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Teaching Computing Systems and Networks to 5- to 11-year-olds

CO042 Online course

Improve your subject knowledge and develop your teaching to help young children understand the computing systems and networks around them.

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Computer networks Computer systems Key stage 1 Key stage 2 Teach primary computing certificate
Free online course Approximately 8 hours of self-study

Whether stand-alone, connected in a local network or plugged into the internet, computers are central to many everyday tasks and routines. It's important for young people to develop their knowledge of how these devices work, so that they can appreciate the impacts that computers and networks have on the world around them.

On this course you'll explore how you can build up young learners' knowledge in an age-appropriate manner. You'll think about how you can to help your learners recognise information technology and how computers process an input to give an output. You'll learn about the key pieces of technology that allow us to connect computers into networks, and the advantages that networks can bring. You'll also consider how you can make the concept of a computer network relatable to young children. You'll investigate computer systems consisting of multiple devices working together. Finally, you will consider both the advantages of challenges that being able to work together collaboratively across a network brings.

Who is it for?

Primary teachers who are new to teaching computer systems and networks, or who would like to develop their understanding. Primary subject leaders.

Topics covered

  • Technology, information technology and computers
  • What is a network?
  • The internet
  • Communication and collaboration online
  • Information technology Systems

How long is this course?

This is approximately 8 hours of self-directed learning.

How will you learn?

This course is not facilitated. You can learn independently or with colleagues to directly address your individual needs.


By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the input, process, output (IPO) model of computing.
  • Evaluate the impacts of computing systems and networks on everyday life.
  • Model a computer network with your class.
  • Summarise ways in which people can communicate and collaborate over the internet.
  • Introduce your pupils to IT systems that span multiple networks.

This course is part of Teach primary computing

Teach primary computing

Our nationally recognised qualification will support you to demonstrate your commitment to developing your own practice and to computing as a school subject.

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This course is from the National Centre for Computing Education and is delivered by STEM Learning.

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