CEO, Naace Manifesto

Delegates invited to contribute their thoughts on a range of subjects via nearpod app.

Important question: Should making be the new paradigm for learning with technology?


Graham Fox Microsoft and Professor Steve Molyneux Tablet Academy

Microsoft vision: Anytime, anywhere learning. 3 areas. Transforming education, supporting educators, inspiring students.

Inspiring students. Dream Spark, Kodu (Kodu Kup), App Development (touch develop).

Tablet Acedemy – supporting schools in developing use of tablets. Steve Molyneux tracks the history of technology dating back to the Age of the Philosopher. We are at the Age of the Individual – individuals are in charge of the content and this can bring fear in educators using the technology in the classroom. Around 4 million learners have access to mobile devices in or out of school. Technological divide between teacher and student.

Gutenberg 1.0 (1450) – It’s just a piece of paper!

Gutenberg 2.0 (Today) – It’s just a sheet of glass!

Students are creators, not just consumers. *Is this reflected in education systems? Some, definitely. Does the new curriculum reflect this?* Discussion of the 5Es in terms of use of technology in impacting learner experience.

Flipped learning – offload lower order thinking skills to independent learning often at home and spend time focusing on higher order thinking skills in the ‘precious’ time we have in the classroom. ‘[If] we can tailor the lesson to the needs of the individual…we will make the best use of our time.’ We need to turn the idea of the classroom on its’ head. Pupils want to ‘Connect, Create, Coordinate, Collaborate, Communicate’.

Explored the possibilities and the potential in terms of future tech using gesture-based interaction.


Excellent session, lots to consider.

#Naace14 conference (am2)

**Please excuse typos and any unconsidered thoughts – these posts are purely my very quick, initial responses to aspects of what I’m hearing and seeing…will reflect more deeply after conference**

Brief discussions over tea and biscuits…

London could benefit from a connected approach to digital learning like we have seen this morning from Scotland, NI and Wales. However, who would lead? Who would fund? Who would decide on priorities? How would we keep the vision progressive? I would like to see a disruptive digital learning community within schools in London and the UK who are trying to change ‘learning’ in schools and using technology as a means to do so. Hmm…more to be considered.

Comment on twitter and over tea about amount of people on devices with heads down whilst speakers are delivering keynotes. What if pupils were able to tweet and use devices while a teacher was leading a lesson? Perhaps they’d learn more, begin debate and discussion over issues from the lesson and instantly engage with resources and ideas shared by the teacher. Or perhaps they’d look at pictures of cats and videos of the top goals of the season. Interesting thought.


David Fairbairn-Day Head of Education Strategy, Promethean

Role of leadership in the use of technology and school improvement through ICT. Education systems around the world are all unique in the same way: all have their own drivers. Must have a vision shared by everyone. Early 1900s predictions that films would replace textbooks. 357 million NEETs (young people Not in Education, Employment or Training). Huge amount of people. Links between this and social unrest.

Leadership types (Daniel Muijs, 2010) – Transactional, Transformational, Distributed, Instructional. *Read this paper*Leadership in schools should be driving the use of ICT not just enabling it.

*Thought* This is a really important point, especially for middle leaders who may be trying to drive and progress ICT change in schools. Drive needs to come from all levels of leadership.

Leaders ICT capability is important, not competency. Leaders in school should understand what the impact of ICT can do, not understand every nuance of new programs. They must understand potential and possibilities. Stroll and Fink (1996) model created to review where staff are in terms of attitudes and approach to development and support. *Look into further*. Hype Cycle – adoption curve for technology. Think about teaching models and the way technology should be used to support (see presentation on Naace site after conference).

1) Need to know how teachers teach – knowledge transfer, knowledge sharing, knowledge communities (bringing own learning from outside school more and more). 2) Need to know how people adopt innovation (steveapplegate.com) from Innovators to Laggards. 3) Need to know how to develop people. It’s not always the innovators who are the best to develop and lead change in schools. They can frighten others by pushing agendas forward and leave others behind. ‘Early Majority’ should be the leaders in schools. *Check slides online after conference to see models*

Leaders must Enable, Motivate and Drive ICT implementation in schools. It’s not about the technology, it’s about the contextual aspects of driving and leading change in school.

*Thought* Not to forget it’s about the learners!


Rhian Kavanagh Programme Manager, e-skills UK

Pre-9am and already technology has been the key to the presenter’s life getting to the conference. At what point do we consider the safety issues involved in all our activities?

Cyber Crime – costs $388 billion

securefutures.org – campaign to get people interested in future careers in Cyber Security.

Olympic opening ceremony had a call about a suspect cyber attack on the ceremony. What would the world have said if this had happened? Developing sessions for schools to encourage children to consider the impact of their social media activity. Introduction > social media > law and ethics.

*Thought* How often is cyber security covered in E-Safety sessions in schools? Need to cover in staff CPD sessions and INSET.

Black, grey and white hat hackers – we want to develop white hat hackers as they are supporting develop online institutions resources. *The good guys!*


#Naace14 Conference (am1)

Lucinda Searle Chair, Naace Board of Management

Not just programming and coding that are important: don’t forget the other aspects of technology that are important for our learners to develop. Lucinda recapped the balance in the new Computing curriculum. Learning in a connected world – new tagline for Naace. Don’t forget to support teachers in this new age of computing and technology today…and in the future


Kevin Brennan Labour Member of Parliament for Cardiff West and Shadow Schools Minister

Not enough being done in our schools to reflect the present, let alone the future. Comment on schools reflecting cultural and social landscape of our current “connected digital world”. Nod towards the need for pupils to become “problem solving citizens”. Children asked wanted to run their own business in the future yet none of them felt that school prepared them for this. Technology should become a “ubiquitous ally of learning” in order to support pupils learning. Learning through technology is also happening in the House of Commons as we speak. “Government seems to be designing an analogue curriculum for a digital age.” Moving on to discuss and comment on exams and assessment where we still seem to be using technology of the era of Dickens, to prepare young people for the age of the algorithm.

Question from Miles Berry on the shadow secretaries thoughts on reinstating Local Authority, middle tier coherence. Response includes comment on the “ludicrous idea” that the secretary of education can control 50% of schools from one office in Whitehall.


Lindsay Harvery and Janet Hayward Learning in Digital Wales

Foundation Phase in Wales from 3 – 7 years, moving through to KS2. 3 very straight forward commitments in Wales: to improve standards in literacy; to improve standards in numeracy; and to reduce the impact of poverty on attainment. E-safety worries can put teachers off engaging with new technologies – important comment for those of us ‘in the field’ trying to persuade colleagues and leaders to adopt new ideas and change practice. Important to remember that use of tech is all about driving forward standards for learners – we can get carried away with new technology.

*Thought* I can’t help but think that as we spend hours, days, weeks, years contemplating how best to support learners to develop computing/ICT/digital literacy (all of the above?) skills in schools, there are a great deal of learners actively taking control of their own understanding and digital development outside of school.

Learning platform through Hwb+ site. Early Years to Y6 children interacting with their learning platform, storing homework, messaging community, etc.

*Thought* Would be good to know the uptake and usage levels on learning platforms in school. Will children interact with platforms and maintain this access if they are not engaged in the content actually being uploaded and shared? It was discussed that platforms are revolutionising practice with vast benefits including file sharing, etc. I’m not sure if these platforms truly do revolutionise teaching or learning. Rather, they just move the practice that was happening in school to an online space. Is that revolutionising learning? I need to reflect more on this.

Teachers taken to be Digital Leaders across Wales with a task to build capacity in the system at all different levels across Wales.


John Anderson Professor of Education, Northern Ireland

Historical context of educational technology provision and vision in Northern Ireland (C2k). ICT embedded in NI schools – management, professional development, curriculum provision, teaching and learning. Progression in using ICT across the curriculum documents clearly setting out components of the statutory curriculum in NI. Exploring, Expressing, Evaluating, Exchange, Exhibit – the 5 Es for ICT in NI.

*Thought* We still seem to be stuck in the era of policy-driven, top-down development of use of technology in schools to meet predetermined agendas. Where is the focus on children, young people and learners who are already accessing and manipulating technology independently? Obviously, lots of young people are not as skilled and self-empowered with their use of technology as others and there is still a ‘divide’ in this sense. Yet surely we could learn from what’s happening outside of school with digital creation and bring this into education (working from young people’s interests).


Dr Jim Fanning Head of Emerging Technologies, Education Scotland

Spotlight on Scotland. Takes 5 years for governmental policy to become embedded. “Takes 5 years for an initiative to bed in”.

*Thought* This is too long in terms of technology development. Same issue with school 5-year plan for technology redeployment.

Learning is constructed around experiences and outcomes, not technology. Scottish government are asking public questions and showing how they have acted to support their ideas for development. Public involvement encouraged through Scottish ‘we ask, you say, we did’ (via Jan Harrison). Comment on top-down methods of development in the past (and currently). Scotland pushing for giving teachers and learners a voice in new developments (National Digital Learning Forum). The hope is that this will turn around the top-down model.

Comment from the audience – there is a contrast between technology that teachers need for personal professional activity and what they actually want to teach in terms of problem solving skills, creative development using technology, etc.