Each topic within the specification has a workbook for students to complete. These are intended to be used with our videos or lesson theory PowerPoints, but can be used independently of them too providing the teacher covers the necessary theory the activities require.
Each workbook has four sections:
The activities have been written so that they can be completed by students independently. As each page is a PowerPoint slide, we use the notes section of the slide to explain to students what to do in simple numbered points. PowerPoint might sound like a strange choice but surprisingly we have found it’s the best desktop publisher for students! Objects on one slide don’t interfere with another. There is no pagination to worry about. Alignment tools work very well, and students can easily add text to boxes. PowerPoint is the application that gives you the least hassle when editing! As a bonus, it is easy to project individual slides to students too, both from the blank workbook, model answers and a student’s response. It is incredibly easy with this format for students to present their work to others.
Schools that use Apple, Google classroom or Microsoft OneNote can adapt the resources for their chosen platform. PowerPoint is an easy to export format. Be aware that if you are exporting to formats such as PDF you will remove the ability to change the size of the boxes on each slide so they may require further adaptation.
We ensure there is a good variety of activities within each workbook rather than just simple lists of questions. There is a fair bit of completing empty boxes to adequately capture the theory, but this is mixed in with many other activities. An example is drawing a star network and illustrating the coverage of wireless access points with coloured spheres, or a hyperlinked multimedia guide to the internal components of a computer etc. All activities are suitable for the level of study and only focus on what is relevant for the exam they are sitting.
If students watch our videos, capturing the notes within them in an exercise book, this will provide them with most of the answers to activities within the workbook. This means that even the weakest students can complete the work, but with opportunities for the most able too. Students can start working on their workbook immediately without any teaching from the front of the class. This enables the teacher to spend more time on Q&A, working with individuals and small groups because the rest of the class are independent. They are also not waiting for the next activity because they have all the work for the whole unit in front of them. Students that are excluded from lessons can continue with the work too.
The workbooks are presented in such a way that when they are complete, they are a perfect revision guide. With our own learners we were fed up of getting to the end of a course and having random printed work in folders, random files on home drives and nothing cohesive to revise from. That problem is solved. Each workbook becomes a knowledge organiser because it has been created to capture the core knowledge succinctly.
We provide model answers for every page of every workbook. You can easily show the class what, “good” looks like. If students don’t do very well with the work, or are absent, you can also give them these model workbooks. If time is pressed consider creating a partially completed workbook by replacing some slides in a workbook from the model answers.
You will not find “all must”, “most should”, “some might”, or tasks differentiated by target grades in our resources. This approach is now considered poor practice. Lessons should scaffold up enabling all students to succeed in all tasks, not differentiate down. This enables a modern, “high performance learning” approach. Our workbooks capture what ALL students need to know for examinations. Therefore, we do not differentiate these activities by task. We make them suitable for everyone. Differentiate in the discussions you have with students about the work they are producing.
The workbook activities are intended to allow all students to engage with the topic. They are deliberately not challenging. It is more important that all students can succeed in all tasks, and that by the end of a topic they have a useful knowledge organiser in their completed workbook. Challenge in our lessons comes from the programming component where tasks are fully differentiated and pitched at a level just above GCSE.
Each workbook has a set of minimum expectations and can be marked against breadth, depth and understanding. With boxes for teachers to record a comment and students to record a response. The workbooks are fully editable so you can adapt this to your school context. The final page provides a handy revision checklist for students.