The Digital Technologies curriculum aims to get young learners more interested, invested, and educated in technology-related subjects – including coding and programming. However, finding the right resources to effectively teach complicated coding concepts to students of all ages can often be difficult, making lesson planning a challenging task.
Fortunately, there are many resources online that can make Digital Technologies teachers’ lives much easier by providing lesson ideas, activities, and assessment exercises that can be adapted for use in your lesson plans. This guide will cover some of the best places to find coding lesson plan resources for Digital Technologies teachers.
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What coding subjects are in the Digital Technologies curriculum?
One of the factors that make planning lessons for Digital Technologies difficult is the fact that the curriculum itself is fairly open-ended. Rather than highlighting highly-specific topics and subjects that must be taught, the Digital Technologies curriculum instead gives general guidance on how teachers should structure their lessons to help students reach a fuller understanding of technology, including how it works and how it interacts with the wider world.
The Digital Technologies curriculum does, however, highlight two important strands: Knowledge & Understanding, and Processes & Production. In essence, these strands mean that through Digital Technologies lessons students should learn both the theory behind digital technologies and how to work with them in practice.
Coding, therefore, offers a powerful means of combining these two strands as it allows a fusion of theory and practice. Understanding the various rules, sequences, and concepts that underpin coding can lead to a much greater overall understanding of coding once students begin to put these theories into practice with their own coding projects.
Because of this, coding lesson plans for Digital Technologies classes should be sure to give equal weight to both theoretical and practical learning in order to help students reach a more effective understanding of how coding works.
What lesson plan resources are there for Digital Technologies teachers?
The open-ended nature of the Digital Technologies curriculum has its benefits, but it also means that making lesson plans and a course structure that effectively teaches learners all they need to know about coding and wider technologies can become slightly overwhelming. Finding resources to help structure and plan your lessons while providing engaging, novel ways to educate students about coding is therefore vital to successful teaching.
Fortunately, there are plenty of websites and organisations that provide a wide range of resources you can use to plan your lessons. The following are some of the best places to look for inspiration, guidance, and resources for teaching students about coding.
The Digital Technologies Hub
The Digital Technologies Hub is one of the best places to start when looking for lesson planning resources. The Hub works in conjunction with Education Services Australia and a wide range of experts, teachers, academics, professional associations, and industry leaders to create a huge library of resources for Digital Technologies teachers to use in their lessons.
The Hub provides guidance for teachers surrounding the Digital Technologies curriculum to help enhance their understanding of the curriculum’s objectives and what they mean in practice for lesson planning. It also offers a massive library of free resources to use in lessons, helping teachers to build engaging, varied lesson plans.
In terms of coding lesson plan resources, the Digital Technologies Hub provides lesson ideas, lesson plans, assessment resources, coding projects, workshops, and links to recommended external websites that offer coding resources of their own. This comprehensive library of teaching materials gives Digital Technologies teachers a huge amount of support for teaching coding to classes of all ages.
The Zenva Schools initiative is designed to support teachers as they provide education to high school students in the realms of coding. This includes courses for teaching the basics of coding to students that can easily be implemented into lesson plans, as well as project-based courses to help students turn their experience into practical, industry-oriented projects.
Zenva Schools is designed for effective learning as well. Many of its courses are designed around building fun, real-world projects, and the particular focus on linking coding skills to game development is likely to be highly appealing to many young learners. By centring fun and gamification, Zenva Schools’ courses can make teaching coding much more engaging.
The courses on the platform include a variety of teaching tools, including: on-demand video lessons, source code and project files, downloadable written materials, live in-browser coding functionality, and interactive quizzes. These resources are all highly useful tools for building effective, varied lesson plans built around practical experience in coding. In addition, for teachers, the platform comes with several reporting tools so they can ensure milestones for each student are being met.
All in all, Zenva Schools offers a massive range of great resources for Digital Technologies teachers to integrate into their coding lesson plans.
If you need a bit more for the classroom or teacher professional development resources, you can also check out Zenva Academy. This site offers a lot of the same great content, but with a far more in-depth focus suited for adult learners and a wider scope of coding topics discussed.
Computer Science Unplugged
While coding is a fundamentally computer-centric subject, it doesn’t necessarily have to be taught on a computer. In some cases, using computers isn’t actually practical or effective, such as when trying to foster group learning or when access to computers is limited.
This is especially the case for younger learners who may need to familiarise themselves with basic coding concepts in other ways before beginning to work on actual coding projects on a computer.
Enter Computer Science Unplugged – a collection of free teaching materials and resources designed to help teach coding and other technology-focused subjects through games, puzzles, and other activities rather than using computers. The site is mostly geared towards primary-aged learners, helping them to understand the core concepts of computer science and technology through fun, practical exercises.
The library of resources available on Computer Science Unplugged is ideal for primary teachers looking to give pupils a head start on understanding the ideas behind coding and Digital Technologies before moving onto actual programming. By easing young learners into the ideas behind coding, they’re more likely to engage with real coding projects at later stages.
Overall, Computer Science Unplugged offers a wide range of varied, engaging, and inventive approaches to teaching coding, all of which can be easily implemented into Digital Technologies lesson plans.
Code.org is a non-profit organisation dedicated to widening access to computer science and technology education in schools. While it’s based on the US curriculum, it provides a variety of lesson plans and resources that can easily be adapted for use in Digital Technologies lesson plans.
As well as lesson plans, videos, and print materials, Code.org also provides a range of interactive exercises through its Hour of Code initiative. As the name suggests, Hour of Code offers a library of roughly one-hour-long tutorials in a variety of coding subjects for learners of various ages.
Hour of Code tutorials include guides to building simple games, writing basic computer programs, and more, and are a great option for practical exercises to use in the classroom. These tutorials can easily form the backbone of lesson plans themselves if necessary, and the other resources that Code.org provides can help to flesh out other lesson plans to create an engaging coding curriculum for your Digital Technologies lessons.
Another site that offers a variety of free lesson plans, teaching materials, and activities is Education.com. The resources on this site are all geared towards primary-aged learners, helping them to understand basic coding concepts and put them into practice.
As with Code.org, Education.com’s resources are based on the US curriculum, but the core concepts and activities are easily transferable to your own lesson plans to fulfil Digital Technologies learning objectives and help build your pupils’ understanding of coding.
Another helpful website to find coding lesson plan resources for Digital Technologies classes is TeachStarter. TeachStarter began as an email newsletter providing teachers with free lesson resources in 2012 before expanding into a website hosting a huge catalogue of teaching materials, lesson plans, and more.
TeachStarter allows you to search their library of Digital Technologies and coding resources by age group, resource type, and even individual states to find the right materials for your needs. The resources on offer include worksheets, games, posters, activities, and more. You can also search resources for curriculums in other countries to find even more resources you can adapt to the Digital Technologies curriculum.
Unlike most other sites on this list, however, TeachStarter does require a subscription to access its catalogue of teaching materials – either as an individual teacher, or through a whole-school subscription. Despite this, it’s a great resource for finding teaching materials and lesson ideas you can use for your coding lesson plans.
Twinkl is another online teaching material library that can prove immensely helpful to Digital Technologies teachers. As well as premium resources that require a subscription, Twinkl also offers a large number of free materials that anybody can download and use.
One useful feature on Twinkl is the ability to personalise any resources you access using the Twinkl Create function. This allows you to easily adapt activities and other materials to reflect the requirements of your lesson plans and learning objectives or to make content more suitable for different age groups.
As well as accessing content specific to the Australian Digital Technologies curriculum, you can also search for content from other countries to further widen your selection of potential lesson plan resources.
Grok Learning is a learning platform set up to help people of all ages to learn to code. Set up by a team of educators and software engineers, Grok Learning partners with teachers, schools, and universities to implement coding initiatives to get the next generation invested in coding and digital technology.
As well as providing a library of both free and paid teaching materials, Grok hosts a variety of competitions designed to get schools involved in coding. The biggest of these is the National Computer Science School Challenge which runs each August.
While most of Grok’s resources are centred on Python, the platform also uses Blockly, a visual programming tool that’s ideal for younger learners who are just beginning to learn to code. All in all, Grok Learning is a great place to find resources for your Digital Technologies coding lesson plans, plus competitions that can foster greater investment and engagement in coding among your classes.
Hackr.io is yet another online library of learning resources for coding. Rather than focusing on their own resources, Hackr.io crowdsources and aggregates courses from a range of different providers in order to present a comprehensive list of courses and teaching materials.
Hackr.io allows you to filter materials based on programming language, software, subjects, and format, making it easy to find exactly the right resources you need for your lesson plans. As with other sites, Hackr.io includes both free and paid options – although the search function also lets you filter out paid materials if you’re looking for free resources only.
While the Digital Technologies curriculum can be hard to navigate due to its open-ended structure, this also gives teachers plenty of freedom to teach the subject in their own way. This is helped by the vast amount of resources available online to help craft engaging and effective lesson plans, especially when it comes to teaching coding.
Whether you decide to pick and choose from specific teaching materials and lesson ideas or lead your students on one of the many coding courses on offer from the above platforms, hopefully this list has given you plenty of useful tools for creating powerful coding lesson plans to help turn your Digital Technologies class into the coding geniuses of the future.
- Australian Curriculum – Digital Technologies
- Digital Technologies Hub
- Grok Academy
- Zenva for Schools
- Khan Academy
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