How to organise a news section of your Computing lessons

I have suggested 5 reasons to have a Computing news section of your lessons. If you think that’s a good idea, here’s how to go about it.

Before that, though, I’d just like to clear up one thing. Some people would argue that to have a news section in every lesson would be undesirable, because it would take up quite a bit of time. In my experience, a 10 minute interactive session on what has come up in the news recently and our reactions to it is so productive that it represents an excellent investment of time. If you are unconvinced, though, there are a couple of variations on the theme.

If you are lucky enough to have two lessons of Computing a week, then give some of one of the lessons over to news. If, like many people, you have only one lesson a week, then have a news round-up every other week.

Give it a try anyway.

Here’s how to make it happen.

  • Appoint two news monitors every week to seed the discussion. I suggest two because if one is away then that messes everything up. They don’t have to work together. Indeed, I think you’re more like to get variety if you don’t.
  • Explain that you expect everyone to have an inkling of what the news item is about, as that will encourage them to keep up to date too!
  • Explain that “news” is not just tech news about the latest Apple gizmo. It can be an innocuous-sounding news item on the six-o’-clock news.
  • Encourage students to do more than just watch TV news. They can access a wide variety of newspapers from all over the world by going to the Newspaper Index.
  • Encourage students to read blogs too
  • You might even suggest a list of safe blogs for them to read (ie ones where they are unlikely to come across swear words).
  • Bring in newspapers or newspaper cuttings yourself, as well as your Computing magazines when you’ve finished with them. Start an educational technology library.

If you have very young pupils, then this idea can still work, albeit in a different way. It would mean you sourcing the news and having a 5 or 10 minute discussion with your class about it.

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