What is Playground Computing?
Playground Computing was developed as part of the Technocamps project in 2013 based at Swansea University. The aim of the project was to delivery free computer science workshops to all primary schools in Wales.
The project had a flying start with the Unplugged workshop which aimed to detach pupils from the idea that computing involves using a computer as a tool. Playground Computing offered half day sessions to schools across Wales and delivered a variety of exciting actives, tasks and games which enabled to teach conceptual computer science principles and plant the seed of computational thinking into the next generation, and inspire the computer scientists of the future. We drove the message that Computer Science is about technological thinking and understanding and we achieved this by exploring and investigating how and why computers work.
We used equipment found in most primary schools in the hope this would encourage teachers and educators to try and have a go at teaching computing for themselves.
The inspiring tasks and activities enthused and encouraged Primary school children to be turned on by computing and computer science and left them seeing the digital word in a completely different way.
“It helped me to understand computing in a different way and a better way”
Year 6 pupil, Glais Primary School
After experiencing a Playground Computing workshop many educators and teachers were left in awe as they saw a new side to computer science. They realised you don’t to buy expensive equipment, you don’t need top of the range pieces of technology to teach computer science. This left them asking “what next?”.
In April 2014 Playground Computing were able to offer a re-engagement robotics workshop. Using the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit, the primary pupil delivery officer was able to head back out to schools offering a hands on and practical workshop on a new topic of computer science, yet re-enforced previously gained knowledge from the Unplugged workshop. The robotics workshop has been well received by pupils and educators.
“The workshop was really well presented. The children where thoroughly engaged. The robots were fantastic!”
Teacher, Pen Y Fro Primary School
In September 2014 the third workshop was created which had the pupils from all different schools in South Wales investigating how computers work. We live in a world where technology surrounds us wherever we go, at home, in the office, in school, and even in shops. It is important we need to how how to use technology, but it is also important we know how computers work. In this workshop we look at the different types of hardware that makes up a computer and figure out how they connect and work.
The workshop was well received by teachers and pupils who found it fascinating to see the different pieces of hardware found inside a computer.
You can find more about our project within our Activity Portfolio.