Physical Computing Kits: Crumbles cross country!
29 August 2023
We are very excited to announce the launch of our refreshed Physical Computing Kits this Autumn term! Our kits are an amazing way to boost engagement within the classroom for both students and teachers alike. The kits provide students with a hands-on experience of computing using different resources, enabling them to enrich their learning in a fun and engaging way. For teachers, they can provide an excellent experience for their students, with additional support available from their local Computing Hub to deliver this experience.
What have we changed?
Since April 2023 we have spent some time improving the offer by developing and sourcing new resources to create a comprehensive kit which is cohesive across the network. The updated kit will better meet school demand, especially regarding micro:bits and Crumbles, which are the most popular aspects of the kits.
Obtaining feedback from Computing Hubs regarding their experience of loaning the kits previously raised the need for further micro:bit trays and Crumble trays to be added to the kits. Responding to this we have added trays of both! In addition to the current kit, we have also introduced a robotics tray, and Primary Computing Kits that already contained micro:bits, meaning they are fully functional without the need for schools to provide a micro:bit or needing to borrow a micro: bit tray. On top of this we have also included 2 trays of Vu+ Data Loggers per computing kit, as well as 4 bags of 6 BeeBots.
Implementation: A Week on the Road…
Successfully implementing the new kit, as well as completing a full review of the equipment already in the network, required a huge team effort. We completed this in 2 phases:
Phase 1 – The first phase of the implementation was to sort, collate and section all the new kit which had been purchased over the 4 months. In mid-July, the team spent a week going through each element of the kit. This involved unboxing, assembling, and labelling the new kits. By the end of the week, we had all the new kit sorted into individual Computing Hubs and regions, ready to be loaded into two vans to be taken to each Regional Coordinator location the following week.
Phase 2 – The Network Delivery team set off from the National STEM Learning Centre to deliver the new kit to each Regional Coordinator. At each stop, we conducted a full inventory of all the current kit. This ensured that all kit now in the network was fully stocked and any broken or missing kit was replaced. The team also benefited from developing on-the-ground knowledge from the Hubs. By the end of the week, we had visited all 6 Regional Coordinators and had counted 26,532 Croc Clips, 3162 Sparkle LED units in 133 individual Crumbles, and a total of 4080 micro:bits. This added up to 770.6 miles of driving in the vans!
Why are Physical Kits important?
The benefits of Physical Computing Kits go above and beyond the bounds of the classroom. Here is a snapshot of the 5 key advantages of introducing the kits into your teaching!
Hands-on learning: physical computing inspires more active engagement and can give a deeper understanding through practical, interactive projects with results that can be seen in the real world.
Cultivating creativity: physical computing encourages creativity and problem-solving as pupils design and build their own interactive devices.
Developing wider skills: by connecting computing to wider STEM subjects, pupils develop soft skills such as collaboration, design, and prototyping.
Ensuring pupils are future-ready: physical computing equips pupils with relevant skills for technology-driven careers.
Engaging students in computing: physical computing helps to engage students (particularly girls) in computing and computer science.
Find out more about the benefits of using Physical Computing Kits in the classroom here.
Micro:bit launch, coming this September...
We are also excited to be working together with micro:bit and the BBC to provide training for teachers on how to use micro:bits in their primary classrooms. With our launch of micro:bits in September, you will be able to enhance your pupils' learning of the computing curriculum and support their learning in other subject areas. Our network of Computing Hubs offer a short 'Introduction to micro:bit' course at various locations through England, and teachers in state-funded schools can access this CPD at no fee here.
Want to know more?
Our range of Physical Computing Kits are available to loan from our network of Computing Hubs. If you would like to find out more or would like to loan one of the kits, please scan the QR code below to contact your local Computing Hub. We can’t wait to hear your feedback!