TechRepublic is a website for IT professionals, but it’s got great content for hobbyists and geeks of all ages. Teachers and students can find some real gold in the thousands of articles, tutorials, forums, blogs, photo collections, and links.
This week’s special feature – Dinosaur Sightings: Computers and software from the 1970s and 80s might bring back some memories (or maybe some of these are still the mainstays of your computer lab!)
In 1977, I built my first computer from a kit – the SWTPC 6800. I think I paid around $500 for it and had to learn how to solder. It ran BASIC, but not very well, so mostly the programming was in machine language. The screen display was very new at the time, and was simply a section of memory. If you put a 1 in the right place, a dot would light up on the screen. It all sounds so primitive now!
Besides a trip down memory lane, TechRepublic has lots of resources that can keep students interested whether your students are involved in tech support at the school site, interested in pursuing a career in a technical field, helping teachers, or just learning to use computers. Much of the content on the site is accessible to high school students, and in some cases, even younger. Keeping students engaged no matter what their level of technology experience is can be time-consuming for a teacher, but with a site like this, there’s something for everyone.
A great feature of the site is being able to personalize it with your own links and selections of interest. A teacher could create a class page with selected resources, and have students add items that enhance the lessons, such as resume tips for technical jobs, or how to teach non-technical computer users to use Excel. Ask students to modify these generic resources so that they work for the school’s specific network and infrastructure. Giving students the responsibility to find good resources and make them even better creates ownership and allows students to become experts, in addition to reinforcing research and documentation skills.