Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reviewing Year 8

Having spent yesterday looking at year 7 I next needed to review the year 8 curriculum. Again it had been written piecemeal last year and I needed to get a handle on the big picture. I'd also run the same topics for year 7 and 8 for part of the year. There were several reasons for this. From a pragmatic point of view it cut down the amount of resources I had to write. It was also less new material for non-specialists to get to grips with. Finally I needed to make sure that year 8 did not lose out on covering topics such as Scratch programming and Rafi-ki. However this means that I have a lot more work to do with year 8 then year 7. I was also very aware that we had not done any data handling in year 8 last year and therefore had only covered the sequencing criteria of AF2. However I had covered more of the impact of IT on society criteria from AF1 and gone into more depth on the internet research criteria for AF3.

Once again I started by mapping out the different topics. There were six, each lasting approximately a term:-

  • Web-sleuth ( research/ reliability / bias )
  • Rafi-ki - online communication
  • Presenting info - tied in with producing a leaflet for Bristol zoo which the students had visited that term.
  • Scratch programming
  • Impact of IT - social media / digital divide
  • Web creation - google apps / research project
This mapped out as follows:-

The topics in red are those that the students have already covered in year 7. When mapped against the APP criteria it showed clearly the main gap was the AF2 data handling section:-

I've decided to start year 8 this year with the Impact of IT topic and to update it to include a lesson on the role of social media during the recent riots. As part of this I'm going to get students to produce a presentation arguing for or against increased regulation / control of social media. I'm going to use this ppt which I found on Nick Jackson's Use of IT SOW on #ictcurric:-

Death by PowerPoint
View more presentations from Alexei Kapterev

And also this one from the same source:-

How to make effective presentation
I'll follow it with a beefed up Web Sleuth unit and then web design which I'm going to revamp and make more of a web campaigning unit rather than have students create a website on a subject of their choice (this can move to an extended homework project). 

Students have had a grounding in programming via Scratch in year 7 so it's time to delve deeper using this Stanford University site:-

We will then move onto using Python via this site:-

By having this after Christmas I will have more time to provide CPD to non specialist teachers and also ensure that we have Python installed on the curriculum computers.

So the curriculum is shaping up as follows:-

I've got data handling down as the fifth topic but at the moment it's there because I feel it ought to be rather than because I want to do it. More thought required on what that's going to be. I'm going to finish the year with a Google Sketch-up project based on the SOW by Mark Clarkson, again from #ictcurric.

Finally I came across this video last night on @theheadsoffice's blog. Got me wondering what would happen if we allowed students, say a lesson a month, to work on whatever they want to. Would we get learning or just playing on games? Might experiment and find out.

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