Although the Whitgift Primary Project is temporarily paused, the programme’s commitment of enriching the educational experiences for local primary pupils continues. In November 2020, Whitgift lent out computing equipment to local Primary Schools, to help children develop their hands-on understanding of computing.
The equipment was loaned, along with simple instructions, and then cleaned and quarantined before re-issue to another school. Many schools were loaned a BBC Micro:bit, a handheld, fully programmable computer. Using a PC, the children could create their code online and download it to the Micro:bit. Teachers reported that many pupils were using a Micro:bit for the first time and using them improved their confidence in coding as well as showing others how to code.
Primary Project Coordinator, Charlotte Letchford explained, “Although it doesn’t compare to the unique experience of visiting Whitgift, it is fantastic that primary school children still have the opportunity to use our coding kits and resources. The step-by-step booklets provided make it possible for both teachers and pupils to confidently engage in STEM activities from their own classroom.”
Whitgift also loaned out SAM Labs Kits, suitable for PCs and tablets, where children can create code using the free software and connect to Bluetooth enabled blocks to complete activities such as programming a light sensor and coding motors for use in a remote-controlled car.
Comments from the children included, “I liked the different experience of using a new device and it was amazing to see my programme being played on it. I loved the heart design on the Micro:bit and I would love to use it again.” Another pupil commented, “It was very informative and fun. It was also very interesting.”
Foresters Primary School tweeted, ‘Beech class enjoyed using the BBC Micro:bits. We would like to thank @WhitgiftSchool1 for allowing us to borrow them through their Primary Project #Year6’.
If you are a primary school staff member and interested in borrowing the Micro:bit or SAM Labs kit to use with your classes, please get in touch with Primary Project Coordinator, Charlotte Letchford (firstname.lastname@example.org).