Launch of gr8computing ideas… May 2020-

Welcome!

We really do live in extraordinary times for computing education and opportunities. There are so many computing ideas bouncing around the ether at the moment, all vying for our attention…

Don’t get me wrong… I am in awe of the explosion in CPD opportunities during these seven weeks of lock-down and how much effort colleagues have invested. Since the Raspberry Foundation team introduced me to the concept of CPD via Google Meet at the Cambridge Computing Education Research Symposium, there has been an explosion of Meets and Zooms. Depending on your circumstances, it can be a really exciting time to find and use Computing resources and CPD, especially now the National Centre for Computing Education are releasing very good quality resources for every Key Stage which will enable us to modify and share as much as we want with no worries about copyright. It is also a fleeting opportunity, as we know that all of us will have a huge task ahead of us once schools open again in some shape or form for students and teaching staff to return.

However, this expansion can be detrimental to our well-being, especially at the moment. It can be difficult to find the specific resource you require, even if you know what it is, and it is then difficult to then keep track of everything. How many times have you searched back through your histories to try to find the resource that you now need and didn’t make a note of… It can also be a bit overwhelming (especially now you can see all these resources in one place). Those of you who know my Twitter name – @gr8ict – may remember in the dim and distant past when I used to curate a website of many ICT resources:

So how do we make sense of this situation we find ourselves in, make it beneficial for our students, and not something we look back on as an opportunity lost? I’ve been thinking for the last month about what I could do to help. I had offered on the Gr8 Computing Ideas FBG to organise some Zoom meetings. However, that market seems (more than) saturated now. I have decided that now is the time to re-create gr8ict for the computing age, linked to my interest in research. As before, it helps me to have a resource bank to refer to in addition to the school VLE, especially as I focus more on research and pedagogy. FB groups are good for urgent requests and support, but not for archiving… although I wish more people could learn to search a group to see if their question is really ‘new’! Keeping a shared index should save us time too! In this connected age, I would like to share the resources, curate a list of answers, but more importantly encourage colleagues to integrate the ideas into their own and their department’s practice.

I have a favour to ask in the meantime. I have created two surveys, a 10 minute version and a longer 30 minute survey (you will get more from it I promise…). Please could you take 10 minutes (or 30) to anonymously test your own breadth of knowledge of the resources and links. I hope this will be a valuable activity in it’s own right, but we can also use the results to match developing ideas to what people want to develop. I will also create a top 5 or 10 ideas at the top of each page to prioritise the sources.

I’ve created a new planner for the remainder of the school year, with my school one no longer relevant for most events. You are welcome to copy it and use it for you own CPD planning.

All pages and links etc made by me. Please contact me @gr8ict or #gr8computingideas if there are errors which I will correct or if you would like me to add links. I reserve the right to choose to add links or not, in an effort to keep links manageable for busy teachers.

Stay safe
Chris Sharples
May 2020