Primary Computer Science

I’m not opposed to Gove’s position that students should be learning how to program in schools, but what does that look like in a Primary? The thought of designing an iOS app seems pretty appealing, but then you open up Xcode and realise that Objective C isn’t entirely drag’n’drop. Where do we begin? What does progression look like? Here are some thoughts:

  • The oft-ignored and maligned ‘control’ part of the curriculum is probably the best place to start. BeeBots then lead onto Logo and learning to program a moving robot. If teachers knew how this was actually useful in the future (well for the coders of tomorrow anyway) then perhaps it would have more of a place in the school year.
  • LEGO Mindstorms is the natural successor to this, offering more advanced control features and programming opportunities. Best put that is my April bid then!
  • Purple Mash from 2Simple has a really cool ‘3D Game Maker’, which lets you design simple DOOM-like levels (albeit without fireball-throwing imps to contend with). This would be a good place to start when thinking about programming and designing a game or app.
  • Maybe I should learn Obj-C and run an Xcode club after school? I’m not sure how easy that would be…any thoughts?
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2 comments on “Primary Computer Science

  1. Hi Tim,

    Its a concern to me, since being appointed ICT teacher as of last sSeptember. It is also very exciting, we recently purchased purple mash, and the children absolutely loved the 3d game maker, but would thst be classed as programming, its literally point and click/drag drop, import and upload images…

    Im unsure…

    Either way the old curriculum was redundant a loooong time ago 🙂

    • Hey Steve!

      Level design is certainly just as an important part of programming as doing the coding, but I do see what you mean. There needs to be an educational middle step between something like Purple Mash and Xcode.

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