Jun 6 2019
About Chris Sharples
Posts by Chris Sharples:
Mar 7 2019
Gr8 Computer Science Teaching Ideas Number 03: CyberFirst Education Pack by NCSC Cyber Schools Hub and Emma Williams
This is the third blogpost in a series for the Facebook group Gr8 Computer Science Teaching Ideas. Thank you to Emma Williams for this resource:
This unit of work is an introduction to Cyber Security. The NCSC kindly provided the materials for the Cyber Adventurers course and I adapted in order to facilitate learning in schools. These resources were produced as part of the NCSC Cyber Schools Hub – details here https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/uks-first-cyber-schools-hubs-announced
It is designed to showcase the varied roles and jobs that exist in the field. The course is designed for 11-14 year olds and can be delivered at any point in key stage 3. It can be run in a Cyber club or as a teaching unit at key stage 3.
The lesson plans are designed to include practical tasks. There is a unit assessment that has been developed in line with the Computing pathways framework which can be adapted to suit a schools. The lessons can be delivered as stand-alone lessons if required.
Jan 31 2019
This is the second blogpost in a series for the Facebook group Gr8 Computer Science Teaching Ideas.
Thanks to everyone who joined in to discuss PRIMM ideas. I am also indebted to last year’s CAS North East to be able to listen to Duncan introduce Cisco packet tracer:
My Y12s have worked through both courses and I am able to suggest how I will be splitting up the content for Key Stages 3,4 and 5 in the future.
If you are reading this as part of the Facebook post, I am very pleased to inform you that Duncan has joined the group, and I am sure will be able to answer any questions in the next couple of weeks. if he is reading this, then I would like to thank him for all his efforts in providing a great resource and saving me a great deal of time.
Jan 17 2019
This is the first blogpost in a series for the facebook group Gr8 Computer Science Teaching Ideas.
You will have heard of flipped classrooms and I would suggest that in some ways, PRIMM is a flipped version of the usual approach to learning programming. Rather than starting with a blank page and the ubiquitous “Hello World”, Sue has merged several learning programming methodologies to provide a very accessible and rewarding approach for all students starting on their text based programming journey. At Lady Lumley’s School, we have combined it with the web based trinket.io to provide an easily accessed and structured series of lessons that our students are really enjoying. My main message is that all students make progress over time and our key target audience at KS3 of students considering computer science GSCE (GCSE Wannabees) are getting challenge and stretch too…
Jan 13 2019
This post is to support the new 2019 discussions on the Facebook Group Gr8 Computer Science Teaching Ideas.
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
– Whether this is correctly attributed to Albert Einstein or not, it is a useful reminder that if as computer science teachers we fail to improve the ways we teach, then we should not be surprised if our students’ exam results stay the same. I am a great believer in Reflective Practice. Teaching is not a talent, but something that can be improved with practice, and we improve by reflecting on what we have done, assessing its impact, and doing it better next time. This is best done in a collaborative space… we learn more from each other.
I’m an ex-ICT teacher. I really enjoyed teaching ICT to all abilities and if you read the about section, I was very good at it. I have now been four years teaching computer science, and in the summer, completed my first CS GCSE. I have felt, and continue to feel, considerable pressure. This is mainly down to not knowing my subject content as well as I would like, but also the change to (mostly ) the top third of our students, often bright and motivated – and I really do not want to let them down. Now I’ve gone through a GCSE, and nearly an A-level, I want to be more considered about how to improve. The only lessons I feel really confident with are Key Stage 3 lessons when I repeat lessons to different classes, and only then really know what I am doing. Part of being reflective is taking time to decide what has gone well, but also to know that there is a mechanism in place to make the not-so-good-bits-better. I invite you to do the same and in doing so, feel better about what you are doing. There aren’t many other channels of praise unless you are lucky to work with other colleagues in a supportive department.
Like many colleagues, I have tried to keep afloat with KS3, GCSE and A-level. To help me and other colleagues with this, I organised the North Yorkshire CS teacher support group and as we were all teaching Eduqas GCSE, started the original Eduqas GCSE FB group. This is now the main Eduqas and WJEC GCSE/A-level FB group. Although I really value the immediacy and connectivity of FB, I am frustrated that we have discussions that are of interest to all on different exam board groups, and that as a result, people often miss out. Ideally, I would like to concentrate on pedagogy and effective teaching and learning in just one group. Therefore I have set up Gr8 Computer Science Teaching Ideas (link here) which can integrate into everyone’s feeds. Facebook is not great for archiving, but it will be more open to all and a more focused resource without procedural issues and things related to just one exam board. If people think to use the group search things will be even better… 😉
At a recent York CAS get-together, our fifth Tech-Meet, (thanks to the hard work of Dan Tait) I outlined what I am doing to improve on my first GCSE results. I propose to use these as the basis for some discussions in the next month or two, and see how we progress. I know there is already a fan base for Sue Sentance’s PRIMM materials, so I suggest we kick off with discussing these. All the resources (with Sue’s permission) are available in the Google folder linked off the group. I will start with a post on PRIMM on Thursday, so please join in (link to Gr8 Computer Science Teaching Ideas) saying which school you are at and what you are teaching. If you would like to then add ideas for further discussions to the first pinned post then that would help too.
I’e been meaning to do this for a while. With your help, it could really work… Thanks for reading.
Chris Sharples, Jan 2019
Here is the proposal:
*2019* I propose a new Gr8CoSTI discussion each fortnight starting 17th January:
Jan01: Introduction (CSh)
Jan02: PRIMM – Sue Sentance’s take on teaching Python. She has provided 10 exemplar lessons on Python based on research and a number of us have used the lessons. After using all 10 with my Year 10 group, I am adapting the lessons for Year 8 and Year 9, using Trinket.io to provide all the structure and assessment. (CSh)
Feb01: Packet Tracer. Duncan Maiden’s has written substantial resources to go with Cisco’s network simulation software “Packet Tracer”. I have used these resources and will share how I have split them up for Year 8, GCSE and A-level use. (CSh)
Possible future topics:
– Pedagogy – what classroom approaches work well for Teaching and Learning Computer Science in the Classroom. To include Flipped Learning / Paired programming / Sabotage etc…
– Revision and Exam Technique
… whatever people ask
I (and other volunteers I hope) will write a ‘starter’ post about the current topic – including
– a DESCRIPTION and links
– TECHNICAL requirements
– thoughts on PEDAGOGY (Good teaching)
– any links to underpinning of RESEARCH
– IMPACT – did it make a difference? Is it worth repeating? If so, with what changes…
Anyone can join in during the subsequent fortnight with experience/views/questions…
Nov 28 2018
Jun 24 2018
These four sets of slides have been used at York CAS 25-06-18 and Exabytes18 on 29-06-18. I will be updating the slides in the next few weeks.
Apr 14 2018
This is the overview for the 2 day course “Micro:bit in secondary computing CY224” (apply inc Enthuse bursary via the STEM site, essentially making it free apart from cover) that I will be leading with Pete Dring and Simon Johnson. We believe that your existing Microbits (worth upwards to £2k in each school) have huge potential to enhance your KS3 curriculum either for free or for very little extra cost. I really rated Alan O’Donohoe and Mark Clarkson’s Python Boot camp and I intend to include similar ideas for teaching methods and ideas that you can take straight back and use in your classroom with your students. This is the rubric with additional pictures and comments to explain what we are planning:
“Transform your KS3 computing curriculum to make programming interesting and exciting for all students, smoothing the transition from blocks to text-based languages.
During the first day you will use Python to programme the micro:bit, from the basics through to making music, transmitting morse code using radio and, finally, a Bit:Bot robot challenge.
- Understand how to support all learners using both blocks and Python for KS3 schemes of learning
- Take-away many ideas for using the BBC Micro:bit for programming, including physical computing
- Have experienced effective methods for teaching programming and managing kit in the classroom
- Feel empowered to develop your KS3 curriculum, using the BBC Micro:bit to encourage greater uptake for KS4 computer science”
Day 1 – Developing your KS3 curriculum using BBC Micro:bits
This will include what everyone is already doing or not doing with their BBC Micro:bits and a brief history of the Micro:bit.
Ideas for easily managing class sets of micro:bits and equipment:
An introduction to images using PXT Blocks suitable for year 7s. Then images using Python 3-ways – the microbit website, Mu, and Pete Dring’s simulator with discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each.
1.3 Intermediate Python activities
Starting with ring tones, delegates will learn to programme pop tunes. Then participants will learn to send morse code via the radio link.
1.4 Circus of Python activities
Including Bop-it and speech synthesis.
1.5 Next steps in your own curriculum
eg. different pathways using both blocks or Python:
1.6 Programming Bit:Bot Robots with PXT blocks
A chance to program a Bit:Bot Robot using PXT blocks to move, flash lights and beep, ending with a line-following challenge.
Day 2 – Physical Computing using BBC Micro:bits
2.1 Programming Bit:Bot Robots with Python
Same activities as yesterday evening but with Python.
2.2 Discussion of Curriculum
Further discussion of curriculum opportunities, teaching methods, and supporting mastery.
eg. Using a hybrid programming environment such as TOSH (https://tosh.tjvr.org/app) to bridge between Scratch and Python:
2.3 Introduction to Physical Computing
Using block based code and basic inputs, participants will explore how to bring computational thinking and coding ‘to life’ through physical computing with the micro:bit. Delegates will use what they have learned to create some simple games such as a ‘Love Meter’ and ‘Magic 8-ball’.
2.4 More complicated blocks
2.5 Robotics on a Budget
Create simple robots using servos and everyday materials such as cardboard, paper clips and drinking straws, with discussion around how to extend these ideas in school.
2.6 Circus of Physical Computing activities
During this session, delegates will build a moving head puppet with a servo and then to try out a variety of sensors (PIR motion sensors, light sensors, temp sensors etc.) and explore how these can be used in the classroom. Delegates can also use this time to modify/upgrade their cardboard robots using the sensors provided.
Jan 26 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to BETT18 yesterday, which greatly exceeding my expectations, as I have found in the last few years that the increased focus on selling hardware increasingly meaningless in the transfer to Computer Science. Of course, the biggest enjoyment was meeting up with colleagues who I work with regularly, but the other standouts this year for me were the exciting additions for using the Micro:Bit and that high quality VR (and AR) that is becoming affordable for schools. Lastly, the observation that BETT this year is more for Internationals with slow moving people chatting in foreign languages and much more time than I have to spare, less for teachers and even less for students.
Talking of students, I immediately missed taking Digital Leaders on the way down. I missed the train at Canning Row due to my ignorance – always before I have the students take care of the travel details. I have started Digital Leaders again this week and look forward to working with Micro:Bits with them, a VR project, and plenty more coding opportunities. DLs are vital in Y7,8 and 9 to raising interest in Computer Science and increasing numbers for GCSE and A-level, especially for girls. More