Netbook familiarisation activity
Take the school netbooks to your class - making sure that they are carried and used according to the rules set by the school.
The pupils work in mixed ability groups (with computers distributed evenly). Groups do not need to progress at the same speed: There will be faster groups and slower groups. However, the faster groups should be helping the slower groups. If a fast group has managed to do something, their task is to split up and help others to reach the same stage!
- Exploration of turning on a computer. Allow pupils to figure out how to turn them on (find the power button). The pupils should be discussing this in the groups. Encourage them, e.g. by making analogies with other electrical devices. If they are stuck, first show one group and then ask that group to show others. When they have managed to turn on the computers, they should observe what happens; the login screen comes up. Remember that faster groups should help slower groups.
- Exploration of the login screen. Ask groups: What do you need to do next? What do the parts of the netbook do? Can you give names to the parts? Give them plenty of time to discover and press things on the netbook (with the password screen up), without telling them. They can’t really break anything if they are careful. Let them help each other and discuss with each other what they are finding out.
- Logging in. When groups have figured out how to type text, tell one group about the username and password, and see whether they can enter them. When they have managed to do so, they should immediately help other groups to reach the same stage.
- username: classroom
- password: student
- Exploration of the desktop. They now need to apply their new knowledge: “click” on “username” classroom, and “enter” the “password” student. They now see the desktop. When a group is ready to move to the next stage, the teacher demonstrates how to open a web browser (to that group). Ask the students to do the same. Again, the students find out what happens. Don’t worry if they can’t open the web browser - let them try to open whatever applications they like. After a while, repeat the instructions about opening a web browser to the same group. Again, get the groups to help each other how to open the browser. They should immediately share anything they find out with the whole class.
This activity is an example of enquiry-based learning, which we will cover in much greater detail later in the OER4Schools programme.