Computing and Digital Learning

Computers and technology are now part of our pupils’ everyday lives; the goal of our Computing Curriculum is to help boys become effective and competent ‘digital citizens’, confident and creative learners who easily and seamlessly integrate their technology skills across all curriculum areas.

Starting in the Junior School, Computing enables the boys to make best use of a range of technologies in a safe, fun, inquisitive, varied and progressive way.

Boys have a weekly Computing lesson in the Junior School Computing room and further opportunities with their Form Teacher and other specialist departments to support cross-curricular learning. The boys’ learning is further supported with iPads and laptops.  They develop skills in operating hardware effectively; they work with a wide range of programmes and applications to support their cross-curricular learning. There is an emphasis on using technology for creating and collaborating, in addition to harnessing technology for sharing, recording and presenting learning, researching and information gathering, as well as enabling skills such as touch-typing, email, research and software skills, and online safety.

As the boys become older they are introduced to elements of computer programming, digital literacy, online safety and the integration of technologies across the curriculum. Our goal is to foster inquisitive and creative minds, which can use computational thinking skills to understand and resolve challenges which boys will face in their future lives and careers.

The Hall School Computing Curriculum is divided into three main strands: Digital Literacy; Applying Technology; and Computer Science.

In Digital Literacy, the boys develop the ability to safely, responsibly and critically navigate, evaluate and create information using a range of digital technologies. The focus is on Information Literacy, Digital Citizenship, and Safety and Security. In Applying Technology, pupils use technology to accomplish given goals through the collection, analysis, evaluation, creation and presentation of information. Applying Technology includes five strands to support the development of new media literacy: Multimedia, Visual Media, Sound and Music, Data Handling, and Modelling.  The hope is to create a ‘design’ mind-set in boys.

In Computer Science, the boys learn the principles of information and computation – how digital systems work, and how they are applied in the digital world. The hope is to foster in pupils an appreciation of computer programming as a fascinating and rigorous academic discipline in its own right.  Online Safety is an essential thread woven through all aspects of the Computing Curriculum.

In the Middle and Senior schools, in the boys’ dedicated ‘computing classes’ the objective is to provide opportunities to learn programming and coding basics, undertaking computer programming challenges using a variety of programming languages. These include programmes such as Scratch, Python, HTML programming and App Creation.  We also aim to support boys’ development of their digital competency with file navigation, file storage, typing skills and web and video creation.  Boys develop knowledge of key programming terminology, including concepts such as Algorithm, Procedure, Variable, Debug, and Logical Reasoning. The new Computing programme at the Hall seeks to expose boys to a greater range of programming software applications and Apps as well as a range of WEB 2.0 online learning resources, with a view to developing competent, creative, ethical and productive ‘digital citizens’.

Boys in the Senior School enjoy the opportunity to bring in their own devices from home. This allows for easy access to a wealth of resources on our learning platform and collaborative learning, including shared resources using Office 365 applications.

Our school learning platform, Firefly, is used by all boys in the school. Firefly allows teachers to celebrate students’ work, upload educational resources and create an online space that can be accessed from home and school. We are also in the process of developing our Parent Portal.

The teaching of Computing reflects a project-based learning model, which allows boys to work at their own pace and at a level appropriate to their ability.  A variety of programming environments are available for boys to access and the Computer Suite in the Senior School is open daily for boys to pursue their interests.  A technology and electronics club is run in the Senior School on Tuesdays after school and a coding club is available for MS boys on Thursdays after school. Boys in the Junior School can join the dedicated coding club that takes place every Thursday with the help of Year 8 digital ambassadors. Parents also have the opportunity to discuss their views and listen to recent developments during the Parent Technology forums that take place once a term.