Semester 2 Seminar 2: Key stage 2 Computing Curriculum
In this session we focused on the topic of coding. To do this, we used three interactive resources which are ideal in terms of helping children to practise and develop their coding skills. These sites were:
- ‘Hour of Code’ (https://code.org/learn)
This website is appealing to children as themes such as ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Frozen’ are available to select. My chosen activity theme of ‘Frozen’ consisted of twenty puzzles, requiring the completion of a particular amount of lines of code. This is done by deciding on the correct instruction, and dragging the block across to the right. Once happy with the code, the button ‘Run’ can be selected which makes the characters move according to the code that has been made. If the code has not created the desired outcome there are opportunities for further attempts – the code can be altered by moving unwanted blocks to the left into the bin and/or adding new blocks, then pressing the ‘Reset’ option before selecting ‘Run’ again. While this was at times challenging, the website provides a useful introductory video/notes, as well as hints in the instance that an incorrect or incomplete code has been put together. At the end of the session we also discussed the role of the teacher during this activity, which is to support and guide pupils to help them reach the correct answer and overcome difficulties. This may be done by circulating the room and speaking to pupils and assessing those who appear as though they may require assistance.
- ‘Tizzys First Tools’
This program was pre-downloaded onto a university computer and not a web-based resource. I carried out an activity called ‘Move’, which involved selecting arrows (forwards, backwards, left, right) and also a number which represented how many movements the turtle would make or degrees it would turn in the chosen direction, before pressing ‘OK’. Once I understood that numbers had to be selected in order for the turtle to move, this task was fairly straight forward, although it required careful thought.
- ‘Purple Mash’ (http://www.purplemash.co.uk)
I completed three different activities on this website. The first was called ‘2GO’, and involved pressing arrows to make the bee move between the flowers.I decided to connect the flowers together, pressing the arrow of the direction I needed (forwards, backwards, left, right). This made the bee move by a set distance each time – which meant I often had to press the arrows more than once for the bee to reach its destination. Specific challange activities are also available.
The second activity was ‘LOGO’, which consisted of moving the arrow by making instructions. To do this, the direction must be chosen (forwards, backwards, left, right) and a number should be typed after to determine how may squares it moves forwards or backwards, or how many degrees to the left or right it turns. The ‘enter’ key should then be pressed. On the interactive whiteboard there were a set of challenges to attempt while using ‘LOGO’. I decided to complete the first challenge which was to create a square.
Finally, I also completed the activity ‘Fun with fish’ on the ‘2Code’ section. This involved responding to a series of challenges, by dragging the block with the name of a sea creature inside, from the left to the right and then selecting an instruction (up, down, left, right). After this, by selecting the green ‘play’ button, an animation shows the sea creatures moving in the direction that has been programmed. Hints and useful explanatory videos are positive features of this activity. In addition, ‘help videos’ are available for all three of these activities.
After the session I found an article which explains the role of ‘Hour of Code’ as part of Computer Science Education Week. It also explains how the activity is cross-curriculuar:http://www.edutopia.org/blog/calling-learners-teachers-hour-of-code-ashley-cronin.