Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Microsoft and Dept for Education Event - New Computing Curriculum for Parents

This year, a new curriculum has been introduced in schools across the UK. Along with that comes a computing curriculum, which aims to prepare kids more practically and creatively for the world of technology. I was invited to Microsoft Headquarters by the Department of Education to find out how parents can support kids with the new computing curriculum.

I would say that hubby and I are quite computer literate, and would be able to help our kids with any IT homework, however, many parents may not be quite so able to help kids learn what they need to. I have to admit, that even someone as computer literate as myself does get lost when I hear my daughter start talking about Minecraft and the "worlds" she has built.

At Microsoft, we were given an introduction to various people working within the IT industry, to explain how parents could help support their kids with discovering technology.

First we heard from Simon Humphreys, National Coordinator, Computing at School (CAS), who spoke to us about how Computing in the curriculum has changed. At school, I remember the extent of our computer GCSE learning how to make a database - something I have never done since, and something which I was terrible at! I don't remember it really preparing me for the world of technology in terms of the world wide web which was just becoming main stream as I left school.

I loved the way that Simon described technology as no longer being "just for geeks". These days, everyone carries various mini computers around - phones, tablets, laptops, even credit cards are all essentially a mini computer, and so it's essential that we have a basic understanding of how these things work.

Next we heard from Lisa Percy, Executive Producer, BBC BiteSize, who spoke about what help there is for parents in supporting kids through the new computing curriculum. BBC Bitesize have begun a coding push, which starts right from the youngest age, and goes all the way through, with age appropriate content aimed to support the National Curriculum. There is some great stuff on the Bitesize website which is really accessible for parents and kids.

We then heard from Hugh Milward, Corporate Affairs Director, Microsoft UK, who spoke to us about why the new curriculum was so important for the continuation of UK Industry. Did you know that Japan is leading the way with educating Computer Engineers? Microsoft hopes that the new curriculum will help create more specialists from the UK. I think that the UK definitely needs to up our game when it comes to being a leader in technology.

Next, came Dr Bill Mitchell - Director, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, who spoke to us about Computing without computers – Fun ways to teach computing, without computers. I thought that this was really interesting, that children can learn about Algorithms, without even touching a computer, as the slides below show!

Following this, we heard about the coding programme "Kodu", and got to have a go at building our own computer game using "Kodu". It was a really interesting insight into the world of coding, and it definitely made me feel more confident helping the kids with coding and computing. I could see my kids getting really into Kodu, and probably even taking over and getting on with it themselves, rather than me trying to "teach" them how to do it. Kids these days just seem to be able to pick up technology and use it, and sometimes even better than the adults!

Here are some great links to help your kids with Computing:

1 comment:

  1. That's all really interesting, I have to admit I'm a bit clueless when it comes to the curriculum so it's great to get an overview of what's involved with it now! We have been thinking about starting to teach S coding, I'll have to ask his teacher what they cover in IT in case we can link in with any of it :)



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