Craft Computer Club

Craft Computer Club: Our First All Girls Computer Club with Chwarae Teg.

If you want a copy of the print materials we’ve made just drop me an email on dan@inpractice.org or tweet me @danfbridge.

Update You can download it here too: Craft Computer PDF kit

This was  a dry run for our Primary school pilot in September. Our main goal was to test drive the material we have developed especially the craft computer based approach we’ve decided upon. We wanted to check we are going in the right direction, as when we first looked at the syllabus, our first reaction was …

How do we teach this to five year olds?

Luckily, I have one knocking around the house so I sat down to design material for teaching computing to her. I started looking at digital material but then two things dawned on me.

The first was that I can’t guarantee our locations will have computers or an Internet connection. That’s a bit of a snag.

The second came more by accident because my kitchen table looks like this:

Craft Computer at My Kitchen Table - Actual Photo
Craft Computer at My Kitchen Table – Actual Photo

Watching my daughter sit at the table was a revelation. Everything she learns at the moment is done by making – or breaking – something. This shouldn’t have been a revelation. I was a kid once and that’s exactly what I did.

This is also how I learned to program. Although I have a Computer Science degree I’d say the vast majority of what I have learned, I learned by hacking/breaking/fixing/making things.

I dimly recall that some bloke called Aristotle once said that

what we learn to do, we learn by doing… and that the way to do the computing is by building a craft computer

The last part of that might be paraphrased slightly.

Anyway, that’s how we decided on the Craft Computer approach. Looking at the KS1 syllabus it is, in a nutshell, about understanding Algorithms, Programs, Debugging, Files, Sharing and Safety. If we start with a computer and build upwards we should be on a solid foundation.

This is where we got a little ambitious. We wanted to devise material that would let us teach the entire syllabus, at least in overview. In order for us to do that we need a starting point and that starting point is our Craft Computer.

The Craft Computer

The Craft Computer is a cube template that we designed to be printed on a double-sided sheet of A4.

This was an important part of our design brief

to create something that anyone with a printer could download, share and learn from

and they could do this anywhere .

This little craft computer is the basis for all the work we’ll do with the KS1 syllabus – although we will supplement it with some role play games and online activities too.

The kids loved it. They loved customising their computers with googly eyes and lips!

The material we created covers most of English 2014 Key Stage 1 (KS1) computing curriculum – here’s the curriculum review document.

I’ll write up a more technical i.e. useful view of the material we covered, the response, the recall rates following the club but for now I can say the Craft Computer approach is definitely a fun and effective way to engage with our young generation of  technologists.

If you want a copy of the materials we’ve made just drop me an email on dan@inpractice.org or tweet me @danfbridge.

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