Expectations of younger pupils and ‘borrowing’ lesson ideas

As a Head of Department in an Independent School that goes from Nursery to Year 11 (and soon to Y13) I am responsible for planning the ICT curriculum that is to be delivered to all of these pupils. I am very lucky to have primary and infant co-ordinators who are very passionate about ICT and in ensuring that the pupils learn in an interesting and enjoyable environment. I only teach Y8 and up and whilst we achieve excellent GCSE results I know that, as I am a secondary school specialist, I must continue to learn from primary specialists in my PLN. Three such teachers that always amaze me with their creativity are @simonhaughton, @chrisleach78, and @ianaddison. The amount of interesting resources that they produce has made me rethink my expectations of our younger pupils. Given the right tools, and the right balance of freedom and structure, my expectations should be much higher.

Recently, I posted on this site that I had been given the go ahead to revise how ICT is taught within my school. In this revision I do not have to follow the NC or the attainment targets. My starting point for this was to try and put down on paper all the things that I believe that pupils should learn by the age of 16. I did not want to be age specific, nor did I want to put in place level boundaries. My intention is to have a curriculum that a pupil can progress through according to their ability, passion and desire. Putting down on paper all these topics has rapidly grown and as a result I have placed some permanent links on the #digitalstudies page of this blog. Please look at the table there and share anything that you find useful.

A flaw that I quickly saw with my mindmaps was that I had topics to be covered but no actual lesson ideas. I know that in some areas, I will have to come up with my own lessons and I am looking forward to this; however, I wanted to be able to use lessons that others had tried and tested. I sent @simonhaughton a tweet asking if I could directly link to resources from his excellent blog.  Simon kindly agreed to this.  This morning I have spent almost 5 hours starting in January 2010 and going through to then end of December 2010 pulling out ideas from Simon’s site and placing them alongside topics in my maps.  Whilst I have all of 2011 to still go through, I have been so in awe of what the younger pupils can do, that I am really looking forward to seeing what else Simon has in store.

The exercise of going through Simon’s blog post by post has really opened my eyes to what the pupils can do if expectations of them are set high.

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