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Case study: primary school staff member

Nicola Schofield, Computer Technician at a London primary school, talks about how to prepare software and website access for your computing classes.

This course is designed to assist you in transitioning your students from block-based to text-based programming languages, and to provide you with materials, ideas, and activities that will make the process as easy and seamless as possible.

One of the challenges you may face is accessing the software you need. Nicola Schofield is a computer technician working at a primary school in London, and she shares her advice on how to do this.

The only information needed to unblock the relevant sites is the web address, but the problem is bigger than that — it is knowing who has the authority to unblock them. I run my own filtering, that is I do the unblocking of sites in school myself. In other schools, it can be a school employee (head, computing lead), the network tech, or an external support company. In some authorities, it’s all done at LA level.

I haven’t had a problem with any of the Scratch, Trinket, or Python sites being blocked. If you provide a list of all sites accessed by the projects, including any redirects to login sites, external sites, etc., well in advance and stress the necessity for organising and testing beforehand, then that will be helpful for you.

The other thing that’s always worth checking is which browser the platform works best on. For example, Internet Explorer is not supported by Scratch 3.0 so you will be unable to create any Scratch programs using this browser.

If you find out who in your education setting has the authority to unblock sites, and emphasise the educational value of the sites, they should be unblocked!

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Scratch to Python: Moving from Block- to Text-based Programming

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