ICT & Computing in Education

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Stop Press! The machines have taken over!

Kevin Hodgson has written a make-believe article about technology taking over from humans. The theme is a well-known one in science fiction circles, of course, but what I especially like about Kevin’s article is that he has written in the form of a newspaper article. To do so he has used a fake headline generator, for which he provides a link in the story.

"We're doomed!" (With apologies to Edvard Munch)Here’s his story: Writing Prompt: Technology and Appliances in Revolt

Other newspaper headline generators you might like to have your pupils try out are:

Newspaper headline


Your good news

And the one Kevin mentions, the Newspaper Clipping Generator.

Each has its own style so it would be worth getting the kids to try all of them out and compare the results.

I think newspaper headline generators are a good means of using some very simple, ready-made ICT, to get the kids’ creative juices flowing.

An interesting side issue is how the web – or, more accurately, search engine optimisation (SEO) – has changed the nature of headlines. Newspaper headlines, ie in print, can be witty, in a way which is not easy to achieve if SEO is your prime goal. For example, a headline in the UK’s Daily Telegraph some years ago read:

“49% of people (that’s nearly half) don’t understand statistics”

An article with that sort of headline might not be picked up by people specifically looking for articles about statistics on the web. Indeed, this article will probably not be picked up by anyone looking for articles on ICT, because there is nothing about ICT in the headline, ie title.

So the issue is: does creativity have to be sacrificed on the altar of web traffic generation?

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(c) Terry Freedman