Friday, 25 November 2016

Hour of Code

The Hour of Code is a great opportunity to get your school coding. This year it takes place from 5th - 11th December (which is also Computer Science Education Week),

New activities have been added alongside a filter tool that will allow teachers to find the best activity for your classroom.

For those who have never done the Hour of Code before be reassured that it’s a really straightforward: anybody can participate, no experience required, and it only takes an hour.

For veteran coders, there are new lesson plans that let you guide pupils through more complicated activities.  
Take a look at the website for new activities and how to sign up.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Courses in Computing

We have several courses running at the Nottingham eLearning Centre which may be of interest to you. I’ve attached the course diary so that you can distribute details to colleagues and I’ve also attached the flyer for the intensive day courses.

The September day courses are usually really popular but there are still spaces on all of them at the moment. They are a great opportunity for teachers or TAs who are new to the profession who would like to review the computing curriculum for their year group, try the activities and get lots of teaching ideas for all aspects of computing. They are also really useful for teachers who have changed year groups and are looking for new ideas appropriate for their new class. Bring a memory stick so that you can copy the curriculum documents and all of the resources.

We have changed the format for conferences for computing curriculum leaders this year. The day conferences have been replaced with half day network meetings each half term. It has become increasingly difficult to book enough rooms to offer the wide range of breakout sessions, hence the change. I hope you will still be able to support us and attend. In the first session we are also going to skype a company that offer free hire of 3d printers to primary schools which sounds really interesting.

A new venture is the Derby hub. We meet once each half term at St. James’ Junior School near the City Centre. We are a relatively new group but thriving. If your teachers would find it more convenient to travel there then please get in touch. The details of the meetings are on the Course Diary.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Teachers work too hard!

School holidays are a great time to start thinking about the new school year. It occurs to me that most people have a period of reflection on December 31st when we look back on the year just ending, work out what was gone well and, perhaps, what could have been improved on. We make resolutions for the new year to help us in the drive to make the next year even better than the one just ending.

As teachers we have an additional opportunity for this process of evaluation and quest for improvement because in our planning for September ( Nottingham we return in August) we do exactly the same thing. Teachers are amongst the most reflective of all professionals, always striving for more from themselves and constantly looking for ways to communicate in interesting and exciting ways.

For those people out there who still think that teachers spend six weeks somewhere exotic every Summer without a thought for their work I can verify that this isn't the case; I have a steady stream of emails from teachers throughout the break asking for advice or wanting to book a session with me. 

To every teacher I have worked with last year I congratulate you on the amazing work you do everyday in the classroom. You deserve a fantastic holiday.
Please stop emailing me and thinking about work!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Moving Forward Together with Computing

Courses to equip you to deliver Computing lessons in your school

These courses are aimed at NQTs, TAs and more experiences teachers who may lack confidence in delivering all aspects of the new computing curriculum.

The courses provide a unique opportunity to develop computing curriculum expertise and become more confident in the classroom. In a day we shall break the computing curriculum down and look at all the different aspects of computer science, digital literacy, safety and computer theory.

These courses are deliberately scheduled at the start of the year to have maximum impact.

The dates and target audience are:
KS1: Led by Jan Gray on Monday 26th September 2016
Lower KS2: Led by Janet Simner on Tuesday 27th September 2016
Upper KS2: Led by Janet Simner on Friday 30th September 2016


For more details, including booking information, please click here  or contact Janet Simner on 07957206921  or

Friday, 27 May 2016


The year 6 class at Rufford Primary School have just successfully completed their project for this halfterm. I can take no credit for the planning and execution of the majority of this; the class teacher has run the project alongside SATs and the residential experience that followed. She commented that making the fairground models acted as a great stress reliever and that pupils were able to be really creative.

When the project was first mentioned I suggested using our Crumble Boards (Redfern Electronics) to program the fairground models. I have to admit that I didn’t know how we were going to achieve this but it did seem like a great idea! The class have already used Scratch extensively and are going to use Kodu next half term but the Crumble Boards offered a great opportunity to program for a real purpose. You can watch a video of their work here:

It was fantastic! It was great to see children showing respect for the equipment, putting their circuit work into practice, solving problems and applying the programming techniques that they had used previously. They also enjoyed it. We could have used a battery pack to power the rides but the crumble boards allowed us to do much more including change speed, change direction and add lights.

We will definitely do this again. 
Nottingham e-Learning Community is part of Nottingham City Council, Children and Adults