In 2012 the Computing in Schools project looked at the current provision of education in Computing in UK schools, the Royal Society report was informed by evidence gathered from individuals and organisations with an interest in computing.
Key points of the report include:
- The current delivery of Computing education in many UK schools is highly unsatisfactory. Although existing curricula for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are broad and allow scope for teachers to inspire pupils and help them develop interests in Computing, many pupils are not inspired by what they are taught and gain nothing beyond basic digital literacy skills such as how to use a word-processor or a database. This is mainly because:
- the current national curriculum in ICT can be very broadly interpreted and may be reduced to the lowest level where non specialist teachers have to deliver it
- there is a shortage of teachers who are able to teach beyond basic digital literacy
- there is a lack of continuing professional development for teachers of Computing
- features of school infrastructure inhibit effective teaching of Computing
- There is a need to improve understanding in schools of the nature and scope of Computing. In particular there needs to be recognition that Computer Science is a rigorous academic discipline of great importance to the future careers of many pupils. The status of Computing in schools needs to be recognised and raised by government and senior management in schools.
- Every child should have the opportunity to learn Computing at school, including exposure to Computer Science as a rigorous academic discipline.
- There is a need for qualifications in aspects of Computing that are accessible at school level but are not currently taught. There is also a need for existing inappropriate assessment methods to be updated.
- There is a need for augmentation and coordination of current Enhancement and Enrichment activities to support the study of Computing.
- Uptake of Computing A-level is hindered by lack of demand from higher education institutions.
Over the past year I have been working with a number of inspirational teachers and had the pleasure of keynoting at the Computing in Schools annual conference. One of the key drivers for me with the children at school is simply getting them inspired and looking at ways of making Computer Science in lessons, exciting interesting and more importantly thought provoking at the impact technology has on everyone lives.
Over the last year I have worked with a number of inspiring teacher from the Microsoft Partners in Learning programme.
One of these teacher is Ray Chambers. Ray has successfully included programming into his curricula using tools such as Kodu, but as they progressed, he didn't want them to be simply complacent or loose interest so he decided to step it up a notch and get his students understanding functions.
He also wanted to start introducing arrays and if statements into their vocabulary. This you may think would be a huge challenge but during BETT last year I introduced Ray to a great friend and fellow Partner in Learning Teacher David Renton and David simply evangelised Ray to the power of the Touch Develop platform.
I am pleased to announce that Ray has now successfully developed an entire Scheme of works for Touchdevelop for the GCSE CS curricula.
The following is a guest Blog by Ray Chambers ICT teacher / Lead Practitioner at Uppingham Community College
To see how each of the lessons map into the new national curriculum, you can follow the links on the images.
Each of the links will take you to the video you need. Alternatively, you can click on the links below in order to go through the scheme of work lesson by lesson.
TouchDevelop is a programming environment that runs on your mobile devices. You write scripts by tapping on the screen. You do not need a separate PC or keyboard or even a PC as Touchdevelop works on any device with a web browser.
Scripts can perform various tasks similar to regular apps. Any TouchDevelop user can install, run, edit, and publish scripts. You can share your scripts with other people by publishing them to the TouchDevelop script bazaar, or by submitting them as an app to the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store.
Ray has developed the scheme of work which will allow students to break in slowly and progress, learn and be inspired at each step.
The first lesson starts off by introducing them to variables, backgrounds and sprites. They will be able to add a character into their game and they will be able to use variables to change the height and width of characters. Ray has attached some PDF’s to support and the videos on this page will support the learning. The materials are free to download and let me know if they have been useful.
|Lesson 1 PowerPoint||Lesson 1 Background||Lesson 1 Sprites|
Lesson 1 – This lesson introduces the basics and shows the environment to students. This lesson should get students creating a background and a character using variables.
Click on the resource above for a walk through on creating and setting up the background on program.
Click on the resource above for a walk through on creating your own characters / sprites within a game or application.
|Lesson 2 PowerPoint||Lesson 2 Using Game Loops||Lesson 2 Text||Lesson 2 Starter Kit|
Lesson 2 – This lesson introduces the game loop event. This tests for interactions over and over to see what is happening. Lessons are taught about IF statements and how to update text.
Learn how to add the game loop event. This tests for what is happening (all the time). Think of this as a traffic light sensor which is always looking for what is happening next.
Learn how to create text as part of your game. You also learn how to set the text on the text.
This activity will allow your students to put things in the correct order in the correct table. Cut out the tiles and mix them up. Your students should be able to re-arrange this into the correct order.
|Lesson 3 PowerPoint||Lesson 3 Procedures||Lesson 3 Functions||Lesson 3 Using Functions|
Lesson 3 – This lesson introduces the basics of functions and procedures and shows students how they can update their existing code to be a procedure.
Learn how to use some of your existing code and how to change to insert procedures.
Learn how to set up a function which uses input and output perimeters.
Learn how to use the function you set up in the previous walk through.
|Lesson 4 PowerPoint||Lesson 4 Pop Quiz||Lesson 4 Moving Sprites|
Lesson 4 - How to move characters across the screens without input from the user.
Here is a quick pop quiz to test what your students have marked so far. Most of the questions ask them to explain the knowledge they’ve gained so that you can judge their answers.
Here is a quick guide to changing the X and Y variables of sprites so that they can move on their own. You might like flying objects in a game and this introduces it to students.
|Lesson 5 Powerpoint||Lesson 5 Game Proposal||Lesson 5 Requirements|
Lesson 5 – Users plan and develop a program which will benefit their school. They must design screen shots of their game and talk about how they plan on meeting the requirements.
Attached is a proposal which was made for an Appathon competition by me. You can see some of the screen designs. Students can do this task in PowerPoint or on paper. It is something they can use as an idea.
Requirements sheet. Students must write out how they plan on meeting the client needs in order to achieve marks for planning. The next lesson will focus on pseudo code.
|Lesson 6 PowerPoint||Lesson 6 Activity1||Lesson 6 Activity2|
Lesson 6 – Users plan and develop a program which will benefit their school. They’re required to use Pseudo code during this lesson. They need to think about the code and understand the importance of writing a structure of code before making it.
Pseudo Code activity sheet 1 – Get students to write some structured English to help them understand coding.
Pseudo Code activity sheet 2 – Get students to underline variables which might be used within Pseudo code.
Lesson 7 – This lesson allows the students to start building their application. The video tutorials are embedded and it is a large file. Alternatively you can watch the video from the tutorials attached.
Lesson 8 – This lesson introduces the final stages of development to students and talks to them about the importance of testing. There are examples of test plans in the slides for you to try with students.
Here are a few Bonus Lessons to support different aspects of the new national curriculum.
Lesson on Algorithms
Resource which show you how to make a cup of tea using algorithms
Instructions for Resource 1 on making a cup of tea.
Students are required to make their own algorithm using this task.
Publishing your App to Windows 8
If you follow these steps, you can publish your own students apps to the Windows store.
- Go to touch develop and you should click on the publish button.
- Once you have clicked on the publish button, you will need to make sure that you export it to a windows 8 device. Click on the script for it’s properties and then you click on windows 8.
- Once you have done this, you will get a menu pop up with some settings. It is important to fill out the privacy statement. If you do not fill this out correctly, then your application is likely to be rejected. Even if you are using the internet for images, make sure you say so.My privacy statements tell my clients : Although your personal data will not be required for this application, a network connection is established. This is for the use of images and multimedia, no personal information is used.
- Once you have filled out this application, you will be able to download the file ready for adjustments within windows 8. Once you have your files, you will need to follow the next set of instructions carefully.
- Make sure that you have the latest copy of visual studio express 2012, you will need to have it installed on windows 8. I noticed that I couldn’t get any of my apps working correctly when running windows 7. Download it here.
- Once you have downloaded and installed Visual Studio Express 2012 for windows 8. You can go into the images folder of your application you compiled and you can updated the images and logo’s for the running of your application.
- When running your application, you will need to run your application in simulator mode. You select simulator from the drop down menu and then you press CTRL+F5 to run it. You can press the camera button to take multiple pictures of your application running. You need them later for getting your app certified later.
- You will then need to register as a develop. Your students can go to this link here. They will be able to register for free. You will need to go here if you’re not a student to start the registration process.
- The next thing you are required to do is to create an app package. You will need to click on the store menu and select. Create app package. Follow the menu and it will test your application and create the file for you.
- You then click on the upload app packages link. This will get you to log into the store. Select the application name and click on next. If you haven’t got an application name yet, tap on ‘reserve name’ to get one. This will reserve the name for you. Once created it will be in the folder of your app you downloaded originally under the name ‘AppPackages’. This is the file you will submit to the windows store.
- That’s it, Your app is packaged and ready to be submitted to the windows store. You will need to log on here. You will then go to your reserved app and fill out a series of simple questions which help you get your application certified. It is really easy for ‘free’ applications. If you’re looking at being paid for your applications, you will need to sort out your tax forms which is a whole different ball game. Fill out the form and submit your app and hope for the best!
This guide was developed as a starter guide for anyone who is working with touch develop and their students.
If you would like more help about Touchdevelop and how Ray is using it in his curricula you can contact him via Microsoft Partners in Learning or his blog at http://raychambers.wordpress.com/
If your a UK teacher, lecturer or researcher and interested in becoming joining the Microsoft Partners in Learning UK team please see http://www.pil-network.com/
If your interested in Touchdevelop please see http://www.touchdevelop.com