Teaching Computer Science - Day 20: Sitting on the shelf.
Over the last couple of lessons, I have been covering with my students the topic of Software. For this unit, students are expected to know about operating systems, utility programs and application software. In this final lesson on software, I explored custom written, off the shelf, open source and proprietary software.
Lesson 1: Theory (Types of Software)
Suggested time: 50 mins
I started by showing students a video by Stephen Fry in which he talks about free software.
I explained to students that the software in the previous clip is referred to as open source software and that this is just one of several ways in which we can source software. I explained that some software, such as open source, is free and that some software can be changed to suit the users needs. I also explained that if a piece of software doesn’t already exist, we can pay to have it custom built specifically for our needs.
I gave students a list of links (see below) and asked them to create some revision notes on the following different types of software:
I also explained that, in their notes, I wanted the students to compare custom built to off the shelf software and open source vs. proprietary software.
Once students had compiled their notes, I asked them to attempt the following exam question:
Q.1. Karen wants to use handheld computers to take customers’ orders in her restaurant. She is thinking of using custom written, open source software.
1. State what is meant by custom written software. (1 mark)
2. State two reasons why Karen may decide to use custom written software. (2 marks)
3. Discuss the implications of creating open source software for the restaurant. (6 marks) *
* The quality of written communication will be assessed in your answer to this question.
I displayed the sample exam question on the board and picked students at random to go through the possible answers. To ensure that everyone was engaged, I used the Pose, Pause, Pounce and Bounce questioning strategy:
Pose a question to the whole class e.g. Explain what is meant by custom written software.
Pause to give students time to digest the question and think of their answer. If the students are engaged, try holding the pause for a little while longer to build up the tension.
Pounce: Quickly, select a student to answer the question. i.e. Insist the answer to the question comes from student A and possibly student B, directly and fast! Obviously, plan in your mind who you are going to direct the questions to before hand.
Bounce the question or student's response on to another student (immediately after the pounce). e.g. Ask them if they agree with the students previous answer and to explain why.
For more information about the Pose, Pause, Pounce and Bounce technique, visit: @teachertoolkit - http://teachertoolkit.me/2013/01/04/pppb-version2/
Stephen Fry talks about free software - In this video, Stephen Fry talks about open source software
What is Open Source? - This introductory video explains what open source software actually is, why it matters, and throws in a bit of history as well.
Types of Software PowerPoint - Click on Software, followed by Lesson 3 – Types of Software
Teach-ICT (Types of Software)
Lesson 2: Test
Suggested time: 50 mins
I issued each student with a test covering the topics in unit 2.1.3 (Software) of the OCR GCSE specification. The test is based on sample assessment material and past exam papers released by OCR. (Click on link below)
I asked students to swap papers and went through the answers. I also explained to students the model answers using the marking criteria (See below)
In this week’s lesson, I continued the theme on software and introduced students to the next topic - Utility programs.
Lesson 1 & 2: Theory (Utility software)
Suggested time: 100 mins
This week, I decided to take on a different approach. Instead of the usual teacher led lesson, I thought I would encourage my students to de a bit of self-study. To facilitate this, I used the resources freely available on the Cambridge GCSE Computing website.
I directed the students to the Cambridge Computing website http://www.cambridgegcsecomputing.org/software-main#top and instructed them to watch the videos on the three different types of utility software and to complete the quiz at the end of each section. After completing all three sections, I asked students to make notes on each of the three types of utility software.
Once students had finished making their notes on each of the three types of utility software, I directed them to Moovly.com and asked them to watch the introductory video. If you haven’t use Moovly before, Moovly is a powerful web 2.0 tool for creating animated presentations. Moovly is free to use and enables you to create stunning animated videos that you can share online.
After watching the introductory video, I instructed the students to create an animated presentation, for the class revision wiki, on the three types of utility software. I also explained that they would be presenting their Moovly to the rest of the class at the end of the lesson. (See example below)
Once everyone had finished and checked their Moovly presentations for errors etc., I asked each group to present one of their topics to the rest of the class. I used a random name selector (see blog post) to choose each group and topic at random so that we covered each topic at least once.
I instructed students to upload their Moovly presentations to their revision wikis.
Utility Software PowerPoint - http://www.pwnict.co.uk/computingGCSE/computingResources.html (Click on Software, followed by Lesson 2 – Utility Software)
OCR - http://www.cambridgegcsecomputing.org/software-main#top
Teach-ICT - http://www.teach-ict.com/gcse_computing/ocr/213_software/utilities/miniweb/index.htm
Moovly User Guide - http://www.moovly.com/uploads/faq/moovly_user_guide.pdf
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