Computing Subject Leader - Jessica Houseman
At Oatlands Junior School, we aim to equip our children with the necessary skills and confidence to benefit from the ever-advancing technology on offer to them. We hope to open their eyes to the wealth of learning opportunities offered by technology and ensure that they also have a solid understanding of how to use it safely.
Useful Links: E-Safety
Below is a list of links you may find helpful:
During the Spring term, Upper School will be putting their programming skills to the test as they use Swift Playgrounds to navigate a series of programming challenges and, ultimately, create a game of their own. Having never used this app before, the children will have to apply their understanding of algorithms to tackle a new way of coding.
This term, Year 3 will be having their first taste of programming as they use Scratch to design and program their own short animation. They'll be able to design their own characters and settings and then build an algorithm to make these move, change and interact in different ways.
Year 4, will be honing up on their Web Research Skills for the first few weeks of the term. They'll be finding out how internet search engines find information based on the search terms used and how these are ranked to make sure the top results are the most relevant. From this, they'll learn how to search more efficiently and safely when surfing the web.
Year 4 have also been enjoying testing out the school’s brand new Crumbles. Crumbles are programmable controllers that can be connected to different output devices such as motors, buzzers and LED lights. So far, they’ve programmed them to create traffic lights and to mimic the flash pattern of police cars. They’re looking forward to getting their hands on some motors and programming the Crumbles to move around an obstacle course!
Upper school have been using their computing skills to design their own web pages. Having chosen a topic that they feel passionately about, the children then used their web research skills to design a webpage, showcasing the information they had found.
During the Autumn Term, Year 3 and 4 have been developing their key word processing skills. Year 3 have been using Microsoft Word to create front covers for their Special Mentions folders while Year 4 have been demonstrating their E-Safety know-how to create Powerpoint presentations explaining how they stay safe online.
Here's a sneak peek of what they've produced so far!
The Lower School children spent the Spring term creating animations using Scratch. First, the children had to create their own characters and backgrounds and then they had to use different blocks and controls to write an algorithm for their characters, telling them what to do at different points in their animation. The children had to test and debug their animations before they shared them with the rest of the class.
In Year 4, the children were tasked with creating an animation around an E-Safety theme or tip. The children did a fantastic job, incorporating key E-safety messages into animations featuring a range of characters. We had Harry Potter accidentally share his location with Lord Voldemort on social media, we saw Boo and Arran in the Falcons class discover the dangers of sharing personal information online and, bizarrely, Baguetty Spaghetti had his house blown up when he gave a stranger his address online! Some weird and wonderful ideas, which all delivered a very important message.
Safer Internet Day
To celebrate Safer Internet Day on Tuesday 5th February, we welcomed Tim Pinto into school to deliver some E-Safety workshops for the children. Tim talked to the school about the importance of understanding what 'consent' means in a digital world and how to ensure that we fully understand what we are agreeing to online. We discussed understanding the Terms and Conditions when signing up for new apps, games and programs. Tim also talked to the children about PEGI ratings on games, how these are decided and what they mean in terms of the content and suitability of a game.
In Upper School, the children have spent their first term using Scratch to program their own educational quizzes for their peers. Many of the children chose to create Maths quizzes to help children to master key Maths skills such as timestables, addition and subtraction facts and missing number problems. Of course the children put their own stamp on their quizzes by including colourful backgrounds and entertaining characters!
During the Autumn term, Years 3 and 4 have been learning key word processing skills in order to create a front cover for their Special Mentions folders. The children learned to format font, to add text boxes and shapes to documents and to use shortcuts to copy and paste images into Microsoft Word. They used these skills to create personalised front covers for their Special Mention folders!
During the second part of the term, the children started their 'We Are Programmers' topic, which will see them create an animation in Scratch. In Year 4, we have chosen an E-Safety theme so will be using our animations to teach others about how to stay safe online. The children are incorporating some of their favourite book, film and comic characters into their animations to help them share their top tips for staying safe online.
2017 - 2018
During the Spring term, Years 3 and 4 have been busy using Scratch to design their own educational quizzes. The children developed their own games based around a topic they've been learning in school and used Scratch to program and design their quizzes. The topics chosen ranged from multiplication and division to the Vikings and even to countries of the Mediterranean!
The children are now looking forward to finishing off our 'We Are Toymakers' topic, during which they will design their very own interactive toy!
Years 5 and 6 have spent the Spring term studying Cryptography. The children learnt about different types of code including semaphore, Morse code and how to use the Caesar sipher to create their own codes and crack others. Using their understanding of codes and cryptography, the children thought carefully about online security. They discussed how to make passwords more secure and thought about different ways of protecting important information.
E-Safety Parent Information Evening
We recently welcomed Tim Pinto back into school to offer a Parent E-Safety Evening following his workshops with the children at the end of February.
Tim presented some very valuable advice about how to ensure your children are using the internet safely and how to set up the necessary controls to ensure you can monitor the kind of content that they are accessing. He also offered some interesting insight into the kinds of apps that the children in school are using, the functions that these offer and how to ensure the relevant privacy settings are put in place.
If you were unable to attend the meeting and would like to find out more information, please take a look at the handouts from the evening as well as the useful links below.
Tim Pinto E-Safety Workshops
On February 23rd, we marked our own Oatlands Safer Internet Day with a visit from Tim Pinto who is an expert on all things E-Safety. Tim presented workshops to each year group throughout the day and discussed the importance of being smart when using technology and how not to 'cross the line'. The children learnt about selfie wrongs and selfie rights, 'creepy chat' and why it's important to block and report any inappropriate or unkind behaviour online.
Year 3 and 4 have spent the first half-term fine-tuning their general ICT and word processing skills. They’ve been practising their typing skills, using Microsoft Word to experiment with different fonts and designs as well as learning useful shortcuts.
Year 4 used their new skills to create personalised front covers for their Special Mentions books while Year 3 demonstrated their skills by creating informative E-Safety posters.
During the first half-term, Year 5 and 6 became quiz-makers. Before they could write their own program, they had to use their logic to practise finding and debugging errors in existing programs. They were then able to use Scratch to write simple algorithms and create themed, interactive quizzes for their peers.
On Thursday 12th October, Community Support Officer Becks from the Harrogate Police Station came in to talk about E-safety to Year 6. We learnt many things about how to stay safe online and how to deal with scenarios if we ever came across them. We learnt how to deal with cyber-bulling and the importance of not talking to strangers online. She explained why not to put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want your parents to see and showed us that it is impossible to remove an image from the internet once it’s online. We also learnt the importance of parental locks on a computer, tablet, laptop and a mobile phone.
We’d like to say a big thank you to Officer Becks for visiting Oatlands Junior School!
Written by Chloe Prytherch and Lucas Collins.