The CODE Portal is currently a concept with early versions focusing on Primary Schools in the United Kingdom. See other blog posts introducing the project, prior to this being posted.

Possible Portal Pages

Reading this list of pages will help you to further understand what the CODE Portal will offer. Feel free to question me about any of them or make suggestions.

Home

The first thing we’ll probably see when visiting the CODE Portal are options to select who we are i.e. Teacher, Pupil, IT.

  • Pupils will then be asked to select their class and then their name. These steps will mimic login but without a password. The idea is to reduce administration and stress.
  • Teachers will be asked to select their name. There is no need for more security than that and it reduces administration.

I want the portal to look like a live website and pupils to feel like they are working on a site that comes with all the risks of a live site i.e. taking care what to type and share. So what I hope to add is content relating to the School use of the portal i.e. a list of the last 10 tasks complete, a list of the most recent users, and maybe even a little news of some sort. Such news content can be easily entered by Primary 7 pupils using HTML.

The Computational Thinker

The home page would offer an option to view a Computational Thinker page. That page would have a menu of its own and the menu would offer various lessons on computational thinking. The items displayed would change to suit the user.

Personal Progress

The Personal Progress page display list of completed tasks and modules.

Tools

A list of all the coding/programming tools required to complete modules and projects offered in the portal.

Changes (technical)

History of the portals key development changes i.e. new page added. It would indicate who made the changes, when and why.

Levels and KS

The national curriculum made clear in a table. We would possibly link related content (modules) to each level. I also imagine each level will be broken down into many steps and each step linked to a range of applicable content.

Report Form and Reports List

A form for reporting faults and giving feedback. This would only create a local file for the portals use. Contents of these files will be listed for review by staff. It will act as a local messaging system for collecting feedback and reporting issues.

Tasks and Modules By Language

Computer and web languages are part of a strange new world for a lot of people. Even now I find it strange to talk about teaching our children

I’ve spoken to Primary School pupils who are practicing programming and coding at home. I’ve spoken to parents who don’t think children are learning these things at their age.

An index of all computer and web languages. Select a language and it would offer further choices. Those choices could be levels or primaries or age groups. Languages could include HTML, CSS, Python, Ruby, PHP, JavaScript, Ajax, Shell, C# and more. At a Primary level they would be mostly introductory i.e. Hello World tasks. Even then the earlier Primary years will work with interfaces and tools that are more object oriented i.e. drag and drop programming like Hour of Code.

Tasks and Modules By Environment

This page would be an index of environments that a developer work within i.e. Mobile and Tablets (Windows 10, iOS and Android), Windows 10 desktop, Chrome Browser Plugin, HTML Website, PHP Website and more. This page will act as a first step to exploring the technical nature of each environment i.e. what languages they involve, what industry tools are available to create within them, and the sources for learning to create.

Pupils will often have a strong interest in specific environments or languages. This page will help them, within School, by offering introductory content prepared for their age group, with the aim of helping them to understand what they could do for the platform of interest i.e. create a free app for millions of Android users which get downloaded hundreds of times.

The goal is to encourage them and make their first moments of exploration positive. This may take a lot of work because it could require video or interactive content to truly amaze. It means the CODE Portal project has options to grow further if the project takes off.

Tasks and Modules By Level

Tasks and Modules would be displayed on a page, grouped by levels/stages. It would all be based on national curriculums for Scotland and England (potential separate packages for different countries and even councils).

Tasks and Modules By Type

CODE-Portal-Feature-Idea-Timed-Limit-Tests-and-QuizesIt’s easy to imagine children being keen on learning through specific methods and the CODE Portal will encourage the learner to feel unrestricted. This page would offer these groups…

  • Theory modules
  • Practical modules
  • Quiz Modules
  • Pupil Modules (created by pupils for pupils)
  • Video modules (pupil only watches a video)

Achievements Page

Initially, the Achievements page would track top level progress but there is a possibility of badges. This will require good success in the project due to the need for a lot of custom graphics. It might even require funding unless the community can contribute skills.

Other Schools Browser

This view would list other Schools who are sharing their Computer Science. We would display code activity by other Schools. help Schools understand where they sit nationally.

It is my interest to help Schools understand where they sit nationally. I also want learners to be aware of it and use it to drive them to compete.

Code Staff 

I think we need a page that offers a list of staff with strong skills in computer science or staff members who wish to volunteer as a main contact within the School for the CODE Portal.

We could even go as far as to add parents who are qualified and willing to offer advice when needed.

Accessibility

Special support needs in relation to programming will be detailed in the Accessibility page i.e. assistive technology, different programming tools or modules. It would be great to see modules designed with specific students in mind. This is where important ground could be covered.

With success, I would like to see modules designed with specific students in mind. This is where important ground could be covered in helping those who are falling behind in Computer Science. A key desire is for CODE Portal to allow the creation of custom tasks and modules. If I can make that happen, we can easily move to the next stage of guiding in the creation of modules for those with specific support requirements.

Inclusion

My research has gone as far as using the portal to communicate, ‘Inclusion’. It would be an area of the portal offering guidance on how to create modules that include everyone. Gender, ethnicity, and religion should always be considered. Each School may wish to modify or remove inclusion guidance information. I will consider a solution to make such changes easy when I understand the School system more.

Gender, ethnicity, and religion should always be considered when coming up with a new task idea. Fairness and equality are the goals. Content should not cause offence and should reduce upset where possible for the sake of a positive learning experience.

Each School may wish to modify or remove inclusion guidance information. I will consider a solution to make such changes easy when I understand the School system more.

Glossary

All the jargon will have to be explained in a Glossary which may start basic but I would like to see it become interactive.

Facts

Interesting facts about programming and the history of computer science will be included. This may span multiple pages and so the Facts beginning could have it’s own menu.

Portal Promise

A list of the principles behind Computer Science and programming will be displayed on the Portal Promise page. The Portal Promise page will explain that it is the responsibility of myself and their School to maintain the portal in a way that respects those principles.

Robots

All things robotic would begin here. Information and guidance would be basic for Primary Schools. We could consider a separate portal for Robots though. This is something I would easily offer if CODE Portal has enough success.

Gaming

Game development guidance and information. It would be basic for Primary Schools but a key goal could be to convert keen (and young) gamers into people who begin to think about how games are created. The earlier we do that, the sooner we get kids creating, then playing a little less. When they start taking an interest in creating, we have the opportunity to teach them core skills.

Code Club

The portal could support a code club of some sort. There is an official site to support this also which will be detailed on the actual “Code Club” page. I would not assume every code related club is being done through Code Club though.

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