This August, we welcomed our youngest PYPians in Year 1, and in the ICT lab too. We started the year with a stand-alone computing unit to introduce students to the program. The unit title was “Control the computer” and this is how it went.
We started off by discussing the different types of electronics around us, students were focused on iPads and mobile phones and it was necessary to broaden their vision to cover other electronics that made our lives much easier…like washing machines per say! We talked about tablets, different kinds of computers, microwave ovens, projectors and calculators. Children were surprised to find out that most electronics have small hidden computers in them, like alarm clocks and sensory doors. We also discussed computer usage, be it with a regular computer, smartphone or ATM machine.
Then we moved to the ICT lab where students explored the room and the laptops around. They can now confidently name the 3 main-visible parts of a laptop: the screen, keyboard and mouse. To reinforce their learning, students colored laptops in a worksheet and did a matching exercise.
Later on, the word ‘control’ was introduced. We talked about human beings having brains to get them to make decisions, while computers, robots and machines don’t. How can we then tell a computer what to do? To start and to connect, to turn off? Students’ answers were fantastic; some said we push buttons, others said we use clicks and few mentioned the keyboard and mouse in particular.
Afterwards, it was time to put our computers to the test. Students were offered two Scratch programs on their desktops: the walking cat and the drawing bug. In the first, they had to use the mouse and click on the cat to make it walk and meow, in the latter, they had to use the keyboard and press the A button to start drawing lines and the space bar to make it stop. Students were thrilled!
To end the unit, we tackled the issue of safety and rules of good practice we wish to establish in the ICT lab and beyond, to protect ourselves and our equipment. Stay tuned for more!