Free 'Switched on Computing units' for the hour that lasts a week
Switched on ComputingPublisher Rising Stars is giving primary schools free access to the programming units from its Switched on Computing scheme to support the Hour of Code week of action (March 3-9).

The scheme, which was launched at the BETT 2014 educational technology event, was developed in association with Havering Support Improvement Services, Computing At School (CAS) and Naace. The free materials are being released to help teachers and pupils to start coding using free software.

The theory behind the Hour of Code national initiative is that every student can learn how to code in just one hour. But the initiative lasts for a week – just in case!

The free Rising Stars materials are “We are programmers”, from Switched on Computing, and “We are game designers” from Switched on Computing: Take your first easy steps with Microsoft. They help teachers work with pupils to make animations and games using free software such as Scratch and Kodu.

The materials include step-by-step planning guidance, CD-Rom resources and on-screen software demos (the full Switched on Computing scheme costs around £800 – Microsoft's version is free).

Andrea Carr, managing director, Rising Stars commented, “There are a number of free resources available to schools, but what is missing is a programme of study that walks primary teachers through the process of teaching coding along with how to effectively integrate these resources. Our Switched on Computing resource is used by schools across the country to support the delivery of the new primary computing curriculum; by offering the appropriate coding modules to schools free of charge we are excited to be able to also support this year’s Hour of Code initiative.”

Schools wanting to receive a free pack have to register by visiting http://www.switchedoncomputing.co.uk/uk-hour-of-code/