Editorial #161 – Girls in computing

In this week’s Editorial#161, girls in computing - revisited, data protection in schools, research on extending the school day plus importance of play, digital skills for future jobs and the latest Google updates. Plus, would you teach from a treehouse to get better wifi?

News and resources update

Children’s data in UK schools

This report from the Digital Futures Commission on Governance of data for children’s learning in UK state schools is a critical read at a time when more and more schools are using edtech. How and why are schools sharing personal pupil data with commercial edtech companies? The report uncovers significant regulatory and implementation gaps, and highlights legal and practical challenges for schools, regulators, edtech businesses and families, warning that “schools have few mechanisms and insufficient technical expertise or human resources to hold providers of edtech companies accountable for the processing of children’s data and its outcomes.” It also proposes a way forward. Read the report

Extend school day? Maybe not..

Amid the current kerfuffle around extending the school day, what’s the actual evidence? Mixed, according to a research review from Chartered College, which looks at different strategies for supporting learners after school closures. Far more effective is providing a quiet room for homework and study after school hours, peer tutoring and extracurricular activities. Learn more

But play on

Not unconnected is a piece of research from the University of Sheffield’s School of Education highlighting the value of play, which often gets overlooked. Imaginative play is particularly critical to literacy learning, and there are some lovely Minecraft examples in the piece, and the authors emphasise that “parents and teachers play a highly important role in supporting and encouraging play and this has never been as important as it is now. Far from playing catch up, children and young people need opportunities to continue to be playful.” Read more

Digital skills for future jobs

McKinsey surveyed 18,000 people to discover the skills citizens will need in the future, noting that “it is hard to devise curricula and the best learning strategies without being more precise about the skills needed. It is difficult to teach what is not well defined.”  There’s a great graphic showing the digital elements, including areas the CLC focuses on in workshops and CPD such as digital literacy, digital citizenship, and computational thinking. Encouragingly it also highlights the need for critical thinking, creativity and adaptability (all of which we focus on in our work too!). Check out the survey

Proven Sustainable

This new website, which weaves together the ancient knowledge of First Peoples with critical thinking, media literacy, anti-racism and environmental sustainability, is presented in the first instance for a US audience, but is an interesting and potentially useful site for all teachers to draw on in terms of developing cultural inclusiveness and diverse non stereotypical representation in the curriculum and classroom. Explore the site

BlendEd – latest resources

Discover the latest BlendEd webinars and self-paced courses. These bite-sized resources are packed full of ideas that can be applied in the classroom.

Microsoft’s Teach forward:

Discover the best strategies for hybrid, remote, and blended learning in Microsoft’s latest course, along with tools, practices and examples to inspire you. Take the course

FREE Apple training coming 
soon:

As a Regional Training Centre we deliver courses to build the skills and confidence of educators to use Apple technology inside and outside the classroom. Coming up in the Autumn term we’re running running 3x exciting CPD session focussed on making the most of iPads:

Everyone can Code with Swift Playgrounds – a blended approach
Everyone can Code with Swift Playgrounds - a blended approach

Get hands-on with the Swift playgrounds app for iPadOS and resources from Learn to Code and Everyone can Code.

14/10/21,
16:00
- 17:00
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...

Latest blog posts

Engaging girls in computer science – the why, what and how

Three years ago CLC’s Rowan Roberts wrote a widely read blog post exploring the reasons why fewer girls than ever were taking the new computer science GCSE. In this follow-up long read she looks again at the problem – and why it matters – and takes on the challenge of examining all the practical ways girls can be better supported to engage with computing. Read Rowan’s blog post

Want more? Check out CLC blog and BlendEd blog

We're listening, watching, reading...

"They’re wary of trusting school":
inspiring look at how one primary school at Bradford is working with the local Roma community, including doorstep visits during lockdown
"Teacher builds treehouse classroom to avoid patchy internet":
that is all. Above and beyond!
"Seeing your life pass in front of you":
strangely moving project spanning 30 years tracing a couple’s transition from new parents to grandparents through annual photos. Might resonate with teachers who see yourselves in the annual class photo year after year...

Give it a try

Our weekly pick of the best free or low-cost apps, tools and resources to explore

Get up to speed with Google updates

There are some updates already here or on their way from Google Workspace for Education, including Classroom, Docs and Meet. The ever-helpful Richard Byrne has summed them up in an easy to digest way. CLC’s Ben notes that it’s a “simple list but the big one for me is a checklist feature with strikethrough on completion (ctrl+shift+9) instead of bullets!”

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Upcoming CPD

New to subject leadership in primary school computing session 1, 2 and 3
New to subject leadership in primary school computing session 1, 2 and 3

This programme is designed for primary teachers who have recently taken on responsibilities and leadership for technology and computing. It will cover curriculum planning, tools and resources, methods for supporting colleagues and progression and assessment. Colleagues will be expected to attend all three sessions. The third session will be held in a school and will include classroom visits.

Further details for sessions 2 and 3 to follow:

Session 2: 9.30-11.30am Thursday 27 January (virtual)

Session 3: TBC (in person)

12/10/21,
09:30
- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...
Everyone can Code with Swift Playgrounds – a blended approach
Everyone can Code with Swift Playgrounds - a blended approach

Get hands-on with the Swift playgrounds app for iPadOS and resources from Learn to Code and Everyone can Code.

14/10/21,
16:00
- 17:00
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
25/11/21,
09:30
- 14:25
KS2

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.

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