Me and my classroom

By Bruce Ahern. Posted

Parts of computers can make a simple and effective display

Bruce Ahern shares how he has made his computing classroom displays inspiring and engaging for students

At my school, students have their own Chromebooks, so we don’t have a set of class desktop computers. As a result, it was important to me to give the room a real computing feel. In this article, I share some of the ways I’ve done this and hope that it will give you some inspiration for your own classroom.

One easy way to make the space feel like a computing classroom was to have computer parts displayed, along with an open computer, so the students could see all the parts together. Even simply opening up and showing the inside of a keyboard fascinates many of my students. The addition of LED lights was a cheap and easy way to add the wow factor and make the display stand out and look modern. 

Many students are instinctively drawn to computing, but are often unsure what a computing career might look like. I have tried to create a display that shows a variety of roles in inspirational companies, to help students imagine their different career options. I also have a poster about teenagers who have done various incredible things with computing.

Computing is one of the subjects that students often want to pursue in their own time. Unfortunately, many don’t know where to go to develop their skills. My classroom has an ‘Upgrade myself’ area, which is a bookshelf with printed guides they can select and take home. I have included micro:bits with all the elements they need for particular projects.

Seeing the past is a good way to help students understand modern computing. It’s also something that frequently interests them. In my classroom, I have a section displaying a few old floppy disks, including an 8-inch floppy disk, as well as a Walkman, a cassette, an old games console, and a typewriter. These catch students’ attention and are good at illustrating how fast technology is changing. Students particularly like having a go on the old typewriter. 

Finally, I believe the classroom should change as the year goes on. I rotate the computing careers posters and I have a new quote about computer science displayed each half term. The current one is from Stephen Hawking: “Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you just want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.” Code.org also has many great posters that can be used.

We’d love to see how you bring your computing classroom to life! Email contact@helloworld.cc if you’d like to be featured.  


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