After much searching I have come across a computer program suitable for primary school aged children call “SiMPLE” http://www.simplecodeworks.com/website.html. It is a beginner friendly program which uses basic programming language to ensure all children can and do create interesting new games, screen savers and video interactions to name a few. The program itself is merely a text file (source listing) containing a set of instructions that tell your computer what to do. Children simply enter in the words they wish to program and the SiMPLE builds the codes in order for the program to work. It is really easy to use, even downloading it to begin my coding was no problem. I just clicked on the link and followed the prompts. Once you have downloaded the free program it provides you with all the guidance you need. It has built in documentation which shows you how to use the system and provides examples which can help give your students ideas to encourage indepth designs. This program definitely correlates with the knowledge and understanding as well at the processes and production skills elements of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies.
After perusing the Scope and Sequence documents of the Australian Curriculum I realised this program would be great in almost all year levels, but particularly Years 3 – 6 as this area encourages students to “critique, explore and investigate opportunites for designing and test and evaluate a variety of technologies, materials, systems, tools and techniques to produce designed solutions”. This program also allows students to change their designs and more importantly gives them the opportunity once they have mastered the easier coding, to complete their own coding on other different projects.
As the name suggests it is so SiMPLE so as I am somewhat computer illiterate I decided to give this program a test drive. After downloading it I followed the very specific directions to locate the program on my C:. Once there I could interact with all the samples and begin my own project. As yet I have not mastered the personal coding, but I definitely was amazed by what children from the age of 6 had completed. My thinking is if they can do it then, so can I and I am definitely up for the challenge. Therefore, for my independent project I was thinking about making my own SiMPLE program. This will be interesting and the results might surprise me, but I need to give it a go! If my SiMPLE program does turn out exactly as I plan this will be definitely something which I would consider in a primary school setting. By all accounts students everywhere seem to love it and with the basic planning ideologies embedded within the programming all students can participate while also engaging with the Australian Curriculum requirements.
So the challenge is ON, let’s see how I go! I will keep you all posted.