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« 7 Ways to make IT real: #5 Be realistic | Main | What new teachers need to know -- Personal ICT Skills »

7 Ways to make IT real: #4 Use external organisations

When you’re attempting to give your pupils a flavour of the “real world”, it’s important to remember two things:

  • first, you don’t have to do it all yourself
  • second, it is better that you don’t do it all yourself, because other organisations and people more than likely have specialist knowledge that you do not.

Yes!! A real-world project at last! Photo (c) James Vaughn

External organisations can provide useful resources in a number of ways:

  • visiting speakers
  • real-life scenarios
  • educational resources
  • unusual documentation

To find out what external organisations have to offer, you can do several things:

  • Contact local large companies. Large companies often have an education department or, at least, a PR department which produces materials designed for use by young people. If the company is local as well, they may be willing to go the extra mile in order to do their bit for the local community.
  • Contact national companies. Even in these austere times, many companies have an educational department. Even if all one can offer you is a poster or two, that could be useful too.
  • When searching for organisations, don’t confine yourself to technology companies. Most organisations use technology these days. Consider charities, museums, libraries, utility companies and so on. Just as an example, some mobile phone companies produce useful guides about e-safety. Different organisations produce all sorts of things, so there’s no harm in asking.
  • Delve into companies’ websites. Sometimes I have found all sorts of useful stuff which, while in the public domain, was not produced with the intention of being used in an educational context. For example, that has included accounts information, product information, and, especially, employee and customer newsletters.

Some organisations you might like to explore in the first instance include:

As always, none of the above is intended to be definitive or exhaustive, but simply to suggest some ideas which I hope you will find useful.

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