Getting a head start on new IT curriculum thanks to Code Club

POINTING THE WAY Teacher George Hafiz helps pupil Amy Jones at Meon Junior School, Southsea during Code Club
POINTING THE WAY Teacher George Hafiz helps pupil Amy Jones at Meon Junior School, Southsea during Code Club
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As teachers across the country come to terms with the new IT curriculum, Meon Junior School is getting a head start with support from a local Code Club, writes Code Club volunteer George Hafiz.

In 2012, education secretary Michael Gove criticised ICT lessons in schools as harmful and dull.

The response was a brand new curriculum launching this year which aims to bring real computer science to pupils as young as five, all the way up to school leavers.

Meon Junior School students have been attending an after-school computing club where they learn basic programming concepts using Scratch, a programming game developed by MIT, letting them create logic flow from building blocks, much like Lego.

This enables them to easily create their very own video games and interactive stories.

Code Club has helped them take this even further by offering a volunteer to assist the teachers in educating on technologies they have not yet had much experience with, but which are essential under the new ICT syllabus.

Their scheme is designed to increase awareness in the need for children to learn how computers really work beyond Word, PowerPoint and video games and the volunteer-led network connects experts with teachers to inspire children to be creative with technology.

The lessons give children the basic skills they need before allowing them to run with it unrestrained, creating weird and wonderful blogs full of pictures of chocolate, Minecraft screenshots and cartoons, all described with huge and difficult to read fonts.

Code Club currently focuses on web programming, where kids are learning the exact same technology the likes of Google and Facebook use to display their web pages in your browser.

Using a Raspberry Pi, an ultra-cheap but relatively powerful general purpose computer, they are able to upload and share their creations with other students.

Code Club also helps provide the resources that teachers need to educate pupils on a wider range of the new ICT curriculum subject matter, such as programming in a real programming language (Python), and fun ways of coming to terms with the appropriate method of thinking necessary for developing computer programs and algorithms.

Giving children the knowledge they need to get them started in computing can be a huge advantage for them.

Home computing is now available cheaply and many of the students continue working on their projects at home and in the school library.