How do we deal with distraction in the classroom from external apps or websites, social media and email?

This is a hard question that really comes down to personal discipline.

There are some ways you can manage this though, and teaching students to manage it is critical.

Firstly, schedule time for these things into your daily routine. Maybe it’s over lunch, or at a particular time of the day.

I use my commute to do the catch up and then get back into work.

Schedule in social media, email and chats with friends. Of course, your time might not line up with theirs, but it gets the distraction away for a time.

There are also tools that will block services and sites on your computer – maybe these will help!

How can we describe computer coding to parents? How do we tell them the benefits?

Computer programming and coding is about teaching logic, procedure and attention to detail.

I usually discuss it in the context of making decisions and completing tasks. If I ask you to do something, how would you do it?

Write the procedure down; now convert that into simple instructions.

Can you use these to tell your friend to do the same procedure? Did it work? What needs to be changed?

Also start with something very visual. For instance we are making robotic cars in our school.

This is visual, obvious, seemingly complex but very simple.

How can we cater for genuinely IT gifted students and those who are non-native?

Significant research shows the benefits of ability grouping.

Putting IT gifted students with those needing more assistance could be detrimental, as they may take over and hinder the learning for the non-natives.

For the gifted, provide a range of IT-related tasks that might interest them beyond the task; integrate more graphic design, game development (Game Salad and Bloxels), online analysis of data and provide interesting tools they can play with.

This keeps them occupied while the others work through their tasks.

Students often ask how to get into IT and what areas there are?

What can I tell them? IT is a vast industry.

Getting starts with questioning, “do I like to work with, or on computers?”

If it’s either, think hardware or software.

If it’s neither, and you like to work with people and computers, you might be better on helpdesk, or in a support role.

Get an internship and see what interests you – and never be scared to change!