At St. Mary & St. Joseph’s we strive to provide children with the skills necessary to explore and succeed in a world driven by technology. We also aim to keep children safe on line, educating them on good practice (or netiquette), and the potential dangers of the internet.
At present, the internet is full of wonderful free programs that we take full advantage of in school. This also gives the children the option to download and install for home use (see below for links).
Our computing curriculum is separated into four strands, with each Year group covering one or more of these areas. The strands are as follows:
- Programming – (Algorithms & Control). KS1 children learn to control the Roamers and Bebots. There are also plans for them to use the Kodable app. KS1 learn how to control the Probots, as well as getting familiar with programs like Scratch and Kodu. On the I Pads children also use Cargo-Bot and Hopscotch.
- Modelling - (Music, Graphics & Animation). In KS1, children learn the basics of drawing software with Tux Paint. They also learn about audio recording and the basics of stop-motion animation. By KS2, children use more sophisticated drawing software, such as Paint.Net. They use programs like Audacity and apps like Garage Band, to create their own soundscapes and music. They continue to work with stop-motion apps and are introduced to other apps, such as Puppet Pals. They also explore Sketch Up.
- Communication – (E-Mail, Movies and Presentation Software). The children in Year 1 first learn about emails and this continues in Year 3. In KS1, children learn basic word processing skills and are introduced to other ways of presenting work, such as PowerPoint. They also learn other ways to present their work, using programs like Microsoft’s Photo Story, etc. In KS2, children build on their knowledge of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Publisher, being able to format their work, adding graphics and tables, links, transitions, etc. They also look at other ways to present their work, like Prezi, Book Creator, Picasa and Podcasting. As well as any movies made throughout the year, SMSJ holds an annual Oscar festival, where each class presents a movie (or group of movies) in order to win the coveted award. Also, the school’s website has begun a blogging page for each class.
- Handling Data – (Databases and Spreadsheets). Children learn early on about using Google for web searches and to be critical of their search results. As mentioned in the introduction, e-safety is a big issue and children are consistently reminded of how to stay safe and happy online. We also hold a designated e-safety day each year. Spreadsheets are introduced to children in Year 3, starting with simple formula, and building to more complex formula throughout KS2, including how to format cells, create graphs, etc.