Why teachers and pupils love Switched on ICT
Click on the testimonials below to read or watch them.
The great thing about this programme is that it not only challenges the children to use ICT creatively, but it also inspires and engages staff throughout the school to use tools that they have heard of but have been unsure about using. I can honestly say that after the staff sat down and read through their year group pack and had tried out the suggested tools they were all confident and eager to get started. I have never said that before about a programme that I have launched in school.
Why were they eager? Easy, because each unit has a clear purpose, builds on previously learnt skills and recommends some fantastic software to use that is free and simple to install or is generic software already on the computer.
E-safety is built into every unit, guidance on assessment and expectations are included, as are ideas to extend projects and due to the open nature of each unit you can easily link in many cross-curricular elements.
For example, when we were completing the Year 6 unit ‘We are game developers’ we were able to reinforce other curriculum elements because of the vast range of skills that were being used. Alongside the ICT skills of coding, collaborating and constructing the children were securing their understanding of number relationships and calculations, they were being challenged to effectively storyboard an adventure through images and speech and they were recognising the importance of reviewing, modifying and evaluating.
Many of the children went home and carried on developing ideas – which again highlights the enthusiasm that was generated, as well as the carefully chosen software to enable this to happen. Instead of the audience just being a closed classroom, we had parents and grandparents joining in, not only did they praise what had been achieved but they also developed their own games as did our partner schools from across the world who loved being sent our work as they could tell us how and where to improve and then tell us whether we had got right yet.
A final positive for me is that the packs are already being added to due to the ever changing face of technology and our curriculum. This not a simply, hi, buy, bye product. It is continually improving so that your ICT curriculum continues to be forward thinking, focused but most importantly – fun.
We have currently been using Switched on ICT to deliver our ICT curriculum for the past 2 years. We have found the scheme to be extremely comprehensive in delivering a challenging set of progressive skills throughout the whole school. The software suggested has proven to be easy to use while introducing the children to ‘real world’ software. All programs used have been easy to manage, maintain and upgrade with opportunities to upgrade and build upon year after year.
Staff, have found the units of work exciting to teach and while some units have challenged their subject knowledge they have been successful in using the tutorials include with the scheme to ensure the quality delivery of each unit.
As a scheme, we feel the units covered meet the needs of our pupils while providing the opportunity to introduce new technologies while embracing the ever changing nature of ICT. The scheme is flexible in its approach so as and when teachers feel confident teaching the skills they are able to adapt the lesson plans to enhance cross curricular topics.
“ I would highly recommend this scheme to any school as it provides a solid platform from which to deliver a truly exciting and engaging curriculum.” Mrs Foster (Assistant Headteacher / ICT leader)
“Finally an ICT curriculum that challenges and excites our pupils, highly recommended” Mr Brooks (yr4 Teacher)
“The Kids Love it, and I love teaching it.” Mr Tucker (Yr3 Teacher)
“The children really look forward to using the computers each week and are being challenged by the new curriculum” Mr West (Year 1 Teacher)
“The children enjoy the lessons and it’s adaptable to meet the needs of all learners.” Mrs Benton Year 2 Teacher
“It’s like no other scheme I’ve seen, while creating children who are ready to meet technology head-on.” Miss Bowden Year 3 Teacher
‘It is amazing. I really enjoyed being a meteorologist!’ Harrison year 4 Pupil I enjoy using Scratch to make games” Isabelle Year 4 pupil
“I really liked doing everything.” Chloe Yr3 pupil “I really liked doing scratch because I put a wizard hat on the cat and he made the witch disappear!” Cody Yr3 pupil
In October I decided to take the bold move, as Leader for ICT, and put the SOICT units of work into my teachers’ hands and see what they do. Give them complete freedom about which they choose to do first. At an ICT Leaders meeting, where we were discussing SOICT, my idea was met with comments such as “How will you make sure they don’t just choose units they can do on Powerpoint?” “What if they get rid of old units which they should be doing and don’t replace them with like-ones?” “All year groups will end up doing the same thing.”
Most other leaders were implementing the full scheme straight away, ditching all other ICT planning, or they were using the units in only one year group at a time to pilot and roll out slowly. They really didn’t like the unpredictability of my method…. however… I didn’t like the idea of going to each of my year groups and telling them what they would be doing. I knew I would be met with opposition and “buts”. I also didn’t want to tell my ICT technicians – who were extremely busy with other jobs, that I needed new software installed and hardware checked for all the new units of work.
So what was my plan to avoid chaos? Read all.
Mrs Homewood, Leader for ICT, Engayne Primary Teaching School, Upminster, London Borough of Havering.
As part of our School Development and Improvement work for the academic year 2010/11, we had identified the need to further develop the use of ICT across the school. We wanted pupil self esteem and confidence within ICT to rise, and therefore equip pupils to confidently use ICT skills to support and extend learning in all areas of the curriculum.
Discreet teaching of ICT was taking place across the school on a weekly basis and initial work had begun to increase access to the laptops to encourage independent and cross curricular learning for pupils.
A significant amount of work had already taken place on our school curriculum. We had addressed the need to make it more creative and exciting for the staff and pupils. New topics have been devised to include innovative and inspiring content…. Read how Coads Green implemented Switched on ICT
Claire Tomkies, Headteacher, Coads Green Primary School, Launceston.
Switched on ICT was an answer to our prayers. We have been putting off updating our ICT curriculum for the past two years because of a lack of time and expertise. Then Switched on ICT came into school. It was just what we needed. As an outstanding school we were keen that any new curriculum kept our children up to date with the latest programmes and also recognise the fact that children are now better at ICT than they were 5 years ago. We used to be able to wow year 6 with Power Point but now year three are using it easily. Read more.
Iain Gunn, Head Teacher at St Peter’s CE Primary School, South Weald, Brentwood, Essex
I have written a couple of times (here for example) about the ICT curriculum. It is a difficult subject and the more I speak to teachers the more I am thinking about what I want to do and what needs to be done. In my school I want a cutting-edge curriculum with website design, game design, green screening and other such stuff. But I am there to lead it, I frequently get new ideas from Twitter and I want to try things out. Lots of schools aren’t like that so what do they do? Where do they begin? This post is aimed at the schools that want to revamp their curriculum but need a helping hand. Read the rest of Ian’s blog post.
Ian Addison, ICT Co-ordinator, St John the Baptist Primary School, Southampton.
Quotes from children:
- Brilliant programme which helped me make my own music.
- I am going to produce a backing track for Mrs Cameron to sing along to and then she can give up her day job.
- Can we do it again?
- My mum and dad really enjoyed having a chance to create a piece of music which I showed them how to do.
Katy Thompson, Oakridge Junior School, Basingstoke, Hampshire
This is a slight departure for the blog since I usually talk about online resources, but I think this is something that will definitely interest Primary ICT coordinators so I thought I’d share it here.
I have been taking a look at the Switched on ICT scheme from Rising Stars. This is a set of ready-made ICT plans that cover Years 1-6. Key Stage 2 is available now. Key Stage 1 will be published in the Autumn. Read Danny’s blog post.
Danny Nicholson for The Whiteboard blog