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Any teachers around? KS2 Computing - what are you teaching?

(42 Posts)
WheelParrot Fri 16-Oct-15 18:51:38

I have a child in Yr6, obv with the NC changes of late, there are changes to the ICT lessons of the past.

What I'm wondering is - what are you teaching? What should I be expecting from Yr6 lessons? What should KS2 children be learning in Yr6 (bearing in mind they haven't had 3 previous KS2 years of this new curriculum)?

Am I totally incorrect in thinking that an hour a week "checking Gmail" isn't really cutting it? Am I overreaching in thinking they should be learning how to debug and learn basic code? I know the realities of life in the classroom are different from an ideal world, I don't want to expect too much!

Hulababy Fri 16-Oct-15 18:56:54

They should be doing plenty of coding - writing and debugging their own code. Most schools start with something like Scratch or Blockly.

I teach lot of a coding and control technology type flowcharts at KS1, so they should definitely be doing it in KS2.

Hulababy Fri 16-Oct-15 18:58:09

This is the KS2 curriculum:

Key stage 2
Pupils should be taught to:

 design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts

 use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output

 use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs

 understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration

 use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content

 select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information

 use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.

WheelParrot Fri 16-Oct-15 19:05:40

I had a look at the curriculum - I was worried there might be an element of "well...this is the start of the new curriculum,no point starting this stuff with Yr 6" going on, which I hope isn't the case - but that's why Ive asked here before I speak to the teacher at the school.

They are using Scratch, but it's occasional. Aside from the internet safety stuff, they are being basically left to use gmail for their lessons. (I am hoping this is child exaggeration).
Computing lessons seem to be used as a carrot to get the kids to behave in other lessons - so when someone in the class misbehaves, they take 10 mins off Computing, or go to Computing late as punishment. To me, Computing is NC and should be treated the same as Maths or English.

Am a little worried as it seems my computer-able child (who should have the rare opportunity to shine in these lessons), is sitting at a shared computer for an hour a week whilst his partner emails her friends across the other side of the classroom. (I have heard similar for another child, it's not just mine)

(thanks, Hula)

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 16-Oct-15 19:40:01

If he's yr6, shouldn't he have started on the new nc last year? Which means they could have got 2 years programming in. They might not do programming/coding every half term but there shouldn't be lots of time just spent 'off-task' as it were.

The fact that they are taking time off it as punishment might suggest they aren't treating it as an actual lesson period.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 16-Oct-15 19:44:20

This may help get an idea of what is possible. Obviously current year 6 may have gaps from previous years which need filling.

WheelParrot Fri 16-Oct-15 20:17:34

Sorry, Rafa yes - they did do a fair amount of Scratch last year. That record of achievement is great, just what I needed, thank you! I don't expect them to be able to do all of that by the end of Yr 6, particularly with them being part of the crossover curriculum group, but it's great to know what they could be learning, and looking at the Yr 5 stuff on there, I think there is stuff lacking.

Was hoping I was massively overreacting tbh. I dont think they are treating it like a proper lesson and this doesn't please me. I can imagine the outrage is they treated Maths like this. I'll use that achievement record to go through with DC and do some more digging so I can be fully aware before I speak to them.

WheelParrot Fri 16-Oct-15 20:22:06

And no, it shouldn't be constant coding, of course. Are there guidelines for using sets for Computing?

The school sets for Maths and English - do any schools do this for computing or is it just not done? If some children are confident at basic coding and some don't understand the concept of an email, are they all just being taught together?

I get some down time, email checking, etc - time just spent using computers. But 5 weeks into term - 1 week on internet safety, 1 week on Scratch, and 3 weeks "doing GMail and its linked applications", supervised by a TA (as opposed to the only IT teacher in the school) which means sending emails to each other in class....seems to me to be a waste. But again, I'm not a teacher and I dont want to try to be one by proxy, because I know thats a PITA wink

melonribena Fri 16-Oct-15 20:51:27

This sounds rubbish. This is not what happens at my school. He should have his own computer not shared and be taught by a teacher.

Y5 started the new NC last year, it's only y2 and 6 that are new this year so this should be his second year of it.

I would ask to speak to the head. Sounds like the school needs to invest

WheelParrot Fri 16-Oct-15 21:14:56

is it standard to have a computer each? The school is not poor (I would say well off, for a school, anyway!), to my mind they should have one each but I didn't know if it was usual.

irvine101 Fri 16-Oct-15 21:53:57

Sorry to hijack, but reading RafaIsTheKingOfClay 's pdf made me a bit worried. My Ds is in Yr3, and he is really into computing, but doesn't like scratch so much. He is learning coding using Java script, HTML and CSS at the moment. Is it going to be a problem?

melonribena Fri 16-Oct-15 22:08:40

Its highly recommended to have a computer each, or a laptop. Otherwise inevitably, one child just has to sit there while the other child works. There are some things they can do collaboratively but not everything.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 16-Oct-15 22:09:09

What sort of a problem do you mean?

That pdf is from a specific scheme of work showing the progression of skills in it. Different schools could be doing completely different things.

I suspect that a child already using java, HTML & CSS in year 3 might find that they already know most things that will be taught in ks2 by the time they get to year 6 regardless of what scheme the school are using.

I would hope that tasks/projects might be open ended enough that they could use their skills in creative ways though.

irvine101 Fri 16-Oct-15 22:30:07

Hi Rafa. I was worried because my Ds has ASD traits and if he doesn't like something,(in this case scratch), he may disengage himself from it. Since there are lot's of scratch in pdf, I panicked a bit. I think I might encourage him to do some scratch from now.
Thank you.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 16-Oct-15 22:36:57

I think scratch might be getting quite a lot of use. Sorry. It's free and highly regarded.

irvine101 Fri 16-Oct-15 22:41:17

I will definitely encourage him! Thank you again.

Hulababy Sat 17-Oct-15 10:20:48

Our infants doesn't have a computer each - we have one between two and encourage collaborative work. We also have 15 iPads available every computer lesson (have another 15 for children out on a rota too) so some lessons we do half and half, and swap - depends on lesson and planning. But no one just gets to sit and play unguided.

BetweenTwoLungs Sat 17-Oct-15 10:25:45

Y6 teacher, we did one lesson signing into and using gmail, but also involved opening attachments, adding attschemnts etc things that we actually use email for. Have then done scratch this half term which children have loved. Next half term will be website design using the Google website creator and high ability looking at HTML etc.

BetweenTwoLungs Sat 17-Oct-15 10:27:06

To add, never threaten to take away computing time for poor behaviour but have to admit to occasionally using time to word process work as we can't get in the IT room at any other time. Typing is an important skill though, that's my argument ha!

irvine101 Sat 17-Oct-15 12:56:00

At this day and age, there must be a lot of children who likes to write their own code rather than using block type coding like scratch. What do the teachers do with them?
I know those children have to understand that school work is different from what you do outside school, but if they spend a lot time on it, it's like teaching a child who can do algebra how to do "1+1".
My Ds used to love scratch before he started to write his own code, but I am really dreading it even though I think scratch is quite deep and good.

WheelParrot Sat 17-Oct-15 18:00:44

I had a dig on the school website for policies etc and found they have enough desktops for one between two for a class in the ICT suite. They then have 15 laptops for general class use, moved around as needed for KS1, and another 15 for KS2. Then they have tablets, and other laptops for specific use.

So there are enough differing formats for them to use one of each of something, but not enough for everyone to use the same thing. Though I would imagine the same software should be on all of them (though maybe not if they are being used for certain things?

I think if they are learning to code, or doing anything other than reading from the screen in KS2, they really need one computer each. Who can code two to a machine? Particularly when there are different abilities within the group and they are not paired with matched abilities, just boy/girl pairings.

Some of the stuff on this thread has been very useful! I certainly don't want to cause a massive fuss but I am very concerned that my child will be behind when it comes to secondary - whilst I can help with certain IT things, I don't know how to code, nor understand anything other than basic HTML so can't make up for lack of school knowledge at home (which I have just done with other subjects).

Computing is the chance for my child to shine, he loves it - I was thrilled when I heard about the curriculum changes. It seems such a shame to waste such potential. I will be going in and asking some questions - but the info given here means I will know if I am being fobbed off or not - it's good to be prepared!

irvine101 Sat 17-Oct-15 18:56:56

WheelParrot, if your DC loves computing, he can learn it online.

I recommend these sites. Both free.

mrz Sat 17-Oct-15 19:02:21

I think many schools use Scratch as an introduction to the basics of coding before moving onto things like Python

irvine101 Sat 17-Oct-15 19:24:47

mrz, what computer language they learn depend on each school or are there any standard?

Most of them are quite similar but different. My ds is willing to learn something new when he finished advanced JS and HTML, but is there good one to learn? Python a good choice? I am trying out Python, Ruby and PHP and JQuery at the moment but it's a bit confusing. I would like to point to him which one to learn next.

mrz Sat 17-Oct-15 19:56:23

Irvine I didn't say that's what every school does only that many schools both primary and secondary do start with Scratch and move onto Python.

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