Preparing for the new Computing curriculum: what if #3

12/27/2013 12:00:00 AM

Preparing for the new curriculum doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might look. Here’s a suggestion that you may like to consider, although it won’t be appropriate if you teach very young children.

What if one piece of work, which you could set before September, was to find and evaluate resources to use in Computing?

Give the pupils some hands-on experience! Hand print project, by Woodleywonderworks http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/

On the basis that many hands make light work, having the pupils work in small groups on finding and evaluating resources to use in a computing scheme of work could be quite useful. It’s true that until they know a bit about the subject they will find this sort of exercise challenging – especially the evaluation part – but it still has a number of benefits:

7 benefits of this approach

  • An obvious benefit is to you and, if you have one, your team. Let’s say you have a class of 30, that gives you have 5 groups of six pupils. If even as many as 4 of those groups don’t discover anything they like (highly unlikely), that still leaves you with one set of resources you may otherwise not have discovered.
  • You get resources from a pupil’s-eye view. I have always found pupils to be the best final arbiter of whether a worksheet, say, works, especially when it comes to instructional material.
  • It gives the pupils valuable experience in undertaking real work against a real brief, with a “proper” deadline.
  • As part of their evaluation of the materials they find, they will need to consider not only the quality of the materials in themselves, but also their potential usefulness for the English curriculum and, crucially, copyright and usage issues.
  • It will be imperative to have each group of pupils do a business-like presentation, to convince you of the worth of their proposed materials rather than those of another group. You could set up the activity in such a way that the groups are in competition with each other, which again is a real-world situation.
  • If and when useful resources are found by the pupils, a further step could be to have the pupils train you and your colleagues in how to use them.
  • Finally, you could designate some time between now and the end of this school year to trialling the materials in lessons.

Planned properly, this exercise could place you in a much more secure and comfortable position on the first day of term in September.

cross-posted on www.ictineducation.org

Terry Freedman is an independent educational ICT consultant with over 35 years of experience in education. He publishes the ICT in Education website and the newsletter “Computers in Classrooms."

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