CAS Inspire showcase highlights: learning around blended delivery

Missed our CAS Inspire showcase this week? Catch up with our roundup of the event.

#CASInspire, from Computing at School (CAS), is an ongoing programme of support consisting of live webinars with expert panellists discussing topical computing education matters. 

We were delighted to be asked to showcase highlights of our own learning around blended delivery. We also explained how we adapted delivery of our projects and how our computer science pedagogy has developed to suit a blended context. Here’s a rundown of the key points. 


What is connected learning?

Connected learning’ is at the heart of what we do. But what does it mean? 

Connected learning: 

  • supports social connection, and links to opportunity and the real world
  • uses technology in the service of creating powerful learning experiences 
  • is not about any specific technologies, platforms, or techniques
  • links interests, academic success, learning from others
  • focuses on making, creating, producing

Examples of just a couple of our cultural learning projects show this philosophy in action, and how we have adapted our delivery to a blended context:

Tate-inspired digital art project: whereas for the past four years we’ve brought together 200 children from different local schools as part of the Tate Exchange programme, giving them the chance to create digital and non-digital art inspired by Tate Modern’s gallery collection, this year we brought pupils together via Zoom. We set a range of activities inspired by Tate Kids resources that schools could choose from, allowed time to share and explore the work of other schools, had some live simultaneous creation (wrapped objects and Giacometti-inspired tin foil sculptures) and a live critique of other children’s creations. 

Here are just some of the exciting activities:













Westminster Abbey digital humanities project: celebrating those buried or memorialised in the Abbey who made a difference, the pupils worked as a class to produce films about their chosen historical figure. They also designed memorials of the future for those who they think deserve to be remembered in the Abbey.

Digital literacy

We’ve talked about the evolution of our News Project elsewhere but for CAS Inspire it was a chance to reflect on how ‘digital literacy’ has evolved in meaning since 2014 and the launch of computing as a national curriculum subject. 

Over the past seven years we’ve seen an ever increasing emphasis on ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ around online education and prevention of harm; imminent government legislation around online harms and the new DCMS Digital Media Literacy strategy. The bugbear of terminology has been strong – media literacy, digital literacy, critical literacy – and where one starts and finishes and overlaps with another subject area in a curriculum where the risk is compartmentalisation. 

Help is at hand for teachers with not only the Education Framework for a Connected World and the linked resource site of Project EVOLVE, but also the excellent resources from NewsWise and our partners in the News Literacy Network.

We encourage schools to embark on their own news literacy journey with students. What we’ve done in our joint project with First News can be scaled up or down from one class or club, up to multiple schools and year groups. 

Scale – geographical, at least – is also a feature of our #Co-Make Erasmus project, which brings together primary schools from the UK, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Netherlands to explore computational thinking in early years. Despite the travel restrictions of the past eighteen months, a blended and hybrid approach has enabled the project to adapt and survive as we look forward to our fourth ‘Learnathon’. Find out how Learnathon 3 (complete with very young children from across Europe singing ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ in their own languages to each other  – for over an hour!) went here.

Computer science

At the CAS Inspire showcase, a presentation of pedagogy in computer science through some example Scratch activities came with an invitation for those with devices to actively participate. 

This session looked at some of the features that makes Scratch a particularly helpful tool when there is a need for teaching to be flexible and responsive to potential changes in the mode of teaching. Using comments, studios or ‘My Blocks’, for example, all create opportunities for teachers and pupils to keep work clear and well organised. Template projects can help to manage the level of cognitive load involved when pupils access activities - something that can be particularly helpful if they are learning in a home environment. Using the backpack can help pupils to build complex projects independently by borrowing from other users’ work, limiting the need to build every single script themselves – a practice with which software developers working in industry are well acquainted.

Coming up

We were grateful for this chance to showcase what we think is distinctive about our work and that might also help schools to think about the way they themselves teach. So, what next?

  • More CAS inspire talks are coming up this autumn on some great topics
  • We’ll be running three local CAS community hub meetings in the autumn, spring and summer. Content for the sessions, which will expand on our Inspire talk and give participants the chance to share their own successful practice, will be:
    • Personalised learning, machine learning, teaching AI and insights from our Erasmus+ Empower2Learn projects
    • Delving more deeply into blended computer science pedagogy with Scratch, Scratch Junior and some popular apps used with primary pupils
    • Computational thinking in early years - sharing good practice including disseminating the results of our #Co-Make Erasmus+ Learnathons 1, 2, 3, and 4 all focused on age appropriate activity with younger children. 

These sessions will be hands-on at our centre or virtual depending on circumstances – watch out for updates in our newsletter (subscribe here!) or on the CAS website.

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Upcoming CPD

Maths and digital technology forum for primary teachers
Maths and digital technology forum for primary teachers

The maths forum provides an opportunity for maths subject leaders to share their expertise and investigate new opportunities for digital technologies to support maths teaching and learning in class and online at home. The forum combines discussion with colleagues about school-wide progress in mathematics, with hands-on activities led by a CLC teacher, demonstrating how technology can be used to support maths. Activities will include programming in Scratch 3, which offers a practical way to illustrate and explore key mathematical concepts such as shape, space, position and direction.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...
Using technology to enhance assessment and feedback in primary schools
Using technology to enhance assessment and feedback in primary schools

Discover how digital technology can change the way we assess pupils’ work. We will demonstrate how teachers can use technology to monitor, evidence and respond to pupils’ progress in school and learning online remotely, and how pupils can use technology to present and reflect on their learning. We will outline a range of approaches to help assess and evidence learning across the curriculum.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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