The real Computing in an Hour

OK, so the week before half term I had another of those moments where I found my mouth saying “ooh, let me volunteer to do all the things” while my head was screaming “IDIOT! You’ve already got too much to do!”. I’m pretty sure I have shoulder angels and demons. (And maybe a theme tune.)

In the wake of BETT we seem to have spawned several fairytales in the world of Computing:

The Pied Piper of Hamlyn – Those leaflets which frequently flop onto my desk advertising extremely expensive training materials to solve all of your September 2014 Computing woes. Blindly purchase a fat folder of lesson plans and (wooh, so 2008) an interactive CD-ROM and suddenly you’ll be able to switch off your brain and just read off the lovely pre-made lesson plan.

Superman – Is it absurd? Do you have a brain? No? Then let’s all just sit back and wait for developers from industry to save us! Because obviously they are all going to be there 24/7 to help us out of sticky Computing situations and not totally busy at work. Thank goodness for that.

The Emperor’s New Clothes – The emperor paid a shed load of money to go on a really impressive sounding training course because he was scared he might not be able to teach Computing in September. Sadly when he got home he realised he was naked. Go figure.

But seriously, we have a massively awesome resource here – IT’S US!

We’re the experts, not the developers, pre-made lesson plans or rip off training courses. Teachers on the ground doing the job every single day are the best resource humanly imaginable to other teachers because we know what we need to know to be educators. Even if you’re sitting there thinking “I don’t have a background in Computing” or “I only know a little bit”…IT’S STILL YOU! *Cue huge Lottery finger pointing from the sky* You can pass on what you’ve learnt so far, your tips, your pitfalls, your knowledge is all valuable. I remember reading Mark Clarkson’s Unofficial teachers guide to GCSE Computing (which, ironically, now looks semi official :P) and being totally blown away by how awesomely helpful it was. Mark’s been there, done that and as my mum would say, got the tea towel. We need more of this – we are professionals with valuable skills and I want that to be acknowledged for all of us.

Computing in an hour

I would like as many people as possible to volunteer their experiences of how to teach a topic (or if you’re keen, multiple separate topics) in the new programme of study. I want this to be you passing on your experience – including the bad bits – to other teachers, almost like a mini training course. You could even set them activities! BUT the key point is that your whole bit of advice/activities for the teacher on each separate topic should not take them more than an hour to read through and understand.  I don’t want to restrict your creativity so I’m going to suggest some headings, you don’t have to use them all:

  • Which one topic have you chosen? (Please do topics separately rather than giving one hour’s worth of advice on lots of things)
  • Which key stage are you aiming at?
  • What do you think are the main points to be learnt in this topic?
  • Can you give an adult friendly explanation for teachers who may be unsure of what the topic is about?
  • Where can you find specific good resources for this topic?
  • What progression can be made through key stages in this topic?
  • What sorts of questions could you ask students to test understanding?
  • What have you found hard when teaching this topic?
  • What misconceptions have the students had?
  • What do you think might be good activities for students to do?
  • Have you got any activities for the teacher to do? (And answers?)
  • Top tips?

Ideally we will end up with a big set of advice for teachers where each part can be read through in an hour or less – because who has loads of spare time anyway?

Submit your “Computing in one hour” advice here

I will collate your work along with your name, 200 word bio and pic (optional) and publish it so that other teachers can use it. By submitting your work you agree to license it under the Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons license (some useful FAQ’s about that license here) so that it is as open as possible and can be shared with as many people as possible.


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