ICT activities

I created read-only starter documents in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher (depending on the lesson task) and saved them to the school network. These were writing frames or structures that could then be easily saved to the students' own areas for them to complete. For example, when we studied the Elizabethan religious settlement, I gave my Year 8 class an essay frame in Word. They had to decide how fair the settlement was. Guidance was given using different-coloured text with sentence and paragraph starters in blue, further advice in red. Where students felt confident they could just delete the text and write in their own, but help was available when needed. All pupils added their own content and used the wordprocessor to redraft their work as they progressed. This enabled all students to develop their essay writing technique and put their history knowledge to effective use.

When we studied the failure of the Spanish Armada I used Excel. Students were given a table with three coloured columns entitled: "Elizabeth's tactics", "Luck", and "Poor Planning" and seven sources relating to the Armada were added underneath. The task was to copy and paste each reason into the correct column - and then provide supporting evidence for their decision. This enabled students to examine the different interpretations for why the Armada failed.

When they came to complete an assessment later in the term I was delighted to see how all were able to demonstrate this understanding - I feel the ICT exercise was fundamental in illustrating the point.

The final part of the project was to create the web page. I put my Year 8s into groups and made each responsible for an aspect of Elizabeth I's reign. They had two lessons to produce information with a supported conclusion. Designing a web page is supposed to be difficult, but using Word the students easily typed in their information, inserted pictures and added in hyperlinks. Although Professional web page designers may find Word clumsy for web design (as it produces unnecessary code) for use in school it is perfect. By this stage all pupils were confident in using Word and to create a web page was simple - they just selected "Save As HTML".

I do wish they hadn't discovered how to create backgrounds though - some of the gaudy colours are enough to give you a headache. They obviously that think it is fantastic.


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