Meet Debbie Stubbington, Head of ICT at the #gototech school
Take 90 7-9 year olds, 10 professionals in IT and 3 workshops only ever tried with teenagers before, and for many the expectation would have been a recipe for disaster with disengaged kids who had no idea what was going on!
However, that’s not the way we see things at St. Matthews! Our Year 3 and 4 children jumped at the chance to experience the wonders of coding and making things happen in ways that they hadn’t experienced before.
The Raspberry Pi was a great success. Who knew that this tiny thing could do so much? This jumble of boards, solder and wires was actually a computer just like our beloved new laptops. More to the point the children suddenly saw that missing out a fullstop could have dire consequences if this was in a piece of Python code.
‘Apps for Good’ gave the children the chance to create their own app. They thought of an idea and acted out the situation so that they could really get to grips with what was needed, before they created their wireframe. So now they not only see the point of punctuation, but they have extended their vocabulary! For certain, we all know that “An app is just a set of instructions” – to be read in a bored tone as this is just SO obvious to a seven year old, so why don’t adults ‘get it’?
Scratch fever certainly took over the place thanks to Miles Berry or “Mr Berry” to his friends. He wasn’t reminding the children to point their noses and knees in his direction because they were bored, it was just that they were having so much fun that they didn’t want to stop. With their enthusiasm for wanting to make things happen, they didn’t need much telling what to do – they are of the mindset where they just try it and see, and if that doesn’t work then they will try it again!
Today the classrooms are devoid of their visitors, extra tech and film crews and, to the casual observer, it might seem that everything is back to normal. But if you look closely, there is a new spark being fanned amongst our children, a desire to find out more about the ways they can use ICT to do more exciting stuff. They don’t just want to use computers so that they can do what the computer wants / allows them to do. They want to do it their way and make the computer follow them! And we wouldn’t want it any other way!
It really was a great day and we send a huge thank you to everyone involved. This is just the start of something much bigger!!
– Debbie Stubbington, St Matthew’s C of E School, Surbiton, Surrey