Introduction to computer science and the news

Schoolchildren working at a computer
Image caption The computer science curriculum can be incorporated into BBC School Report

Computing and coding plays a big part in broadcasting.

School Report provides an authentic learning experience where pupils can use their computing skills, some of which already fall naturally into the creation of news stories.

Here we look at how the computer science curriculum can be incorporated into School Report.

Curriculum changes

The new computing programme of study, announced in 2013 by then Education Secretary Michael Gove, was introduced into schools in England at the start of the 2014/15 school year in September.

There are three main strands to the new curriculum, covering computer science, information technology and digital literacy, but it will place a greater emphasis on coding and programming than in the past.

Image caption The new curriculum works with School Report in six key areas

There are six key areas where the new curriculum works with School Report, all or some of which can be used by teachers to teach technology and computing:

  • Creative projects combining multiple applications
  • Using digital artefacts for a given audience
  • Safe and responsible use of technology
  • Computational thinking
  • Modelling and programming
  • Workings of computers and networks

As participants in School Report, your students will already be covering the first three of these topics. You can click here for classroom activities relating to the next three topics.

Putting together a story, or news package, for School Report News Day will often involve using multiple applications, whether it be editing a piece of video or audio, or writing a report for the web and adding photographs and graphics. Gathering content in advance of News Day will allow students to spend more time covering the technical aspects, as well as understanding the journalism.

A digital artefact is any type of item produced and stored as a digital or electronic version, such as digital documents, programmes, video and audio files, images and photos. However you deliver your School Report news stories, students are already doing this by creating, re-using, revising and re-purposing content.

Encourage students to make the most of the different assets they have to create compelling reports and check out the many resources on the School Report website to help you, whether it is taking a great photo or recording the best video.

Image caption Being safe online is a key part of the computer curriculum

Using technology safely and responsibly is an important aspect of the computer curriculum. Keeping your news safe and legal, is our guide for students and teachers to help School Reporters keep themselves secure. Also, remember - just because something is online does not mean it is definitely true and reliable. As journalists, it is vital to check your facts.

When they do come across inappropriate content, contact and conduct, they need to know how to deal with it and report any concerns they have.

Use our resources to help pupils discuss and think through some of the issues around internet safety.

Computer science and technology are still tools for learning in all subjects and can be encompassed across the curriculum and integrated in a variety of ways across a variety of subjects, which is how technology is delivered within the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland.

In addition to young people at school, everyone, whatever their age, is being encouraged to try a bit of coding at school, coding clubs or just for fun. There are many organisations involved in this and many teachers are already involved with Computing at School.

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