Sharing thoughts and ideas about teaching computing in school
Alan O’Donohoe (teknoteacher) is a Computing & IT teacher Our Lady’s High School, Preston. In his blog, teachcomputing he is very enthusiastic about sharing resources with teachers who are new to computing or who are looking to refresh their viewpoint. When we asked him to share a list exclusively for Guardian Teacher Network, he found it difficult to narrow his choice of best resources down to ten. If you think he left any out, you can comment on the blog below or send him a message through twitter @teknoteacher.
1. Scratch Community is a fantastic programming resource for learners of all ages. What better place to start than a site dedicated specifically to teachers who want to use Scratch to teach programming? Here you will find videos, lesson plans, worksheets, discussions and even real people to ask for help. Unfortunately the webinars (which are fantastic) are around 1.00 – 2.00 am UK time, but you can watch recordings afterwards.
3. Invent With Python is a real book that teaches you step by step how to program using the Python programming language. The book is available as a hard copy to purchase, a free download or just view it online for free. The author has a friendly style of writing and explains all the code used clearly. Don’t worry – no references to large snakes.
4. Computing At School is a free-to-join association for anyone with an interest in computing in education. Sponsors include Microsoft and Google among others. Benefits of joining – free-to-attend annual conference, regional hub meetings, competitions, newsletters and teachshares. Meet up with lots of other like minded people to share and steal good practice.
5. Twitter is another great place to hang out with like minded people who wish to promote computing science in education, try following some of these people and read what they are doing. You will find they rarely tweet about what they have had for breakfast, or what colour socks they are wearing, instead they have good quality education based tweets @largerama, @drtomcrick, @codeboom, @hubmum, @batteredbluebox, @CompAtSch, @GuardianTeach oh and @teknoteacher (that’s me!)
6. Code Hero is a totally new way to learn how to code. It’s a first-person science shooter game where you use the code gun to manipulate code. You learn how to code in order to succeed in the game.
7. Play My Code is “an online platform for building, playing and distributing browser games. Powered by HTML5, you can build within the browser and embed your games anywhere.” Start by simply playing the games, then make small alterations to make the games easier or more difficult to play, share your altered games with friends. Before you know it you are a games developer.
8. The 2008 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures were given by Professor Chris Bishop on the power of computing. The videos are now available to watch on the big screen in your classroom also available as a free DVD from here. Suitable viewing from around age 8 upwards.
9. The National Museum of Computing and MOSI are two great museums to explore for teachers planning to teach the development of computers. Book yourself out of school to visit as part of your CPD or take your family. Create your own videos or record interviews while you are there.
10. iTunes contains many podcasts and academic programs (iTunesU) that you can follow. On your ipod, you can catch up with the world of computing science, technology and more while travelling in the car, bus or tube. Try some of these GuardianTechWeekly, BBC Click, Introduction to C# Programming