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Section Title Primary information Description and Notes Suggested resources
Lesson Length The expected lesson length will be approximately one hour

Some variation possible.

Assessment Level 1

Students The lesson is suitable for KS3 and KS4 students Since this is a new specification, the lesson is suitable for Year 7 to 9 students and differentiated by outcome  
Overall Focus The previous lesson introduced the range of alternative software applications available.  Students now need to be guided in choosing the right ones for their project. Students will need a range of applications.  One to collect the data, one to analyse and collate, and one to present the findings.  Some of these might be the same application.

Lesson Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Key words application, file format, portability, open source, proprietary, standard These words need to be reinforced throughout the series of lessons  

select suitable applications to support my work

Evidence here will be student's own work and assessor observations  
Key Questions Some questions to get learners thinking about the topics Students need to be introduced to a variety of applications and be able to assess their use and potential for solving problems What is data?  What are file formats?  Why are some file formats considered "open" and others "closed"?  What advantages might there be to open systems?
Learning Objectives
  • To investigate and understand different file formats
  • To describe and explain, with examples how different file formats are designed for specific purposes
  • To comment on the suitability of file formats

Students need to investigate various file formats and assess to themselves whether or not they are fit for purpose.  They will research towards using an application for a project in the next block and the type of files available will be important for portability and collaboration

If you are using the Learning Machine learning system, students can add their comments and material to this site as evidence of their growing understanding.  The site, if used consistently, will show progression via charts of activity and outcomes.
Teaching and Learning Elements
  • Overview of the range of file formats available in different fields
  • Students can break into groups and work on exploring the different file formats
  • Class discussion and examples of their findings
  • Group or individual work on developing their own work

Each application works with their own particular file format.  Open source systems tend to work with standards which are more open and therefore can be shared between applications.  There is no complete "standard", but there is enough momentum now for some formats to become open standards, such as XML.

Use some of the student's ideas and examples to flesh out a solid understanding before progressing

Question students about how and why they did what they did.  Check for understanding.

Students should be made aware of alternatives to the familiar software applications they use.  Most of these applications are of a high quality and free, which means students can use them at home without license issues and can then be introduced to more inclusive ways of working.

Lesson Structure Possible structure an existing one.
  1. introduce a range of open source software file formats
  2. take a detailed look at file formats and compare results
  3. group work to work on some of their own ideas
  4. discuss what they have learned and what they can apply
  5. volunteers to share their work and explain how they came to their opinions
  6. highlight next week's focus and issue homework

File formats are an important element of computing as they are the key to portability and collaboration.  If I can't share my files with someone I am working with, without them spending large sums of money on having the same software application, then I am restricted in what I can do.  By using open file standards and open source software, I can create work and share it with anyone who can access the same application for free.

altto has a wide range of alternatives in all sorts of areas.

Student need to look at various file formats and test them and evaluate them for portability.  The UK government is taking the lead and as digital citizens, students can be close behind them.

There is a lot of scope for cross curricular work here as the project is for gathering data.  Students can work in any subject area which lends itself to this.

Homework Get students to work on a document and move it between open and closed systems to see if it works, for example, open a .docx file in LibreOffice and vice versa. Students can vary their homework depending on their level of understanding Get students to document their experience on their portfolio system for assessment


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