Teacher reviews

Thanks for offering to take a look at the materials I’m putting up here. I’m trialling a blended approach to middle school Computing at my school, gathering feedback from the students, but I’m also interested in what other teachers think, so all feedback is welcome.

Some context

The students

This unit is aimed at year 8 (US grade 7; 12-13 year olds) students at Taipei European School. The students are in mixed ability groups, though EAL students and SEN students are grouped into classes and given additional support. There is a 50:50 gender divide in the year group of around 80 students. In general, they are highly motivated and very grade-oriented.

Without specific guidance on how long they should spend on homework activities, some students will work on them for hours, so clear guidance on how much is expected of them is becoming a big focus for us. This is hopefully clear from the knowledge organiser, which students said relieved a lot of the anxiety they felt about revising for the end of unit test.

The curriculum

The unit

Lessons at TES are 80 minutes long, and Computing is taught once a week. The unit focuses on spreadsheet modelling, initially taught over 4 lessons but I intend to add 2 more lessons of consolidation and practice, moving the test to week 6, based on student feedback.

Delivery

Lessons are initially teacher-led, until all students have the confidence to progress through the materials at their own pace. Extra materials for review at home are provided. No additional homework tasks are set.

Why blended learning?

I’ve decided to provide learning materials for students to access from home to give them the opportunity (though not necessarily the requirement) to work on vocabulary, practice basic skills and revisit video tutorials for a couple of reasons:

  • They are really keen to learn
  • We don’t want that to stop as soon as they leave
  • We’re a Microsoft school and lots of kids have Macs at home, making it difficult to set practical tasks to be done using skills learned in class

In a nutshell (TL;DR)

I’m building this website to meet the needs of my students. Early indications are good that it’s on the right track, and I’d be interested to hear what other teachers have to say.