COVID-19 Computing at Home Projects


The following two computing at home projects – one for Key Stage One and one for Key Stage Two – have been created as computing competitions for children who are in schools that have a 123ICT support contract and are learning at home during the COVID-19 school closure period.

Key Stage One. Using an online story maker, or comic strip maker, create a story, or comic strip that promotes online safety. Full details and requirements of the project, including the technology to be used, are provided below.

Key Stage Two. Using Scratch, create a project that promotes online safety. It can be an animation, a game, a story, animated text, or whatever Scratch project the children would like to create that delivers an online safety message. Full details and requirements of the project, are provided below.


 

Project Guidelines

As online technology forms a significant part of learning at home, we thought that it would be good if online safety became the theme for our projects.

Entries will be accepted from children, in schools that have a 123ICT support contract and are learning at home, during the COVID-19 school closure period.

The projects do require the children to use particular computing applications; however the chosen technology is freely available online and should be successfully accessed on any computer, or current tablet device.

The winners of each of the projects will be awarded with Amazon vouchers and their schools will win a free 123ICT Pupil Workshop of their choice. We will also provide certificates for the students and schools awarded first, second and third places.

The projects can be completed and submitted at anytime during the COVID-19 learning at home period; however, the judging will not be undertaken until all schools are fully back to normal.

Judging of all entries  will be carried out by the 123ICT team, calling upon any additional expertise necessary to assist in that judgement.

The winning entries, along with all other submissions, will be published on our website blog:  https://123ict.co.uk/category/competitions/ and will also be notified to our schools during the Autumn Term.

Entries, or their online links, should be e-mailed, or shared, to competitions@123ict.co.uk. Each entrant must also include their name, the name of their school and the year group to which they belong. A reply e-mail will be sent to all those submitting entries to confirm receipt. If entrants do not receive a confirmation of receipt within two working days, they should check that we have actually received their submission, by sending us an email.


 

Key Stage One Project

The project for Key Stage One children is to use the online story maker My Story Book, or the comic strip maker Make Beliefs Comix, to create a story, or comic strip that promotes online safety.

My Story Book

My Story Book is a fairly easy to use online story making tool that is free and only needs parents to register using their email address and choose a username for the student (not the student’s own name) in order to get going. Once the author has written their story, they can publish it and receive a link which will allow them to share the story with others. If you wish, you also get the option of downloading the story as a high quality PDF but this costs $5.00. The story is saved in your library on the website, so the link to your story is all you need to send us your project.

Your story should deliver a clear online safety message, have a beginning, middle and end structure, have an inviting front cover, a rear cover – complete with blurb and have some good colourful illustrations.

The following video demonstrates how easy it is to use My Story Book to create a great illustrated story.

You can find an online safety story that I created and shared as an example for you to view, before you start your own story here: https://www.mystorybook.com/books/854887

Make Beliefs Comix

With Make Beliefs Comix, students can easily create their own comic strips and a variety of characters allows the freedom to write about many topics.

An advantage of this tool is that you do not have to create an account or log-in to use it.  However, in order to save it to your PC, generate a PDF, or email a link to the comic strip, you do have to provide an email address. There is also an option to save the comic strip online but parents would have to create a free account to do this.

 

A Brief Make Beliefs Comix Tutorial Video

You can also find a useful demonstration of the Make Beliefs Comix tool here: https://www.makebeliefscomix.com/create-comix-demo/

Although this tool could be said to be a little basic in some ways, compared to other online comic strip makers, it is freely available and does provide enough functionality and features to quite quickly create a reasonably respectable cartoon strip (see my example below):

Your comic strip should deliver a clear online safety message, have a beginning, middle and end structure and it should also feature some speech/ thought bubbles and colourful characters and props.


 

Key Stage Two Project

The project for Key Stage Two children involves them using Scratch –  a programming language that most children will be used to using during computer science lessons at school and is freely available online – to create a Scratch project that promotes online safety. It can be an animation, a game, a story, animated text, or whatever the children would like to create with the application that provides a clear online safety message.  As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically.

 

The following video will provide parents at home an idea of what Scratch is all about:

 

A tutorial on how to get started in Scratch can be found here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/editor/?tutorial=getStarted

In addition, there are lots of great tutorials and project examples on the Scratch website – each of the project examples allows the code to be viewed, adapted and saved in the adapted form by the user.

We have also provided Scratch lessons on our Computing Google classroom for children who are working from home. Students may find that this project is a natural follow-on from these lessons.

The Scratch projects submitted can be: an animation, a game, a story, animated text, or whatever the children would like to create using Scratch; however, it must deliver a clear online safety message.

Please note, whilst Scratch is freely available online for computers and other current devices, older tablets may have difficulty in accessing it online.


 

Further Information

Should you have any further questions regarding this COVID-19 computing at home project, please e-mail them to: competitions@123ict.co.uk,, or speak to your 123ICT Consultant who will be more than happy to assist you.

For full information regarding all of our computing competitions and the 123ICT Computing Champions League, please visit: https://123ict.co.uk/123ict-computing-competitions/

Good luck, we look forward to viewing your fantastic project entries!