Editorial #172 – Fifteen fabulous free edtech tools

In this week’s Connected Learning Centre newsletter: find out about a new report on CS education around the world, get a free great big climate lesson, learn how to use your whiteboard like a ninja, be playful by design, discover 15 fab free edtech tools to use in your classroom, try Conway’s magical pen...and more...

News and resources update

Computer science education around the world – a way forward?

A major report from the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, a US-based think tank, has been published. It makes the case for expanding computer science education in primary and secondary schools around the world and outlines the key challenges standing in the way. England is one of the 11 country case studies and comes out well – it is the only country that has taken all seven of the identified necessary policy actions. In its six ‘lessons learned’ the report comes out strongly for project-based learning and maker spaces, concluding that “when taught in an interactive, hands-on way, CS education builds skills for life.” However, this blog post by Sue Sentance, an advisor on the project, is well worth a read, not only for its overview of the project but for its critical take on that focus on project-based learning in maker spaces, mainly due to issues of scale and expense. Read the Brookings report

 

Great big climate lesson

Broadcast live from COP26, the Great Big Lesson for Climate and Nature is a free and interactive online lesson for secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges across the UK. It’s an opportunity for schools and their students to learn together and get involved in the global conversation at COP26. It’s on 5 November, 9.30-11am – register here

Interactive whiteboard user?

Whiteboard technology specialists Elementary are offering free training webinars / recordings on Promethean and SMART. The Promethean series runs next month and you can book here and the SMART recordings are here. All look very useful.

Global media and information literacy week

This Unesco initiative (now in its 10th year) is happening this week and the theme is ‘Media and Information Literacy for the Public Good’. There’s a Youth Agenda Forum and a virtual conference platform – sessions listed here – worth a look, though the website is not the most inspiring or user friendly. Find out more

Playful by design

A reminder that the Digital Futures Commission is having a discussion about ‘Free Play in a Digital World’ on November 4 at 4pm. It’s chaired by Baroness Beeban Kidron of the 5Rights Foundation and speakers include the LSE’s Professor Sonia Livingstone. Register here

Book now

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

23/11/21,
15:45
- 17:15

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)

Latest blog posts

Fifteen fabulous free edtech tools for primary schools to try in autumn 2021

From using ‘I know where your cat lives’ as a privacy and metadata teaching tool to prime number games, an open content toolkit, virtual tools of the Louvre and the life-changing art of using gifs to explain complex ideas (yes, really), discover 15 fun, free tools that could well enhance your teaching, if not quite change your life … Read on…

Catch up on all our blog posts on the CLC blog, including Three inclusive activities for primary schools inspired by EU Code Week; Scaling up Padlet in schools; Engaging girls in computer science – the why, what and how; Blended aspects of primary computing: revisiting the computing curriculum, and much more!

We're listening, watching, reading...

"More Play:":
Lego has issued a Cop26 10-step instruction booklet: “building instructions for a better world”. The ‘10 requests’ of policymakers are based on workshops with more than 6,000 children aged eight to 18 from around the world.
" Even more play:":
Pokémon Go creators are working on a new AR game called Pikmin Bloom, in which players work with a tiny alien race, "incubating and growing" them with their real-life step count, then working alongside them to plant beautiful virtual blooms in their real-world location.
"Give it a try: Conway's magical pen":
Here’s some mathematical fun for half-term: with the ‘magical pen’ you draw freehand curves that connect to each other to outline a tile (called a Conway tile) that will fill the plane with its copies. The tiling can have colored tiles (you choose the colours), or just show outlines of the tiles. The app is based on the Conway Criterion, a set of conditions for a shape (a tile) to fill the plane with its copies simply by turning the tile 180° repeatedly about certain points on the edges of the tile. It’s curiously fun and this really easy-to-use site offers definitions and examples, a tutorial, inspiration and background information on the mathematician, John Horton Conway (1937-2020) who inspired it all.

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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)

23/11/21,
15:45
- 17:15
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...
Computing and Online safety conference for primary schools
Computing and Online safety conference for primary schools

Diving deep into all things computing, this conference will consist of two sessions. Participants can choose to join us for the full day, or book for just the morning or afternoon separately.

Online Safety & Data Security (am)
This session is for computing subject leaders, senior leaders, safeguarding leads and other relevant school staff. Falling in the lead up to Safer Internet Day 2022 (Tuesday 8 February), the morning of the conference will have a particular focus on online safety, bringing together a variety of external resources with expertise from within the CLC team to help schools get to grips with the complexities of online safety and data security.

Leading Computing in the Classroom (pm)
This portion of the day is for computing subject leaders and teachers interested in the use of technologies across the curriculum. It will include policy and curriculum updates as well as practical workshops and opportunities to hear from colleagues in other schools.

01/02/22,
09:15
- 15:30
EYFS, KS1, KS2
Business leaders, Computing subject leaders...

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.

The Garden Museum
21/02/22,
-
KS1

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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