Raspberries, Apples, Scratching and Pythons.

The new computing curriculum is on its way, whether we like it or not… and, coincidentally, I do. I think part of my relative happiness that the IT curriculum is being updated stems from the fact that I like technology.

I’ve always loved a good gadget and taught myself to use a couple of different ‘coding languages’, albeit to a fairly simple level. And the new curriculum, as we all know, includes a section on computer science. The nerd in me loves this!

I was lucky enough today to attend the Hull IT conference 2014 and got to see some pretty cool stuff. I’m not going to blab on too much about it all – a lot of it was marketing – but I’ll mention a couple of things I’ve taken away from the day.

First up – get with it, but don’t panic. The new curriculum does ask you to be able to teach some stuff that hasn’t been in the curriculum before. There’s a need for children to have a level of ‘digital literacy’ and you’ve got to deliver some fairly complex stuff. However, there’s heaps of stuff out there that make the complex stuff relevant and more simple. As I delve a little more into this (which I will be doing), I’ll put up some handy links, resources or tips that I’ve found and/or created. The main message, though, was not to panic. It’s necessary that we update the curriculum to keep up with the advances in technology.

Secondly, check out Scratch and Python. I had a play with these today, for the first time, and they’re pretty simple to pick up. These are probably going to be my chosen software for delivering the computer science section of the new curriculum. They make programming pretty simple to understand and, from what I’ve seen today, can be a lot of fun. I’ve never used either before and wasn’t given much input with them – we were left to explore – and I’m already beginning to feel confident in being able to deliver them. The best thing: they’re both free. I’ve downloaded them both and I’m going to explore further. Oh, and there’s heaps of guides and stuff online too. Great.

Finally, I come on to Raspberry Pis and Apple iPads. There was a reasonably big deal made about them today and, although they look great and work great, I’m not totally sold on either yet. I own an iPad for personal use but, aside from the mobility of the device, and lack of logging in, I’m not sure what they’ve got over the laptops we currently use in school. As for the Raspberry Pi, I love the idea, simplicity and compactness – having a computer that can fit in your pocket is very cool – but, again, what does it have that a laptop doesn’t? Maybe I’ve missed the point…

It was definitely worth going – it’s got me thinking, and quite excited about teaching computing. Let the Scratching and Pythons begin!

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