Academic rigour in computing at the Junior School
In recent Updates I have written substantively about soft skills and outdoor learning. It should not be forgotten that alongside these essential elements is strong academic rigour and a focus on high level performance.
In computing recently the Prep girls have been working on HTML and CSS coding to develop their website building skills. Having run this programme over successive years it is noticeable how advanced they are becoming as they move into the final junior school year. We are fortunate to have support from the GDST in this area and girls in year 4 work through a course on Discovery Coding. This allows them to use blocks of code to arrange in the correct order and then to gradually input more of the intricacies as they improve. Walking around the class is an interesting experience as every girl is at a different level and it therefore becomes highly individualised. The teacher is there as a trouble-shooter and has to resist the temptation to step in too early when they are struggling.
Year 5 sees the girls begin to code completely from scratch using a basic text editor. They are motivated to find that their sites can be instantly previewed in a browser and very quickly use the skills learnt in year 4 to produce attractive pages. In year 6 this process is developed still further by linking the HTML code to a CSS page so that they can theme their entire websites. The most advanced of the girls will be guided to use the internet to find ways of further enhancing the look and feel of their design.
This is a world away from when I first used to teach ICT and is indicative of the progress being made across the curriculum in a range of subjects. It is a very exciting time to be involved in this area and I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings.