PSP pioneer produces practical learning kits for primary schools

A creative, practical approach to teaching computing in primary schools is the brainchild of a Plymouth Science Park based firm seeking to make coding fun for children.

ToodleBit encourages children to construct kits to make a range of products from electrical circuit-based games, traffic light systems through to small-scale remote-control buggies.

“The initial idea came out of a desire to get pupils coding using physical devices, but on a limited budget, and in a way that could also improve the confidence of other teachers when they provide tuition on computing,” says Matthew Bevan, Founder of ToodleBit.

Matthew has drawn upon his background and expertise as a teacher to create a project-based learning programme which brings the computing curriculum ‘to life’ in the classroom.

“The kits provide learning opportunities for pupils to work both in small groups and individually with extension activities that allows the more able to stretch themselves independently from the teacher,” explains Matthew.

“It develops their problem-solving skills in the real world whilst providing a strong understanding of how computers work.”

ToodleBit provides teachers with lesson plans plus an on-line classroom which gives both children and teachers access to animated videos that explain key concepts as well as support and extension activities.

Kits include the popular buggy, which can be programmed to drive remotely and uses sensors to stop when it comes close to objects.

His company is currently on its second round of trials with around 90 children in three separate schools ahead of its formal launch at the “Bett Education and Technology Show” which is being held in London at the start of next year (23 to 26 January).

“Children love using the kit as it’s something physical for them to hold and code whilst teachers comment on the confidence it gives them to teach this specific area of computing. The feedback has been great.”

Matthew says basing his business at Plymouth Science Park was a crucial part of his plan and that he was drawn to the site by its reputation for scientific and engineering excellence.

“Plymouth Science Park compliments the ethos of ToodleBit as it provides the expertise which matches the product.”

“The on-site team has assisted in quickly establishing a strong base with positive networking opportunities. There is also good parking and a fantastic bistro with stunning views of the surrounding area.”