One of the clearest outcomes from the Bit and vector mapping lesson is the fact that students who utilise large 'blocks' of information or who deal in whole contiguous objects rather than persevere at the level of the individual pixels always succeed in winning the relay.

Much can be made from this if feedback is asked for by the teacher regarding the protocols established by wining pairs beforehand. For this reason it is great to ask students to write down their agreed protocols briefly before commencing the game.

In Paint versus draw it is instructive to see how each student manages the more difficult sections of the design. The whole image has been carefully chosen to stretch abilities in both paint and draw design.

The Communication race is a great lesson! A lot of energy is generated (along with loads of fun!) while unbeknown to students a large number of metaphorical parallels are being laid out for later amplification in class discussion with the teacher. Page 31 of the book is an important one - don't be tempted to overlook it in the excitement!

The ASCII spreadsheet is a challenge for either senior students or juniors who want to be stretched. I hesitated with my classes over this for a while, but after trying it with careful explanation and lock-step progression I was pleased with the deep level of understanding of spreadsheets which developed as a result. Students saw that the spreadsheet could be far more than an accounting tool. They saw it as an 'engine' and as a predictive tool. They understood far more profoundly about ASCII, hexadecimal and binary codes too, as the exercise cannot really be done without the concepts being mastered.

Of all the ideas in the book it is the CD cover design which most impresses visitors to the computer lab. Once placed inside the plastic jewel cases (available cheaply) they look very impressive along the back cabinet.

One of the advantages of the Database design lesson idea is that it gets students thinking about each others work and evaluating their own beside their peers. Being given the burden of actually marking one another's designs is a useful discipline and has an inbuilt imperative which drives the quality of the students' own effort.

My personal favourite is Group company project. Among the aspects which work best are:

The Machine cycle drama and the Paper computer serve to bring to life the steps of the fetch-decode-execute cycle. An alternative to religiously performing the drama is to first read and understand it yourself and simply ad-lib the computer program as shown on page 79 by using paper strips with the lines of the program written on them, along with one with '3' and one with '4'. Have ten students stand around the room under their role names with three being the registers A, B and C (the teacher acts as control). The paper strips are then moved between them in the manner of the cycle by the teacher.

In Search and Sort Algorithms it is important to follow the lesson outlines to get the most out of this approach. The ideas are cumulative.

Software evaluation uses the Delphi decision making approach. This idea can have currency in other lessons on varying topics. It's a worthwhile technique to have up your sleeve when consensus is called for!

We have witnessed many changes in our lifetimes as teachers of technology. 2020 vision asks students to exercise their historical imagination and the results can be astonishing. Reality may not be far removed from the suggestions you hear however. Would you twenty years ago have predicated the power now sitting on the students' desktop ?

The Glossary game is an easy to plan and run comprehensive lesson. I once had a colleague named Blackett who had added his own to the light hearted laws we devise for human nature: Blackett's law: "No lesson can ever be pitched too low". As you act as audience during this game you will perhaps begin to agree with his premise. What you thought you had taught so clearly is revealed for what it is!

The Word processing worksheets serve as a useful introduction to the more elementary skills. It is included because there seems to be very little material for teachers other than dull typing exercises which add little interest to the necessary basics.

I hope you enjoy taking hold of these ideas and remaking them in your own image!

Creative Ideas for Teaching Computing Studies

FAX: 61 2 9419 7115 / e-mail: dgrover@ozemail.com.au / Order form


136 pages

18 topics