Primary teachers facing fresh computing demands have a friend in BETT Awards finalist 'Espresso Coding', writes Aled Williams
The mere thought of having to teach coding to a five-year-old could bring some teachers out in a cold sweat. But this idoesn't have to be the case as Espresso Education has created a new service to empower even the most technophobic teacher to ensure that all of their children, from foundation phase to key stage 2 can learn the wonders of coding in a fun and meaningful way.

Espresso Coding is clearly set out with a comprehensive scheme of work linked to Curriculum 2014. There are simple and easy instructions for all, tutorial videos and teacher-friendly lesson plans. As the children take on each aspect of a coding concept they are shown how to build on their previous understanding and learning to help develop their knowledge.

With the onset of the new computing curriculum in England and with the minister of education in Wales outlining the importance of digital literacy, Espresso Coding allays any concerns about the ability to teach this area of the curriculum as foundation phase pupils will be taught to:

  • understand what algorithms are and how they are implemented as programs on digital devices;
  • execute programs by following a sequence of instructions;
  • write and test simple programs and use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs.

Key stage 2 pupils will also be able to learn how to:

  • design and write programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems;
  • solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts;
  • use sequence, selection and repetition in programs;
  • work with variables and various forms of input and output;
  • generate appropriate inputs and predicted outputs to test programs;
  • use logical reasoning to explain how a simple algorithm works and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs.

Children can create and share apps with friends, parents and the wider world

With research showing that parental involvement in children’s learning is a key factor in improving children’s academic attainment and achievements, as well as their overall behaviour and attendance, Espresso Coding helps to facilitate this process in a fun and purposeful way. All children are able to create and share apps with friends, parents and the wider world. This ability to share their work with family members only helps to strengthen the home-school links within a local community. 

These apps, when shared and played with people, also allow teachers and parents to see the real value of gamification in education. Espresso Coding harnesses the energy, motivation and potential of the apps game-play and direct it towards learning, giving children the tools to become lifelong learners.

As the e-learning co-ordinator in a school, I have been enabled by Espresso Coding to roll out and implement a service for all our learners to access computer coding in an exciting and vibrant way. Children and parents are now sharing their own learning experiences and have created apps that have been uploaded on to class Hwb pages (on the Welsh national learning network) for everyone to enjoy.

'I can’t wait to tell my gran'

When working on Espresso Coding in class with a younger pupil from another year group, one of my Year 5 digital leaders turned to his friend and commented “this is incredible, we are learning while we are having fun. I can’t wait to tell my gran!”

Espresso Coding is the easiest and most enjoyable way I have found to teach coding across a variety of curriculum areas to all pupils of all ages! It can be accessed across all platforms, with both children and adults able to share their learning.

The service is currently free and this opportunity to sign up and embed these resources in your school should not be missed by anyone. To sign up, simply follow this link and your learners will be soon be enjoying cracking the code to transformational learning.

Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose 5
Ease of use              5
Features                   4
Quality                       4
Value for money      5 (free for limited period)

Espresso Coding 
An online service to teach pupils from Year 1 to 6 to code and make and share their own apps, and is a finalist for the BETT Awards 2014. Free until October 31, 2014, and includes: scheme of work for Curriculum 2014; 70+ lessons and tablet-friendly activities; website for sharing apps; introduction to coding with Javascript; video guides; training (bookable from £350). A small proportion of materials are not yet in place but all will be there by the end of December and for visitors to the BETT 2014 educational technology show. 
Espresso Coding

Aled Williams is a teacher, e-learning co-ordinator and senior leader at Barry Island Primary School in South Wales

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