(Computer coding concepts)
The original “Stories for Children” project was devised several years ago, working with the support of some brilliant classroom teachers in Taiwan, in order to develop the learning of Mandarin Chinese in our UK schools, through bi-lingual story-telling, using school-to-school, email-exchanged PowerPoint files.
Example of a bi-lingual animated story file from 2008, by Angela Condino, aged 11
The new and updated version of this story-telling project aims to support the new UK Computing curriculum by creating stories that now illustrate computer coding concepts.
They also build on story-telling work carried out by my pioneering PGCE students at Brunel University London, in 2012. For some of their early work on teaching algorithms, see:
Each of the new stories, written by a Primary school student, Beth Mead (aged nine at the start of this Inclusion project), exemplify important elements of the current Computing curriculum, in an entirely accessible way. These stories can now be downloaded, entirely free, for use in your classroom. Discussion of this material is important, but it is, we hope, an entertaining way into computer science. How about asking your pupils to create their own coding stories?
Concepts initially planned include algorithms and decomposition, with others to follow.
As this is an on-going project, it will be updated as these free school support resources are further developed by Lawrence Williams, MirandaNet Fellow and ITTE member, and his grand-daughter, Beth Mead.
So far, we are posting story material presented by Lawrence at WCCE Dublin, 2017, and then by Lawrence together with Beth Mead, at the ITTE/MirandaNet, University of Winchester, 2018, the youngest ever presenter at an international conference of this kind!
See the relevant PowerPoint on this website.
There is no single, agreed definition of computational thinking. It depends on whom you ask: programmer, logician, or mathematician. There are, however, several generally agreed elements, and these are explored in the following stories for children. These elements include:
Algorithmic thinking (following a set of rules; sequencing skills)
Debugging (detecting and correcting errors)
Decomposition (breaking a complex problem down into simpler parts)
Logical thinking (reasoning skills)
Generalisation (recognising patterns, and using them to find solutions)
Abstraction (sorting relevant information from unnecessary detail)
These concepts are presented through these simple stories:
Algorithms and Debugging