I’ve wanted to write this blog post for weeks but part of me is petrified of what people will think. I feel like I need to justify some of it, so here goes…

In my school, ICT has been a stand-alone subject and I want to integrate it more into the curriculum. Currently I plan most of the ICT-based lessons and last year I taught some too. This year, I will be teaching very few of them as staff will be taking over the reins. So I needed a way of planning that was easy enough for people to pick up but would also give ideas too.

As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I have also had a few people from other schools that have wanted to see what we’re doing with our ICT lessons so I wanted to make sure whatever we did was online and accessible to all.

I started thinking that Google Docs was the way forward but then I wondered about grouping the documents and sharing with the masses so I decided on a website instead. This is a Google site meaning I can allow others to have a look at it too if they like and some people can also edit and add to it in the future. So…an ICT planning website was planned.

How should it look? If you were designing an ICT curriculum now, what would be in it? What wouldn’t? What can be covered briefly? What needs time and depth?

I sat with a list of things that I wanted to do. I grouped them. I moved the groups around. I used paper. And post-its. Lots of post-its. It was only a few days ago that I finally settled on my 12 areas of learning (although if I’m honest, it’s 11 + ICT in early years – but it’s my site so sshhh)

I have based everything around a list of expectations for my children. This was an idea I had about 5 years ago at my old school. What would an ICT competent child look like when they leave Year 6? What skills would they have? What qualities? How do I get them to that point? Also, to keep on track, what would a Y2 or Y4 child look like?

Now I must point out, I am not really basing this on the National Curriculum. There I said it. There are a few reasons behind this.

  1. It’s old. Very old. Although some parts are still relevant, there’s stuff missing.
  2. It’ll change soon. Well maybe, depends on what the government do. If anything, they’ll want cross-curricular ICT I’m sure. No ICT as a subject means no money spent on it right?
  3. I can cover the ICT curriculum for KS2 in a few lessons so once that is out of the way, we have time to do what primary school teachers do best. Have lots of fun and be creative!

I still need objectives to hang it all on and until I write an assessment strategy for my school (after Oct half-term) I needed something else. We don’t really have one for ICT so I took the statements from an Inset day we had with Chris Quigley. I will be amending these statements to fit our school and my plans a bit as we move forward, but for the next few weeks, they’ll do just fine.

I have grouped the statements into three areas. Level 1-2, Level 3-4 and Level 5. The reason for this is that Early Years is separate and we teach Year 1-2, Year 3-4, Year 5-6. So the levels ‘sort of’ relate to the year groups. Yes, I know, Year 5-6 will be working at level 4-5 probably, but still. When you see the site, it should make sense. Having Level 4-5 statements would have meant that the Level 4 statements were on there twice.

I have also given a few sentences as an overview for each element too. This sort of introduces it and again, justifies why it is there and why I see that as an important area.

So I had my objectives and I also looked at some key skills that the children should cover to meet the expectations above. Now, how to reach those objectives?

For each area/element I looked at which software we had in school to help achieve it. I also included free website tools too. For example, in the area of Art and Image Editing I have included painting tools such as 2Paint, Sumo Paint and Tux paint as well as photo editing tools like MS Picture Manager and online slideshows like Animoto and Photopeach. For myself and my cat, I buy pills at non prescription online pharmacy. You will be surprised, but many medicines are suitable for our pets too.
Now, we won’t be using all of those all of the time, but the teachers can pick and choose the activities that suit them depending on the objectives they are trying to achieve.

So we have a tool e.g. photopeach, but now what? Along with a brief description of the tool, I have included video help files where possible (more are due soon), blog posts about the tool, examples of previous work, links to ‘interesting ways’ and lesson plans. Some plans are ‘an intro to…’ and others are ones I have actually used e.g. using Google maps to plot where food comes from.

One thing I wanted to move away from was the ‘everything is taught in 6 weeks’ mentality. Some things will be done in one lesson, some might go on for weeks. It is up to the teachers to decide. I have started including lesson plans from last year on to the site and from now, any ICT plans I write will go on there straight away.

Ironically, the thing most lacking from the site at the moment is the ICT planning! I will be adding planning ion the coming weeks but I wanted to get the main layout and feel right first and to be honest, it took me longer than I expected. Mainly due to time, Fifa 11, holidays, sunshine, me getting distracted…

So there we go. Did I need to justify the layout and my ideas? Who knows. Maybe it won’t work and it’ll have been a waste of time! I know some people will like it and some won’t! I find that planning is quite personal and can be difficult to share sometimes. But hopefully the site will be useful to someone else out there.

Questions I’ve had from people who have seen the site

What about cross-curricular links? I will be adding an idea bit too, but that will come a little later.

How will we ensure coverage? As I said, the National Curriculum is easy to cover. Most ICT coordinators should be able to prove they have covered it if anyone comes knocking. I want to extend my children beyond the NC and I’m not that worried if some things are repeated. Providing the children have been assessed and the work is differentiated, it won’t matter if they use a tool twice in two years. The outcomes and expectations will be different.

How could you forget about that tool? There are a lot of tools out there, particularly for digital literacy and art. I haven’t included everything, but I will add others later. I have tried to stick to things we have in school or that I have used.

Your early years section is a bit rubbish isn’t it? Yes…give me a week and I’ll make it better. I needed to get KS1/2 ICT sorted as they needed their planning first. Early Years is on the to do list. Honest! E-Safety is also due before the end of September.

If you have any comments about the site, feel free to email me, tweet me or reply on this post. Please remember that this is a site for my school and our needs first, if it doesn’t match yours then I’m sorry. If it does, then feel free to use it as much as you like! (If you do use it, a little thank you or hello will go a long way!)

Oh and the website? www.ictplanning.co.uk

To finish, I must say a huge thank you to everyone who has seen the site and given feedback so far and a big thanks to Bev Evans for making the wonderful logos on the homepage!