Helen Yewlett welcomes a KS4 whiteboard package that contains hours of fun and learning
ICT KS4 Boardworks, pound;499 for a whole-school licence, tel: 08703 50 55 60 www.theboardworks.co.uk
"Miss, these games are so fun. You're doing it for yourself, Miss. If you were talking and we didn't want to listen, we could switch off."
Boardworks' ICT KS4 is a package designed for interactive whiteboards and we have been using it this term for GCSE revision for our Year 11 pupils.
There are six folders: hardware, networks, software, ICT in society, ICT at work, and ICT and the law. Each contains several PowerPoint presentations, which have Flash graphics embedded in them and are interactive.
I have just worked (or was it played?) my way through the presentation on retailing, as I wanted to sharpen my teaching approach to Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS).
Imagine being shown items beside the till, being scanned and then the details appearing on the LCD display screen, and finally a total being calculated for you.
Yes, that's exactly what happens - the item lifts up and moves across the scanner, and the details appear on the screen, just as it would in the supermarket. When you decide to pay using your credit card, the process of dialling for authorisation is shown.
I really love these packages. I love the interactive games. I love the way the advantages and disadvantages of EFTPOS come chugging along the supermarket conveyor belt and we can pick them up and put them in the appropriate trolley.
Beside me, a young lady has pressed the speed camera and now knows about Automatic Number Plate Recognition. Judging by the look of glee on her face, we have a recruit for a traffic warden or a budding police officer on our hands.
She definitely enjoyed the learning process. She found the game in the ICT and law enforcement presentation.
Any discerning teacher will soon realise there are still parts of the syllabus not covered by ICT KS4, but what is covered is well done.
Is this package the perfect answer to delivering ICT theory? I had thought it would be enough for the pupils to work through the presentations on their own, and for some of the brighter ones that proved to be true.
However, for many, the temptation to find other entertainment was still too great. So make sure you have a lesson plan and a specific output required from each presentation if you are going to let them use the package on their own.
Nevertheless, I think this package is excellent. It's a superb resource for using on the whiteboard and Boardworks need to be congratulated on their product. This year, we purchased it in time for the dreaded revision lessons and it certainly helped liven up the lessons. Next year, we will be incorporating the package into our theory lessons. Whiteboards? Yes, we use them and we use them well, thanks to software like ICT KS4.