After talking to a number of colleagues in special schools and on Twitter, I decided to organise an SEND Computing Conference to help share ways of adapting the curriculum for learners with special educational needs and disabilities. We held it at the National STEM Centre in York, which is a fantastic venue for teacher CPD in the STEM subjects. It was a two day event, subsidised for teachers through Enthuse bursaries. Thanks to Gemma Taylor and the centre for hosting and organising us on the days.
We met on the Monday evening in the resource library at the centre, and I think many of the teachers could happily have spent the whole conference in there, as it contains some fantastic resources. After a splendid dinner, we had a session on assessment and the Revised P Scales for Computing. This was based on work by John Galloway, Sally Paveley, Anne-Marie Medhurst, myself, and a host of teachers, consultants and other interested parties to revise the current P Scales for Computing statements, as they don’t currently reflect the content of the new Computing programs of study. The first version of this revised P Scales document can be viewed here: RevisedPScalesComputing_Oct15. We hope teachers will start using this as a guide to assessing progress in Computing, as well as a starting point for understanding what computing looks like at these levels. We completed a practical activity to write statements for progression in a particular computing activity, e.g. recording and editing video. These examples will form an appendix to the document. For further information, please go to www.rivelin.org which is its temporary home.
We also discussed what further support teachers needed with computing, and started a page on the SEN Computing Wiki to share resources and ideas, as much of the value of the conference lay in the conversations people were having over the two days.
The day conference was started in style with Ian Bean‘s keynote, which took in dating advice, Total Eclipse of the Heart, buckets and hexadecimal. Above all it challenged us to remember the ‘Why’ in our teaching of students with special needs, particularly those with more severe learning difficulties. Why is it relevant? What purpose does it serve?
There are some links from Ian’s talk on the SEN Computing Wiki – click on SEND Computing Conference in the menu.
There followed a number of workshops, which I will write about in part two of this blog…