The young people of today are immersed with technology and it should be our job as educators to show the pupils how it works, how it links to their own personal experience and what the considerations should be for themselves and others. This is because we have the obligation not only to teach the pupil about computing, but also to develop the pupils into good, balanced citizens of the online community whose actions are modelled by the Cardinal Virtues. The use of personal experience is a recurring theme as it is important in reminding pupils that they use computing as a part of their everyday life. It is a subject that they need to know about.
It is extremely important first and foremost that the curriculum we have created covers each aspect of the national curriculum but also that it develops the pupils to be confident and consistent in their application of knowledge to computing situations. By the end of key stage 3, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the national curriculum programme of study. However, it should be understood that the pupils will only receive one lesson of computing per week at key stage 3 and so we have selected topics based upon those concepts that are fundamental and allow the pupils to gain a deeper understanding through repeated encounters rather than sacrificing quality and depth at the expense of understanding. As pupils progress, their understanding, confidence and skill-level will grow and the scheme will help them extend and deepen this knowledge of computing and to encourage them to opt to continue their studies within computer science.
The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:
Pupils should be able to solve problems by confidently creating algorithms for a range of situations and be able to write computer programs for these algorithms. They should know how a computer uses binary logic to store data, the components used within a computer system and how they interact with one another and the user. They should understand how a computer works and completes instructions given by the user. They should use their experience of computing within their world to inform decisions about system software, application software and problem solving and be able to select the correct hardware, language or software for the task at hand. They should use computing devices in a safe and responsible manner and be aware of potential risks to their safety online and how to report any issues.
Pupils should be taught:
All pupils must have the opportunity to study aspects of information technology and computer science at sufficient depth to allow them to progress to higher levels of study or to a professional career.
All pupils should be taught to:
At Corpus Christi we believe that all pupils should be equipped with and supported in developing a high level of reading and literacy capability, as is required by each subject discipline. In computing we use all four strands of the literacy strategy laid out by the whole-school policy. Firstly, when embarking upon new learning the subject specific terminology will always be thoroughly explained and highlighted in a different colour based upon whether they have been used before in the curriculum to show new learning or the prior learning that links to the new topic. Any words with double meanings will be in the scheme of work, but any new revelations should always be highlighted and added to the scheme of work.
Reading ages will be used by the teacher when considering seating plans to ensure that there is support for the weaker pupils. In lower ability classes, activities will be differentiated to avoid long pieces of text and these could be broken down into smaller chunks in order to differentiate the learning. Marking and feedback should be used to address common misspelled words that do not appear in the scheme.
In computing it is necessary to read pieces of computer programs, known as code. In the first instance, in Year 7, this code will be broken down and annotated thoroughly explaining what it says, what that code means and describing what it does for the computer system. In subsequent years, the pupils will be expected to annotate what they recognise and then have anything new explained and taught by the teacher. Pattern recognition is required, but mainly due to the colours and the layouts of the language used.
The department does not generally use long passages of reading in teaching, but at times, the pupils will be given pieces of text to stick into their exercise books. It is important that the pupils are given time to read and ask any questions about the content of these pieces of text, but the teacher will always explain every aspect of the text on the board. Following the explanation, it is imperative that all teachers then give the pupils the further opportunity to ask any supporting questions.
The pupils will be aware of the expectations we set as a department for discussions and verbal responses because of the banned words list as stated in the sections about Marking and feedback and Modelling. Using it will improve their descriptions and promoting them to use the keywords will help engage them and lead to much-improved verbal response. By banning words such as you, something, stuff, thing, if etc. the pupils are forced to think about the vocabulary they will use and how they will say it rather than just taking for granted that they know it. During feedback from discussions, the pupils must be corrected if they use one of the banned words and encouraged to think about what words they could use instead. This will also begin to improve their written responses when they are ready. The response could also be written/typed onto the IWB in real time to show how the response is improving just by changing some words thereby modelling an appropriate response.
At Corpus Christi, we believe that high quality summative assessment must primarily enable pupils to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding acquired throughout the implementation of the planned curriculum. In computing, we create assessments that only test the content of the scheme of work which are appropriate to the skill and ability level of the pupils. The pupils only complete assessments at appropriate times within the context of the course rather than on a pre-defined schedule. These are then used to help the teacher better understand the knowledge and retention of the pupils and informs next steps in terms of teaching, misconceptions and any academic intervention required. Reviewing assessments informs pupils about what gaps exist within their knowledge and what they need to do to improve.
It is the responsibility of each teacher to ensure their classes are suitably ready for assessments and all content has been covered thoroughly. The Head of Department ensures that assessments are checked and verified with line managers and that there is a clear and shared rationale for the awarding of progress grades for reporting to parents. This will incorporate the use of formative assessment, enabling teachers to use their daily feedback through questioning and marking, to inform decisions related to progress grades.
For further information regarding the Computer Science curriculum please contact: Mr McWilliams, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone school reception: (01772) 716912.