Teacher GuidanceHands-on, experiential learning is a very necessary component of an IT education in high school.  To prepare themselves for college-level IT programs, students must understand the technology they use beyond just the theory of it. This report from the Special Interest Group on Information Technology Education (SIGITE) explains more about experiential learning and other curricula associated with baccalaureate programs in Information Technology.

Some examples of experiential learning might be:

  • Instructor demonstrations
  • Labs
  • Field trips relating to the unit of study
  • Individual and group projects
  • Interviews with IT professionals and/or job shadowing
  • Design, implementation, and documentation projects
  • Preparation and presentation of a technical report
  • Service learning

There are countless ways to engage students in IT while in the classroom. Whatever your course subject, there’s probably a way to meet your curriculum standards and to grow your students’ skills, confidence and appreciation for IT at the same time.

Ideas for IT-Related Projects

The following projects might inspire ideas for your own classroom. The last three examples are taken from this website. Watch the videos to hear each teacher explain their lesson plan, their reason for choosing the technology they did, and the curriculum standards they aimed to fulfill. All of these projects require group work and communication skills, which are core skills required for most IT programs, and for IT professionals.

  • Information Exchange: The Monster Exchange pairs classes from around the world and stimulates the creativity, writing and reading comprehension skills of students. One group of students will draw a picture of a monster, and then write a set of numbered instructions for drawing their monster. Students email the written instructions to a group in another class. This group in the other classroom is then challenged with recreating the “original” monster as accurately as possible, using only the written instructions. Although this project is aimed at elementary school students, a similar idea might be employed in a middle or high-school classroom.
  • Database Creation: This particular project required students to collect demographic information from their school using a survey. They also gathered the GPS coordinates of student addresses using a GIS tracking device, and then applied this information to an interactive map using ArcView software and Microsoft Excel. They then used this interactive map to answer questions such as, “In which part of town should a new playground be built?”
  • Webquest and Desktop Publishing: The students in this class engaged in a self-directed Webquest about the novella, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” and then created a Victorian-era newspaper using their knowledge gained from their study of the book and the Webquest.
  •  Website creation: These high school students researched social, technological, economic, environmental and political trends from Internet scans and interviews with experts. From this research they extrapolated predictions about these five trend areas into the year 2020. They used these predictions to create articles, ads and advice columns for an E-Zine “from the future” using programs such as Flash and Dreamweaver.