7 Ways to make IT real: 6 Use what you have

Make use of what you already have.

What you have, in fact, is your pupils and other members of staff. Even if you are in a small school, or a large school but with no team, you may still be able to give your pupils the experience of addressing real problems through computing and ICT.

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7 Ways to make IT real

I've always been a great advocate of what I call "authentic" learning, ie giving pupils a reason to actually do something. (I think that stems from my time at school, when I was forced to do mathematical exercises ad nauseum with no perceptible point to them!)

A couple of years ago I wrote a short series of articles called "7 ways to make IT real". As it happens, there were 8 articles in that series, thereby proving that all those years of my being made to do maths exercises were a complete waste of time....

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7 Reasons to use project-based learning in computing

road2julian003I’ve long been an advocate of project-based learning, or PBL. Done properly, it can be much richer in terms of learning opportunities, and more fun. I believe it is entirely applicable to the teaching of the new Computing Programme of Study, for the following reasons.
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7 Ways to make IT real: #3 Solve real problems

Problem solving processAs I said in 7 ways to make IT real: #0 Make IT unreal, setting the kids a problem like “Imagine you’re going to open a video shop” is not going to cut it these days. You either need to set problems that are outlandish and obviously unreal, or set them ones which are all too real.

I’d suggest that the best way of doing so is to get the pupils themselves to identify problems. That’s the approach taken by

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7 Ways to make IT real: #1 Get local

mboneIt’s easy to take your local area for granted, but try to see it with new eyes. Try to see it as if you were a tourist visiting the area for the first time. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover just how much is noteworthy from a computing or ICT point of view. Whether you want your pupils to simply notice the use of technology, or wish to get them to figure out how things work or even to create their own digital assets, you won’t be disappointed.
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7 ways to make IT real: #0 Make IT unreal

KL-43 Off-line/On-line Digital Encryption (Adaptation of language translator technology) late 70s-80sOne way to make ICT interesting is to make sure it is relevant to young people’s lives, and has a genuine connection to the “real world”. Indeed, these are required of Ofsted in order to achieve an “Outstanding” grade in ICT. I have referred to this as “authentic learning”. So, in the next few articles I will be suggesting ways of approaching this.
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ICT and small businesses: the brief

Knight-Crane Convergence LabIt is quite understandable that when people talk of the contribution that the business world can make to ICT lessons, they tend to think of big business. And why wouldn’t they? Big companies often have the money to finance the production of nice-looking resources, or even to provide people to spend a day in school running a simulation of some kind. However, my experience of talking to students in lessons is that small businesses, such as mine, have much to offer too. I thought I'd explore some ways in which that can happen, in an occasional series.

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Authentic Learning and ICT

To the casual listener, stride piano, boogie woogie piano and rock-n-roll piano all sound pretty much the same. Yet Fats Waller, perhaps the most famous stride pianist, detested boogie woogie. And nobody could deny the hint of menace in Long John Baldry’s voice as he sings his song:

Don’t try to lay no boogie woogie on the king of rock-n-roll!

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