Digital Learning

To ensure that your child is ready for the challenges of tomorrow we have a progressive ICT curriculum across the school and integrate technology into learning across all subjects.

Our Digital Learning curriculum covers three core areas:

  • Computer Science: including computational thinking and the workings of the internet, networks and the web.
  • Digital Literacy: including online safety &​ using ​information.
  • Information Technology: covering multimedia, communication, IT in the world and basic skills.

All three of these areas are covered by every year group with lessons tailored to their level of understanding. They are encouraged to use their new skills not only in school but also at home. Our state-of-the-art Digital Learning suite contains a desktop for each child to use, maximising their learning time. We have two sets of class iPads that are in constant use throughout the school by the children in a range of lessons such as money games in Year 1, documenting insects in Forest School in Year 3, and GarageBand in Year 6 Music lessons. On top of this, our green screen video, animation and robotics lab enables your child to experience a wide range of technological applications.

Computing Through The Years

In Pre-Prep pupils begin to use the Digital Learning suite​ to learn how to log on and off the school network. They use the series of 2Simple programs to develop mouse skills and explore the paint programs to complete topic-based activities. They then move on to using the publishing resources on Purple Mash.

Lower School pupils continue to develop essential mouse skills using programs such as Simple City and paint tools. They are introduced to the concept of sequencing and algorithms using fun applications such as Charlie Chimp, and learn to control Beebots and then Roamers using directional instructions. By the end of Year 2 pupils become more confident in debugging and using directional language. They use Espresso Coding to start to control objects, as well as Purple Mash programs for coding. Pupils learn to explore the internet and Google Earth for research to create information texts using Purple Mash and Microsoft Word.

Upper School pupils work through the various levels of Espresso Coding to develop essential coding skills, such as controlling objects in a number ways, using variables, loops and repetition, and using random numbers and simulation. They use Purple Mash 2Code to introduce problem-solving in coding and to continue debugging skills. They consolidate their knowledge of coding by creating animations using Scratch in Year 4 and then their own ‘Pac-man’ type maze games in Year 5. By Year 6 pupils are ready for the challenges of text-based coding and are introduced to Python and HTML. They explore various methods to create their own Python graphic or HTML page. As part of Computer Science, Year 6 gain a basic understanding of computer hardware devices, binary, how the internet works and explore augmented reality to gain a perspective on how computing is used in everyday life. These topics provide a good foundation for a smooth transition to the secondary school curriculum.

Essential IT Skills

As Computing is not only about coding, essential IT skills are also taught, such as how to save and access work on the school network and create folders to organise work. Pupils practise touch typing skills and are introduced to applications that they can continue to access at home. They also learn about effective searching on the internet and how search results are ranked.

Microsoft Applications

As they progress, children learn to use the different Microsoft applications and begin to understand their purpose:

  • PowerPoint is used to create a nursery rhyme e-book in Year 4 and a more formal presentation about a day trip to an attraction in Year 5.
  • Pupils use Publisher to create leaflets on holiday destinations in Year 4 and then a newspaper article in Year 6.
  • In Year 5 pupils are introduced to basic Excel functions and the use of email to send attachments.

As a result of this gradual introduction to this software, pupils are confident in using the range of Microsoft features by the time they are in Year 6.

Other Technology

A range of other applications and hardware are used in lessons. Children are able to use iPads for green screen and stop motion animation projects, and coding apps such as Beebot and Scratch Jr. They each have access to individual headsets to listen to videos, and use the inbuilt microphones for recording their own audio. iPads are also used for recording videos and taking pictures which the children learn to share to develop their group working skills.

Throughout the year children have the opportunity to take part in competitions to extend their learning and demonstrate their skills. Competitions have been cross-curricular and have ranged from a Christmas lights animation in Scratch to telling a story in an e-book in French. Pupils also have the opportunity to take part in the national Festive Card Competition held annually by Purple Mash. We have had some children shortlisted in previous years! During STEAM week the children complete activities relevant to the theme for the year and use Computing resources to get a better understanding of their purpose, such as creating different graphs in Excel to analyse census data.

In Year 6 pupils work on a multimedia group project and visit the Sky Skills Studios as part of cross-curricular learning with English​. They learn valuable skills​ such as planning​, group work​ and understanding a range of technology​. They apply their learning to create news reports of their own using green screen technology, audio, video and a newspaper report. The visit also gives an insight into non-coding careers involving technology.

Finally, e-safety is an important part of the curriculum and is covered at the beginning of every academic year with age-appropriate resources and discussions. The school supports Safer Internet Day and uses the specified theme for focus for discussions and activities during the week. Themes have included:

  • Consent/permission
  • Age restrictions​
  • Reliability of information

Pupils understand the importance of using the internet safely and how to use digital technology safely and responsibly. More importantly they understand not to share personal information and what to do if they feel unsure or unsafe about anything. Information is shared with parents via newsletters and workshops have also been well-attended.

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