New Computing Curriculum Resources from BBC Bitesize
Director of Education, BBC
For many students and teachers across the UK, the long, lazy days of summer are already a distant memory. Teachers are busy planning their lessons for the term ahead, and students are starting to get to grips with the new subjects they have to learn.
I lead the department that is responsible for the BBC’s commitment to support students and teachers, whether they’re in school or at home. The start of the new academic year is therefore important to us too, and this one has been even busier than usual…
New Computing Curriculum
That’s because in England, this month sees the launch of a new curriculum. There have been a number of curriculum changes, but amongst the most high profile has been the introduction of new computing learning objectives. This has meant teachers and students across primary and secondary schools now need to get to grips with topics such as computational thinking, coding and algorithms.
In BBC Learning, we have always provided content that is relevant to the UK curricula through sites such as BBC Bitesize. We spend a lot of time talking to teachers and other education professionals and we know that the new computing curriculum will be a challenge for some. But we also know that many children are genuinely interested in technology.
So today, we have launched a brand new range of content to meet the needs of both. Using interactivity, animation and video, we’ve brought the subject to life with the key aim of enabling children to build their digital skills whilst also inspiring them to find out more.
You can find it all here
At Primary level, we have more than 40 new guides covering all aspects of computing. For instance, at key stage 1, we have created content to help teachers and parents explain the concept of coding to young children and show how it can be used to create games and animations.
Higher up the age ranges, we have focused on providing guides for independent study. For example, at key stage 3, we’ve created material to help students understand that computational thinking isn’t just relevant to coding, it can also provide a basis of logical thinking that can be applied to any field of study.
Combined with great television output from CBBC and CBeebies in the Autumn, this means that the BBC can inspire children to get creative digitally both within the formal setting of the classroom and at home through television, games and competitions. These early examples form part of the BBC’s coding and digital creativity initiative for 2015. More detail on this initiative will be announced soon.
Changes to Bitesize
The new academic year isn’t just about new content for us. It’s also about making some changes to how we bring that content to our audiences. In the past, Bitesize has mainly been a destination for key stage 3 and GCSE students, featuring study guides, quizzes, videos and games. And we’ve had a number of other websites aimed at supporting students and schools across the UK.
Today, however, we are beginning to bring all our formal education resources together under the Bitesize brand. Here, all content will be mapped to the relevant part of the curriculum by key stage, topic and nation, with improved navigation throughout. Given the rise of smart phones and tablets, we recognize the importance of supporting learning, wherever and whenever so the new Bitesize is designed to be fully responsive. This means it will work seamlessly on tablets and smart phones as well as on desktop PCs and whiteboards.
We also want to help our audience continue their learning beyond the BBC. We have worked with other educational providers to ensure there are links from our pages to theirs – enabling audiences to access a wide range of material from almost 60 other providers.
Although we intend to implement these changes with minimal disruption, it has been a big undertaking. We now have over 1000 study guides and quizzes, some 5000 infographics and over 7000 thousand class clips in the new Bitesize. However, that’s just two thirds of what we had in the old site so there is still work to be done, particularly to bring our content for primary level into the new site.
Of course, the BBC’s commitment to education online isn’t just about the curriculum. At the beginning of this year we introduced iWonder, a new factual and educational format aimed at stimulating curiosity and providing learning opportunities for mainstream audiences.
Initially launched to support the BBC’s World War 1 season, we now have iWonder guides and timelines that span all our factual genres from Science to Food and from Religion to Natural History. The iWonder tag line is ‘be curious’ so do take a look.
I hope that you find our new content useful and enjoyable, it would be great to hear what you think.
Sinead Rocks is Acting Head of BBC Learning.
- See what changes have bee made to the BBC Bitesize website
- Read the press release about BBC Bitesize on the Media Centre website
- Read more about the 'Kid's coding push' on the BBC News site