Not every school can teach a discreet Computing lesson, especially not on a regular basis. So we need to rely on cross-curricular learning to boost ICT standards in schools.
Here are 101 ideas for incorporating Computing into a lesson.
You can turn almost any science project into an animation using apps such as StopMotionStudio. Children in my school won a competition for creating an animation showing the water cycle.
Use a BeeBot in a lesson to teach children how to give directions correctly. Simply programme the BeeBot around a map (or use the app) and have children predict and record the correct directions they’ll need to give.
3. Guided Reading
There are dozens of free reading apps which you can download onto an iPad. This will give the children access to more books than you have in your school library, keep them engaged and, in most cases, challenge their reading comprehension skills.
When teaching graphs, rather than asking the children to draw them by hand allow them to use Microsoft Excel. All they need to do is enter the data and then click “insert, graph” and they can choose from a variety of graphs to use.
Ask the children to design a Tweet as a historical figure. They’ll have to think about the personality of the historical figure and the events which made them famous when considering what to Tweet. You can even allow them to send the Tweet using your schools Twitter account.
You can set up a school blog for free at www.primaryblogger.co.uk. This will allow you to share photographs and good pieces of work with parents and governors worldwide. People can also comment on your blog (which you can moderate) so you’re giving the children an audience and purpose when writing.
Using YouTube will allow you to access videos about almost any single topic. You can bring stories to life, listen to speeches or watch educational videos. This is ideal for any subject.
8. Green Screen
Did you know a green screen costs about £20?
Hardly a lot of money for such a great tool.
A lot of the apps are free as well, and the paid apps are only a couple of pound also. You can use the Green Screen when writing a report about almost any topic. It’s a great effect to have a child read a report out whilst standing in front of a pyramid or a Roman temple.
9. Space Journey 3D
Space Journey 3D is an app which will allow the children to explore the universe. It creates a 3D model of the universe which they can move through using the iPad. They can also select certain planets and moons and learn more information about them.
When teaching music, children can often be hindered by their lack of experience with an instrument. However, GarageBand is an app which will allow them to create music using a range of instruments. They can overlap instruments and edit different aspects such as the tempo. This is very easy to use and children will enjoy experimenting with different instruments that they’ve never used before.
11. Facebook Character Descriptions
If you Google “Facebook template profile” you’ll be able given tons of blank Facebook profiles. Print one of them off and ask the children to use this template to create a Facebook profile for a fictional character. This will be very engaging for the children and will challenge them to think a lot about their character – much more exciting than the usual Mind Map.
12. QR Codes
13. Bug Club
Give children access to Bug Club during a guided reading session. This website will test their comprehension skills with different types of questions that they must answer whilst they’re progressing through the book.
14. Record a playscript
Allow the children to perform a playscript that they’ve wrote and record it using an iPad. This will give them a purpose to write and the recording can be easily made using PuppetPals.
When teaching maths, you can introduce ICT by allowing children to access the website www.topmarks.co.uk. The website is chocked full of maths activities and is completely free.
16. Creative Writing Live Feeds
There are lots of live feeds on the internet that you can use to inspire your children to write in more detail. Simply type “live space feed” into YouTube and you’ll be given access to live videos showing Earth from the NASA space station – really inspiring for the children. You can also use this for other settings.
17. Record a Podcast
When the children are studying a particular topic, ask them to write a short script telling people what they’ve learnt. Then simply record this using an iPad or an EasiSpeak and publish the audio file on the schools website and SoundCloud as a podcast.
18. Science – Anatomy 4D
One of the best augmented reality apps is Anatamony 4D. It will allow the children to explore a 3D model of the human body and they can focus on different systems whilst doing so. It’s very powerful and very engaging, especially when the body pops up out of the iPad.
When the children are asked to write and present a news report, you can incorporate ICT into the lesson simply by recording them presenting their work. Use the iPad camera to film them and you could even use iMovie to add special effects.
You can have Google come to your school and run a virtual reality day for free. All you need to do is Google “Google Expeditions” and sign up for the visit. I organised it for my school and it was fantastic.
21. Formal Writing
Whenever we ask children to practice formal writing, we ask them to write a letter. Turn this into an e-mail instead and allow them to type it up – complete with a recipient and subject.
22. Design an Advert
We analyse adverts all the time in English, but you can take this one step further by allowing children to design their own advert. They can use templates on Microsoft Publisher or even use software like Paint or ActivInspire to create fantastic adverts which will deepen their understanding of what an advert must include.
I’m sure we’ve all used this in a lesson at some point, and that’s because it’s a great resource. Let the children create a PowerPoint about the topic they’re studying and present it to the class.
When teaching MFL, Duolingo is a great app to use because it will allow children to learn a language in different ways. There are questions designed to make children learn a language (reading, writing, listening etc) and they can only progress when they’ve lapsed certain sections. You can access dozens of languages and the app is entirely free.
25. Microsoft Exel
When teaching children about databases, use Microsoft Excel. It’s specifically designed to house data and you can use very basic formulas to work out several problems. You could give the children a shopping budget and ask them to enter their items and price into Excel. Then use a formula (easy to use, Google a list) and they’ll get a total.
26. Phonics Play
If you want to teach Phonics, I suggest you use Phonics Play. It’s a website full of interactive games across all phases and, whilst there is a subscription service, a lot of the activities are still free to use.
Alternatively, if your school likes to use iPads, you can download the Twinkl Phonics app to access a lot of different phonics activities.
When teaching habitats, you can allow the children to watch footage of different habitats and the animals which live there on the internet. However, I taught a great habitats lesson using a BeeBot. I simply told the children it was a hedgehog and (after putting it on a map) told them they had to code it to it’s habitat – it was a very engaging lesson.
Allow the children to draw pictures using Paint. It’s free, easy to use and is on almost every computer and laptop.
You can use the Plickers app to create simple quizzes which the children can answer by holding a QR code up. It’s very easy and quick to use and you can gather a lot of data extremely quickly. Read more about Plickers and how to use it here.
31. Create a Quiz
Allow the children to use Plickers to create their own mini-quiz which they can then give to the class.
Ask the children to create a mini animation or game using Scratch. This could be about a topic you’ve recently covered in class. Use MIT Scratch Cards to help with the coding side of things.
33. Newspaper Reports
Use Microsoft Publisher to add text boxes to a page in order to create a Newspaper report template which the children can then fill in using the computer. This can be a great effect and can allow them to create authentic looking newspaper and magazine articles.
34. Charts – Kidspiration
Kidspiration is a very child-friendly app which will allow the children to create visually stunning charts and graphs. If they were creating a flow chart of branching database, children can insert arrows and images to complete their work. When drawing the food chain for example, children can easily create a visual flow chart by dragging-and-dropping images of animals into place on the chart.
35. Google Earth
Use Google Earth to enhance any Geography lesson. Children can type in a postcode, city or landmark and they’ll be taken to that place on the map. However, the map is actually a satellite image of the Earth which can be filled with 3D buildings and roads, allowing them to really see any location in the world.
36. Google Translate
When teaching an EAL child or teaching MFL, children can type words or sentences into Google Translate and it’ll translate them into any language you desire.
I considor Monarchs to be one of the best history apps there is. It’s full of information about each English Monarch (complete with humorous drawings) and will provide the children with a lot to write about as well as a timeline of their reigns.
When writing a report or designing a poster, ask the children to focus their work around e-Safety. This will allow you to easily cover a key part of the computing curriculum.
39. Data Logging
A huge area of the computing curriculum is dedicated to data logging which you can cover in science by recording data about the weather or the temperature etc.
40. Dyslexia Quest
When teaching spelling, English, reading or phonics to a child with Dyslexia, give them access to the Dyslexia Quest app to help them make progress.
Virtual Learning Environments, such as Purple Mash, contain hundreds of cross-curricular activities which the children can complete online, including; leaflets, animations, book creation and music creation. Whilst you have to pay an annual fee, it’s worth it to have access to these easy-to-understand activities which cover the whole curriculum.
42. Art – Editing a Photograph
Download a photograph from the internet or from a camera and allow the children to edit the colours using Paint or ActivInspire. Alternatively, allow the children to take a photograph using an effects-based app (Photobooth, Morfo etc) and print them off to edit.
43. Social and Emotional
Apps such as Zen Garden are great for helping children with anger issues to relax as they designed to be calming when they’re being used.
44. Phonics Apps
As I’ve mentioned, Twinkl and Phonics Play are both great resources, but there are also hundreds of fantastic apps that can be used when teaching Phonics.
45. Letter Formation Apps
Along with phonics apps, there are hundreds of apps (including Little Writer – The Tracing App For Kids) which children can use to practice lesson formation by drawing a letter with their finger (following a template). This is very engaging and helps the children to develop their fine motor skills.
46. Book Creator
Book Creator is a popular writing app which is used by schools worldwide. The children can design a front cover for their book and then add text and pictures to each page with ease. It’s possible for them to create fantastic e-books using this app.
A good way to help children develop their MFL skills is to contact a school from the country your learning about and set up a Skype session with them. The children will be able to see children their own age speaking a different language and – if possible – can learn more about that country by communicating with them.
48. Google Maps
You can help children learn directions by allowing them to move through the streets using Google Maps. They can also receive directions from Point A to B using this software.
49. Shakespeare in Bits
Teaching Shakespeare can be quite tedious for some children but you can make it a lot easier by using the app Shakespeare in Bits. The app animates each character and breaks the script down into easy-to-understand segments (or bits). The children can read the play or have it read to them and each character has their own description to bring them to life and explain their role in the play.
Use Kahoot to create and give the children different learning games and quizzes. It’s a very easy-to-use website and the children will enjoy playing the games – they can even make their own quizzes to give to each other.
51. Spelling Apps
There are hundreds of spelling apps which can be used to help children learn to spell. Simply type “spellings” into the app store and download the app which you find most interesting.
52. Accelerated Reader
The Accelerated Reader software is designed to help children make progress through repeatedly testing them. Children read a book and type it into the system and then take a quiz on the book – after which they’re given a score. They can also take a STAR Reading Test to discover their reading age and which level of books they should be reading. Whilst this is a paid service, it’s becoming more popular in schools and I would recommend it.
53. Thinking Blocks
Singapore Maths (or Asian Maths) is becoming popular in UK schools. You can help the children understand this method by using the Thinking Blocks apps. They use the bar method to help children solve word problems across different mathematical concepts, including; addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, ratio and fractions.
54. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality apps are great when teaching children about a subject or inspiring writing. Children scan a trigger (similar to a QR Code) whichmakes a 3D image pop up on their iPad – it’s a great effect and really makes it seem like the subject is in the room with them. Dinosaurs Everywhere, Spacecraft 3D and Anatomy 4D are good examples of augmented reality.
55. Drawing Nets
Children find it difficult to accurately draw nets, allow them to use Paint or ActivInspire to create nets by drawing or inserting accurate lines.
56. EAL Apps
Using EAL apps can help children access the curriculum even if they don’t speak English. A list of ideas to help EAL children can be found here.
The most popular use of a computer in the classroom is still and effective one, allowing the children to use the internet to research a topic.
58. YouTube – Sounds
When writing a setting description, I like to put an audio track on YouTube. Children are good at writing about what they’d see but sometimes struggle writing what they’d hear. If we’re writing about a rainforest, I put an audio track on which is the sounds of the rainforest for the children to take inspiration form throughout the lesson.
59. Coding Degrees
Use a BeeBot to teach children about degrees. You can make the children turn the BeeBot 90, 180,270 or 360 degrees. This is a very visual representation of the parts of a full turn.
60. Pokemon Go Classification
When teaching classification, you can use the incredibly popular Pokemon Go to teach classification as all the Pokemon can be grouped in different ways. This is a great way to engage children and develop their understanding of the topic. More ideas for using Pokemon Go can be found here.
61. D/T Projects
You can ask children to code a variety of different games as part of a D/T project. However, I also like to use the app 3D Space Builder when teaching D/T because children can build their own spaceship using different 3D shapes – before destroying it whenever they’re finished!
I’ve taught coding by asking the children to help me make a jam sandwich, you can apply this to any type of baking or cooking.
63. X Tables
Just like spelling, there are hundreds of apps designed to help children with their X tables by repeatedly asking them questions and challenging them to beat their scores.
Children have to be able to storyboard when making an animation and asking them to create a storyboard for an animation (especially if you use Publisher or Purple Mash) is covering a part of the Computing curriculum even without a computer.
Using ActivInspire or Paint, children can insert shapes to create a floor plan. Give them the dimensions of a room and a list of objects and their specifications (allocating a shape to each) and ask them to design a floor plan using the software.
Whilst not every school has ActivInspire, a lot of schools do. However, they’re not using it properly if they’re not using the resource browser. Look at the resource browser tomorrow (it’s the clapperboard with a musical note attached) and begin using the huge number of resources within.
We always allow children to type their work up on Microsoft Word, but you can ask them to include a hyperlink to any useful websites. This helps to cover a part of the Computing curriculum and enhances fact-based reports.
68. Too Noisy
Aside from being a great behaviour management tool, you can also use Too Noisy as a data logger. Ask the children to become louder and quieter and record where the pointed lands whenever they change volume.
You can access a lot of Time activities or apps by searching in Google and the app store respectively. However, I like to simply use the clock app (default app) on the iPad to let children learn about time. There are lots of world clocks and children can solve problems around the time differences around the world.
70. Coding Shapes
You can code simple shapes on Scratch very easily but children can learn a lot whilst doing so. If they’re making a square, they’ll have to make sure each side is the same size and that they’re always turning 90 degrees – having to tell the computer to do this will help reinforce this knowledge whilst also developing their coding skills.
Code a Square:
Move 100 Steps
Turn 90 Degrees
71. Google Classroom
By signing your class up for Google Classroom, you’ll be able to allocate them work and they can collaborate on different documents and tasks together.
72. Virtual Tour
Ask the children to write a non-chronological report about the school and then allow them to record a video tour of the school – talking about each place as they go.
Have you ever played Angry Birds? The app where you’ve got to drive birds into buildings full of green pigs to knock the structures down. It’s a strange concept but is very popular and you really have to think about the angle at which you’re asking the birds to fly.
74. Setting Descriptions
Allow the children to view videos online and images to inspire them to write more detailed setting descriptions. Accessing videos will allow them to actually experience the setting rather than just see it.
BrainPop is a great science app which covers a lot of different scientific concepts and teaches children about them using colourful videos. Children can also answer questions around each video to deepen their understanding.
76. Nessy Phonics
Nessy is a great Virtual Learning Environment which uses engaging interactive games to help children develop their phonics and spelling skills.It is a paid service but it’s worth the money.
77. Art Technique
Paint and ActivInspire are great ways to teach art, but using free apps such as Sketches can help children produce more detailed artwork. Using these apps they can edit the strength and type of pencil or pen they use, alternate colour and edit their shading, as well as add different patterns to their work.
78. Roman Numerals Converter
Teaching Roman Numerals can be quite difficult because the children generally have no prior knowledge of it and, as it’s a fairly new addition to the curriculum, neither do we! However, using the Romans Numeral Converter app makes it easy for children to learn their Roman Numerals as they can convert numbers into Roman Numerals whenever they like.
79. Replace Equipment
As with most subjects, there are a ton of free apps for Maths that you can use in the classroom. Using apps like Number Pieces, allows you to use Dienes equipment and other maths apparatus without the mess all over the table.
80. Epic Citadel
Epic Citadel allows the children to freely explore a medieval city. This is great to use when asking the children to write a setting description because they can describe a bit and then walk further, describe that section and then move on and repeat.
81. BBC Bitesize
The Bitesize website is full of information and activities associated with subjects across the curriculum.
Hopefully the ideas on this list will allow you to bring Computing into your classroom. A lot of the apps mentioned (as well as many more) can be viewed at this database – where you’ll find an app for every subject. As technology evolves and becomes an even more integral part of everyday life, it’s important that we help incorporate it into our learning.