Irwin Mitchell | Focus on Education | Think it Create it

Think it Create it: A new approach to delivering the computing curriculum

We recently met Jon Bromhall of Think it Create it to find out more about his exciting approach to delivering the computing curriculum for KS1 and KS2

What is Think it Create it?

Think it Create it is a community interest company supporting schools to deliver computing in a fun and interactive way. This is done through the use of hands-on practical activities using a wide range of hi-tech equipment. The programmable Lego is certainly a great hit with the pupils and we also use Raspberry Pi computers which allows greater interaction with our surroundings.

Why Think it Create it?

The name came about from a simple philosophy: think of an idea then create it. Children come up with wonderful and sometimes slightly wacky ideas and it was clear there was an opportunity to develop this into an exciting service offering for schools. Even with very limited programming skills, children create some really amazing programs or animated stories.

What services are offered?

Our main service is to come to schools and run a full half-day session with a class. This could be a Lego WeDo activity where the children work in pairs and build a Lego model and then program it to move and make noises or react to external interaction. These sessions are great because they appeal to all academic levels including those for whom English is not their first language due to the visual nature of the task.

The activities are often tailored to the school’s themed subject. For example, if creative writing is on the cards, the activities are adapted to stimulate story telling or the topic being covered.

As well as running sessions directly with pupils, we also provide training for teachers in areas such as computer programming in Scratch. The additional requirement to teach computer programming can be daunting and certainly time consuming. The introductory programming course gives teachers enough confidence to teach the basic principles of programming.

What areas do you cover?

We cover all areas of the national computing curriculum. This means programming, sound recording, making and editing music, understanding algorithms, controlling and reacting to the world around us, simple circuits, blogging, websites and apps.

What age range is it aimed at?

The new computing curriculum covers Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 so all of our activities focus on supporting this and other area of the national curriculum.

Lego WeDo and Scratch programming is aimed at year 3 and upwards but we do have simpler activities for years 1 and 2 and more complex ones for year 6.

What motivated you to set it up?

IT, especially programming, is a very dry subject but it doesn’t need to be. I think if we are to inspire our next generation of engineers and programmers, we need to get to children early and show that it can be good fun, rewarding and relevant.

What skills do these sessions help develop? When you observe a class carrying out a practical activity such as Lego WeDo, it is fairly difficult to identify the pupils who are at the top of the class academically. In fact those who struggle academically often flourish when given such a hands on, visual task to complete.

However, regardless of ability, all activities allow for many skills to be honed; team work, communication, motor skills, visualisation and problem solving skills can be seen to be demonstrated during these activities and are evidenced-based.

Not all pupils will be academic wiz-kids but the next great app developer or mechanical engineer might be amongst them.

How does all of this fit in with the national curriculum?

The introduction of the new computing curriculum takes children back to the basics of computing and understanding how we interact with technology in our everyday lives. At Think it Create it, we believe computing is an enabler subject, not a stand-alone one. It can be adapted to support many areas of the wider curriculum such as English, maths, foreign languages and design technology.

For this reason, we have designed a curriculum matcher, which links all of our services to different parts of the national curriculum.

What do children and teachers make of it?

We’ve had great feedback and never tire of hearing the excited shriek of a child when a Lego model they programmed and built comes to life.

“The children got way more than we bargained for out of the sessions. They collaborated on the activities working together to build a Lego alligator. The children had a really fun session, the learning was top draw and it fitted wonderfully with the curriculum.” - Mark Currell, Head of Roade Primary School, Northamptonshire

To find out more contact:

Jon Bromhall
M: +44(0)7746 905 302