ICT INSET for Primary Schools (Charles Darwin Community Primary School, Castle, Northwich)
Free INSET for primary school teachers on teaching programming to primary school children. The afternoon session looked at practical approaches to develop the teaching of this challenging aspect of the primary school curriculum, an area which many teachers have commented that they need some additional support with. Delivered by our Director of ICT, it provides an invaluable opportunity to consider best practice and share ideas with colleagues. We had a total of 11 primary school colleagues join us for the event from the following schools: Elworth, Tarvin, Whitegate, Leftwich, Warmingham, Wilmslow, Stockton Heath and Charles Darwin primary schools.
The main aim of the INSET session is to share ideas about how Primary teachers can support their students in learning to code without having to be programmers themselves. We begin by looking at developing the skills required by students to become successful coders, such as attention to detail, giving precise instructions and trouble-shooting. We then look at some fun ways of achieving this through various games and activities, none of which require advanced ICT skills. After covering the core skills we investigate some of the excellent resources which already exist online which can be used in the classroom to support students in developing their coding skills using trackable and age-specific resources.
Primary school teachers are usually required to teach across the curriculum. Therefore INSET in areas of the curriculum requiring specialist knowledge can be immensely valuable. Even for primary school teachers who do have specialist knowledge in these areas, the opportunity to gain exposure to new ideas is appreciated. The requirement to teach coding in the Primary curriculum is a relatively new one and many Primary colleagues can feel daunted by this, even if they themselves are confident users of IT. Many feel that learning a programming language and then creating the lesson resources to support their students in learning it can be a very time consuming process which is very difficult for them to achieve. In addition, coding is an area where we tend to see a wide spread of ability in students, so trying to support students who are just beginning to engage with the basics whilst also trying to keep the more advanced students engaged can by a daunting challenge. We began this particular INSET in October 2014, after receiving feedback from our training days in Science that teacher would find ICT a really useful area to have some help with.
The school used one of its ICT suites to host the event, ensuring that all participants had access to the necessary hardware and software. The event was run by our Director of ICT, Mr Alex Masters, who provided a range of different strategies to enable the teaching of programming to primary school children in both key stages 1 and 2. Lunch was also provided before the afternoon training began.
Our Primary colleagues come away from the session with new ideas and resources to use with their class and with a little reassurance that they do not need to be subject experts in order to support their students in developing their own skills.
Our Year 7 students were an excellent welcoming committe, who looked after teachers on their arrival.
This takes place every other year, so far in October 2014 and 2016, and we are lloking to continue this in to the future.