Our Digital Kids, Digital Teens and eSkills series are effectively used in public and private schools in diverse countries such as the USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Japan. IB schools, international and bilingual schools using the graded English editions, state and public schools, language schools that offer extra practice in English on an attractive topic such as technology are among the various users of our material.
We have extensively researched the curriculum frameworks that international organizations have developed, the guidelines and requirements of Ministries of Education around the world and the real needs of students of each age group nowadays. Everything was put together, prioritized and split into one primary and one secondary series based on a spiral methodology. Age and grade in school were taken into consideration to make the material suitable for children and teenagers.
Due to the nature of the “technology” field, we are constantly revisiting our Computing and ICT syllabus and making big changes or small adjustments as needed.
Ours is the first spiral Computing and ICT curriculum in the world that takes care of all key 21st-century skills and real-life technology skills. In May 2014, both Digital Kids and Digital Teens series were thoroughly reviewed and awarded with the Seal of Alignment with the ISTE Standards for Students. The series were reviewed again in 2016 and 2018 and awarded the Seal of Alignment.
Our curriculum follows the latest international Computing and ICT teaching standards and takes into consideration the competencies valued in Computing and ICT around the world. The curriculum is mapped against national standards and requirements in several countries. The skills learned reflect the performance standards demanded in an international context and the material is suitable for international exam preparation. We have extensively researched the latest curriculum frameworks and exam specifications for Computing and ICT from various organisations.
While the current set of Computing and ICT curriculum standards is meant to be comprehensive, these standards are intended to be a living, dynamic document. A perpetual mechanism is in place to periodically review the structure and contents of these standards as the technology context changes and teaching/learning methodologies evolve.
Many ICT books on the market were “developed” copying instructions and details directly from user’s manuals or adult training material. In most cases, publishers “teach” Word in one semester and PowerPoint in the following. This is the method IT training companies use to train adults and prepare them for the workforce. No wonder most of us have learned how to use a word processor by ourselves. Most of these adults can hardly remember everything that they were fed after some weeks. Is this the way that we were taught mathematics or science in school?
In education, we use what is called a spiral curriculum which revisits basic ideas, building on them until the student has grasped the full formal concept. Key features of the spiral curriculum based on Jerome Bruner’s work are:
The benefits ascribed to the spiral curriculum are:
With our ICT curriculum, we use the spiral approach to ensure that the students fully acquire the knowledge that we have intended them to cover. For this reason, we also use the “Do you remember?” section at the beginning of each module in Digital Kids and eSkills for recycling and review of the material discussed previously.
Each student gets a student’s book plus an online account for 12 months with additional learning materials like video tutorials and digital documents for extra practice at home.
With the optional certification pack, the student gets online module tests and a BinaryAcademy certificate at the end of the school year for the successful completion of the Computing and ICT course.
All additional educational material for the student is provided online through the binary-academy.com platform for two main reasons.
First, we have to provide this material on different platforms and not just for PCs with Windows and the new devices the students are using like tablets and smartphones. The student’s online resources can be used on any device with a web browser on Windows, MacOSX, iOS, Android, Linux. Even a Smart TV can be used to access the student’s platform.
Moreover, we always have to keep the material updated as technology changes. We are not talking about Maths, History or English where changes in the teaching material occur very slowly. Technology is constantly changing and through an online platform we can keep the material closer to the actual computing environment students have at school and home.
For the same reasons, we also provide all teaching resources in digital online format and not on paper or a DVD. Plus, teachers can download and edit these files according to the needs of the specific school, e.g. customize the documents with the school logo or adapt the activity worksheets based on the hours of Computing and ICT in the school curriculum.
In Digital Kids and eSkills for primary schools, we start early in Grade 2 with LOGO, and then in Grade 6 we use Scratch, a friendly environment with a very simple “language” and a rich and engaging set of libraries. With a development environment that is very easy to master, it eases both kids and teenagers into the world of programming. Scratch is free to download or use online.
In the first part of programming in Digital Teens 3 for secondary schools, we use Python and Kodu as an introduction to algorithms and computational thinking.
In the second part of programming in Digital Teens 4, we use Microsoft Visual Basic Express. Students get an introduction to the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment and learn how to put these easy-to-use tools in Visual Basic Express to work right away — creating, compiling, testing, and delivering their first ready-to-use program. Microsoft Visual Basic Express is also free to download and use. We continue with HTML5 and PHP in Digital Teens 5.
We are currently developing a series of supplementary material specifically for coding and robotics. Starting in Grade 1 for both topics we introduce very young students gradually to the concepts of computational thinking with “unplugged” and technology-based activities. We use different tools based on the age group and the school budget for robotics hardware. Everything is in the form of online ebooks, and the teachers receive the additional teaching resources that will help them in explaining everything in an easy and understandable way. These supplements together with the material in the student’s book cover all grades.
The idea behind the introduction to programming modules both in primary and secondary levels is not to create a developer at the age of 12 or 15. We want to help students develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills, to understand how computational thinking can help them solve problems, to practice collaboration and communication when working on group activities and projects and to inspire some of them that may want to become developers through university or college studies.
Via programming, students can also understand in a much better way how computers work, why they “misbehave” and what they can do to make them work in a better and more efficient way.
The Computing and ICT subject in schools is not like history or math. It is a lab subject, and this means that the students are required to work in the computer lab with actual computers and their software tools. This is where they will practice their ICT skills. Some lessons are more “theoretical”, but most of the curriculum that we cover is based on the actual platforms and tools that the students need to learn.
The Student’s Book includes a small activity at the end of each Task (hands on) and a larger group activity, usually cross-curricular, at the end of each module (group work/project). Of course, these are not enough as they cover a percentage of what the students need to work with in order to fully practice their Computing and ICT skills.
There is much more practice material: the Activity Worksheets that the teacher can find in the Online Teaching Resources for each task. You can download everything with your teacher’s access code. If you have not adopted our series yet, ask for the teaching resources sampler to evaluate a wide variety of worksheets and other resources.
The students learn to gather and use information appropriately and ethically and use social tools to communicate responsibly and safely. Digital Kids and eSkills offer such material starting from the 1st grade in primary school and as the students grow up and their age permits more complexity, we discuss these topics in more detail.
From the ISTE Standards for Students that Digital Kids, Digital Teens, eSkills, Digital World and Binary ICT Skills follow, students:
Our Computing and ICT series are suitable for any kind of school, religious or not. The material is clean of any specific social or cultural issues. It is suitable for any kind of student at any age and any type of school.
At the same time, we teach topics that have to do with the ethical use of technology.
For each Task (Lesson):
For every Module (Unit):
For the end of Course (Level):