Let's Get Physical

Both the Computing curriculum (mandatory in LA funded schools since 1st September 2014) and the technology curriculum require pupils to engage in what is sometimes called 'physical computing'. 'Physical computing' is when we create a programme on a computer that controls an external device - older readers may remember running Flowol on a pc to control the lights of a cardboard cut out lighthouse.

Most KS2 pupils (and their teachers) have experienced using Scratch to create a program that moves the ‘sprite’ around the screen. They will have debugged their programmes (found and fixed errors). Most will have used repetition (the repeat block), sequence (lots of instructions in a particular order) and selection (use of the ‘if’ block). The use of electrical components in the Technology Curriculum was a part of the previous science curriculum so hopefully everyone is fairly up to speed with placing a battery, bulb, switch circuit inside a cardboard tube with a bit of coloured film over one end to make a torch.


Physical Computing - Three Controllers for KS2

controllers Codebug www.codebug.com CodeBug is a cute, programmable device designed to introduce simple programming and electronic concepts to anyone, at any age. CodeBug can display graphics and text and has two push buttons and six crocodile clip rings for inputs and outputs. Being small and powered by a watch battery it makes wearable tech projects a real possibility for the KS2 classroom.

The Codebug is easy to program. It uses an online interface, which features colourful drag and drop blocks very similar to Scratch. And like Scratch there’s an in-browser emulator so that you can test your program before you download it to the CodeBug. It’s also programmable in Python. The Codebug website provides lots of ideas and tutorials for projects (though a few more that don’t involve using a Raspberry Pi would be great).

Using Myths and Legends - Case Study

Example lesson sequence - Janice Russell - Barton Le Clay Lower School

willowMy Year 3 class had been exploring the story of the Willow Pattern in literacy and I wanted to allow the children to retell it using the Story Creator (SC2) tool from E2BN's Myths and Legends site. www.myths.e2bn.org

Prior to beginning the work with the children I registered on the Myths and Legends site . Because I would be responsible for publishing the children’s stories on the Myths site a few days after I registered someone from E2BN contacted the school to ensure that I was a bona fide teacher.

Assured that I was who I said I was my account was activated and I register my pupils. This involved uploading a simple spreadsheet of pupil usernames, and passwords. Because the username appears with the published stories, in keeping with my schools e-safety policy I made sure these names did not identify the children. However, so I would know whose story was whose I also included the children’s real names on the spreadsheet.

E2BN Response to OECD Report

Students, Computers and Learning


Summary PISA results show no appreciable improvements in student achievement in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that had invested heavily in ICT for education. The connections among students, computers and learning are neither simple nor hard-wired; and the real contributions ICT can make to teaching and learning have yet to be fully realised and exploited. But as long as computers and the Internet continue to have a central role in our personal and professional lives, students who have not acquired basic skills in reading, writing and navigating through a digital landscape will find themselves unable to participate fully in the economic, social and cultural life around them.

Augmented Reality

Imagine a classroom display board covered with useful and interesting information about a particular topic. A typical display might include pieces of pupil writing, art work, key words, photographs and commercial produced posters. Lovely though these displays are, they are static. If you want dynamic, ever changing content on your walls you need to invest in digital signage equipment: an investment that most schools can only realistically afford for the more public parts of the school if at all. And as for incorporating sounds, nice though the idea of a talking wall display is, the reality is that sound travels, is intrusive and hearing the same thing over and over again can be really very irritating!

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