Resource Material for the IT PGCE:
making a course newspaper

On this page you will find the information for the 'Exchanging and sharing information' session in which you construct a newspaper.

Learning objectives About this session Products of the session
At the Institute    
Task Timetable Links to other sessions
In the classroom    
Misconceptions Classroom examples Teaching point
Other Resources    
DfEE Schemes of work Software links and tutorials Books/Papers


Learning objectives

The learning objectives for this session are that by the end of it you should:

  1. have sufficient knowledge and understanding of one piece of DTP software to be able to use it in your teaching;
  2. know that more than one piece of software can be used to enhance the same area of IT capability - and have some knowledge of the factors that would influence the choice of which to use;
  3. be able to plan groupwork so that all the pupils are actively involved.

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About this session

In this session we look at the way in which the production of a classroom (or in our case course) newspaper can be used to develop pupils' IT capability. The session will also give you chance to compare the advantages and disadvantages of using two pieces of software (Word and Publisher) for the same task. In helping you to think through the relative merits of different software packages in enhancing this aspect of pupils' IT capability, the session will contribute to your understanding of the use of ICT in IT.

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Products of the session

This is a link to the index to the newspapers and this is a link to the index of the lesson plans.

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At the Institute

The task

The task in this session is to create a four-page newspaper in either Word or Publisher. The audience is the IT PGCE Partnership - teachers and BTs.

  1. Your newspaper must include sections or articles on
    1. IT PGCE news
    2. General PGCE news
    3. Teaching I(C)T - can include materials from partner schools, DfEE etc.
    4. New developments in IT
  2. Your newspaper must include at least one picture (it may have more) and digital camera will be available for your use - but only one to share between the teams.
  3. You may use colour - but only on one page.
  4. The title of the newspaper is for you to choose as is the order of the sections and the content. You may wish to plan this in advance, using First Class or e-mail.
  5. Your four pages may be either A4 or A5 size.

Each newspaper will be printed and distributed to the group.

Sources of information

For information on partner schools you may find the index of their Home Pages useful - as well of course as information you have obtained while in the schools. For information on teaching I(C)T you may find some of the links evaluated by the IT PGCE BTs useful. Additional sources of information are:

Electronic Telegraph

The Guardian

The Independent

The Press Association

The Times


You will find the Newsday project (Australian but linked to the British Council) useful when thinking about adapting this session for use in the classroom.

When writing the lesson plans you should focus on organising the class so that all the members have the opportunity to meet the learning objectives. See the 'Teaching point' below for an overview of some of the issues you need to consider. The plans should be written on the standard pro-forma.

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The timetable

Like 'real' newspapers you will be working to a tight deadline. You may wish to organise yourselves in advance!

9:30-12:00 (and lunchtime if required) Produce newspaper - incorporating pictures and current news.

Whatever is available at 2:00 will be sent for printing - this is an absolute deadline.

12:00-12:30 The groups divide to write lesson plans for this activity at KS3. In this lesson the pupils work in groups and have to do a variety of tasks. The purpose of this part of the session is to give you experience of planing lessons to ensure that in these circumstances all pupils are meaningfully engaged and the tasks are completed optimally.

12:30-13:00 Discussion of the task and lesson plans.

The examples of using Publisher (see below), and the National Curriculum links can be used to help your lesson planning and then looked at again after the session.

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Links to other sessions

This session links to the others in the 'Exchanging and sharing information' strand and the discussion of the merits of different software packages for developing IT capability leads to the session on 'Using ICT in the teaching and learning of IT'.

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In the classroom


Two thoughts:

  1. Considering the software, the major misconception is in pupils understanding of the difference between document-based word-processors and page-based DTP programmes. These are two different approaches and you need to ensure that you can explain the difference clearly - and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
  2. Considering the topic, the major misconception is of what a newspaper looks like - as opposed to say a newsletter or magazine. Have a look at the products of this session and consider whether they look like newspapers - and what changes would (in some cases) have to be made to ensure that they do. It is worth looking again at Lai Chings' work (see Classroom examples below) as an example of how to make this explicit to pupils.

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Classroom examples

One important feature of newspapers is that the look like newspapers - not like magazines or leaflets. Lai Ching Lin devised an interesting exercise to help pupils understand this, and make sure that what they produced did look like a newspaper. She got her class to place blank text boxes on an empty Word page and then compare the look of this page with some newspapers that she had brought in. You could try this for yourself. Download the starting file and then add, move and resize text boxes until you feel that it looks like a newspaper.

Another popular use of Publisher in the classroom is to produce three-panel leaflets. Anne Iruobe did this last year in a sequence of four lessons. Here you can see the worksheets she used to explain the task and one which explains some of the features of Publisher. You can see the homework sheet she produced and the plans for the second, third and fourth lessons of the sequence.

See also the 'Communicating Information' page at DigitalBrain's London Grid for Learning site.

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Teaching point

In this task, a number of different jobs needed to be done. These can be done efficiently - or the whole group could watch while one person was typing. How did the group organise these? How would you ensure that the pupils in a class organised themselves (or were organised by you) so as to make most effective use of their time? What are the advantages and disadvantages of planning for different pupils to do different kinds of activity?

When pupils organise themselves for this kind of activity, one pupil often 'takes charge' telling the other members of the group what they are to do. In this case, the less able members of the group are often given mundane tasks and are therefore unlikely to have the opportunity to meet the learning objectives for the lesson. Is it possible to organise groups to mitigate this?

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Other Resources

The DfEE Schemes of Work

You should look at the following units of the DfEE schemes of work:

Key Stage 2: unit 2A, Writing stories; unit 2B, Creating pictures; unit 3A, Combining text and graphics;

Key Stage 3: unit 3 Processing text and images.

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'Children writing words and building thoughts' by John Jessel, in 'Using Information technology effectively in teaching and learning' edited by Bridget Somekh and Niki Davis (Institute library reference Loyx SOM).

Chapter 3 of 'Computer Based Learning: potential into practice' edited by Jean Underwood (Institute library reference Loz UND).

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This page is maintained by Tim Brosnan. Please send any comments to:
Last updated on 15th June 2001 .