Semester 2 – Seminar 1
Key stage 1 Computing Curriculum
At the start of our lesson we recapped the 3 aspects of computing; Digital literacy (e.g. podcasts, video creation, YouTube, iMovie, iBooks, Kindle, WordPress, Blog and email), Computer Science (coding, algorithms, debug, decomposition and abstraction) and IT (creating skills and consuming).
We then moved onto to discuss what experiences children might have of technology before they start school. Some ideas we discussed were: the use of iPad’s, phones (to play games, take photos and communicate), iPod’s and MP3 players (to listen to music), laptops and toy laptops and remote control toys/ cars (forward, backwards, left and right). All of the above ideas give children prior knowledge before they start formally learning about computing in school.
Bee Bots activities:
The main aim of our seminar was to look into the learning opportunities using the tool Bee Bots. Before we started using the Bee Bots we played the game ‘Cat and Mouse’, which introduces basic algorithms to young children in a fun way! The game consisted of children understanding basic instructions and to turn 90 degrees each time.
After this we set up a simple maze using masking tape, for us as students to create a pattern using our Bee Bots which we thought would follow the maze correctly. As a class we then tried out all our different programmed Bee Bots and saw which group got the closest to the end point. We then discussed how we could correct our Bee Bots to get closer to the target next time. If children struggled with this activity, the teacher can help the children by scaffolding their learning by using Bee Bot rulers or sequence cards.
We then moved onto creating the capital letter T using our previous knowledge of programming the Bee Bots. After we completed this task we were told to create the most difficult capital letter we could, using the Bee Bots. As a group we decided to make the letter R, we were encouraged to make drawings and notes to help us visualize the letter we were creating. This activity was great for children to learn about algorithms, but also learning how to work collaboratively in a group and provide each other with their own ideas.
Finally we looked into Pro Bots, which use the same idea of Bee Bots but are designed as a car, have the ability to hold a pen and have more controls to use. We discussed how Bee Bots, Blue Bots and Pro Bots can be used on maps (e.g. the map of the UK pictured below). The maps are great to use for children to focus on reaching a destination, and working on their ability to put in the right combinations of instructions. We talked about how the use of different maps are great for cross-curricular learning, e.g. map of UK links with geography. Maps can be brought to be used or be made by either the teacher, or the children themselves – focusing on an area of learning when creating the maps.
Overall I found this session very engaging and helpful for my personal computing learning, as I have worked with Bee Bots in schools before and not been very confident in helping the children out, as I was unsure about how to myself. Now, I have many ideas to use within schools to aid with their computing learning.
Below is the official website for Bee Bots. It explains the uses and purposes of the Bee Bots, you can buy Bee Bots off the website and has supportive materials for teaching and learning using Bee Bots.Schools can also post their own personal stories using Bee Bots, which can then be shared with other schools for the use of resources or just to share knowledge. The final point about this website that I find useful is that it links with the National Curriculum, and offers you to use it to match Bee Bots with your class of children.