Technology really came to the forefront during the Covid-19 pandemic, with students of all ages forced out of the classroom and onto Distance Learning. Learners at St. Michael’s International School have always had strong technology skills, but now, more than ever, we continue to weave Computing throughout other subjects - rather than having it as a purely stand alone subject. It also enables us to share learning with all family members, not just those who can make it physically into the classroom.
Linking learning to environmental issues
In the IPC unit Earth as an Island, Year Six students learn how to protect their planet. They designed and built solar-powered robots (using LEGO Mindstorm kits) to understand eco-friendly transport options. Their robot vehicles successfully solved a variety of challenges, including driving through a short maze to collect rubbish and tidy up the local environment!
Y6 Lego Mindstorm Robots
Y6 using solar power panels
Gaining familiarity with Google Suite
Based around the IPC Fairgrounds unit, Milepost Three used their Google Slides know-how to create a ‘Choose Your Own’ adventure style story, imagining what the rides and fairground might be like after hours, or even after being abandoned. In a ‘Choose Your Own’ story, readers are given different options to click on at the end of each Google Slide. If they choose the correct option, they can progress to the next Slide in the hopes of solving the adventure. But if they choose the incorrect answer, then you might get sent all the way back to the start… or worse!
Milepost Three researched fairgrounds rides around the world, and added photos, sounds and GIFs to their stories to make them even more entertaining. Their stories became a fun way of up-levelling their Google Suite skills while weaving English and IPC learning into the mix.
Similarly, Year Five found a novel and innovative use for Google Sheets: formatting the grids to create unique and creative city plans! As part of the IPC unit AD900, students designed ancient Maya cities by changing the colour and shape of each cell and then added text to label it. The detailed plans were then used to create physical 3D models of the cities from cardboard.
Sharing learning with parents
With Covid-19 restrictions preventing many parents from coming into school,our innovative learners found new ways to share their new knowledge and skills with their families at home. Milepost Three used their new knowledge of Being Human or Brainwaves to create challenging quizzes using apps such as Quizziz, Kahoot and Google Forms. Milepost 2 students used their Zoom skills to present learning via live-streaming, while also creating entertaining videos to sum up everything they’d studied (using editing software like WeVideo).
Young students are involved too
At St. Michael’s, all year groups are encouraged to use technology as much as possible, from Early Years students who used iPads to take photos for the IEYC unit This is Me, to Year One learners using Google Maps to explore their local area for Who Am I?
And IPC learning also continued in after-school clubs: Milepost Two’s Robotics Club used the knowledge they gained in the IPC unit From A to B to construct moving bridges and vehicles. The children love developing their Computing skills across the curriculum and the IPC has proved the ideal vehicle for this.
Joanne from St. Michael’s International School
Joanne Offer has been the Year 6 Teacher at St. Michael’s International School, Kobe for the past 3 years. Prior to that, she taught Years 4 to 6 in Sunderland, UK.