IT teacher Ray Chambers has recently visited Croatia where he advised teachers on the implementation of their new computing curriculum. He, and a primary practitioner, were invited by the British Embassy in Zagreb to deliver two days of training.
Mr Chambers said: ‘Croatia is developing a new computing curriculum and they needed people to go over and train their teachers. We had to look at different areas of our current computing curriculum and see how those could map across. There were lots of areas such as networking, binary and how to teach programming as well as many areas that teachers were unsure of.
‘It is very different over there. As we were delivering the training we suddenly realised that they don’t have the same computer systems in place, they don’t have IT suites and they shared one computer, so we had to figure out how to teach the subject unplugged. On the first day I did a session on getting their department ready and I also taught them about networking and binary. The second day was very hands on and I taught them about the micro:bit that has been just released over here. It is a little computer that you can run different programs on and make it perform different functions. It is useful for hands-on coding.
‘There was a bit of a technical barrier as some teachers don’t even have an iPad for their class. When the computing curriculum came out in the UK lots of people were very scared of it, however in Croatia they all seem very keen. The feedback from the sessions was very positive and my co-facilitator was James Langley who is a primary computing specialist.
‘This was the first training I had delivered overseas and, the main thing I learned was that teachers don’t necessarily have the tools in different schools that we have and how lucky we are. It encourages me to try and actually step back from computers and teach things unplugged and try new approaches particularly if I am going to support other teachers.’