Wrapping my head around how best to deliver content from the Digital Technologies Curriculum continues to keep me awake at night. The most recent dilemma being just how deep to dive when it comes to explaining the complexities of data transmission to Year 5, whose eventual assessment task will involve them telling the story of data from user input to output via a network printer. These students have little to know prior knowledge to build on, and while in subsequent years students will bring more with them to build on, right now I feel like an alien speaking in clicks and honking sounds.
Examine the main components of common digital systems and how they may connect together to form networks to transmit data.
(Year 5-6 Digital Technologies Knowledge and Understanding)
Sometimes teaching is like performing a dance...
And so it began....I opened by stretching out the acronym, sashayed into examples of common letters and symbols, pirouetted around the involvement of the CPU, pliéed into the role of binary before ending with a bow and an example of data transfer in pixel maps.
At this point I luckily had some "ah-ha" moments in the audience because it connected with our previous data transference lesson.
I took a breath.....not a total flop.
Having some fun with it: ASCII to Binary Chinese Whispers
So at the end of my dance at the front of the classroom I was happy to see the majority were still with me, although there were some very big eyes in the audience. At this point I always find getting the kids up and acting out processes has a big impact. So we played a sort-of Chinese Whispers in groups.
After the first round, it became a little bit competitive and the teams wanted to then race each other. It turned out to be a good brain break and provided the children with a more physical representation of the process.
What do you think? Should kids in Primary School be learning about ASCII? How deep do we go? Leave me a comment! I'd love to hear what others think.