Engineers like to take things apart to see how they work and learn most when trying to put them back together and the inquiring minds of West Hill Park School are no different. So when several old PCs were donated to the school, head of IT John Adam, saw it as the perfect opportunity to develop real life skills for his students.
Head of IT John Adam decided to run a project whereby a number of the year 8 pupils would focus on dismantling and re-building these machines, and bringing them up-to-date. A couple of the pupils' parents worked for local IT specialist, Novatech who were more than happy to help support the project.
Due to the popularity of the scheme, Mr Adam developed the idea further still. With parental permission the pupils chose their own components; costed them out on a spreadsheet; purchased them from the Novatech website and built the computers at school before taking them home. The children’s enthusiasm and creativity was evident from the garish and fantastical selection of colours, neon lights and outlandish designs. However, the technical quality of the machines was not in doubt and the schools’ DT department even commissioned the pupils to build a customised PC for their classroom too.
The project has now become a permanent part of the IT curriculum at West Hill Park and they are considering extending it to other year groups due to the level of interest.
John Adam said, “The success of this project has not only been driven by the students’ predictable enthusiasm for building their own computers, but also by their appetite to learn how the components work on a deeper level. It is a similar process to dissecting frogs to learn about biology. Learning about the physical mechanics of the machines has led to very interesting explorations of how the hard drive, RAM and CPU work, and how in turn, the Operating System and software works with them.”
He continued, “I was already well aware of Novatech’s great reputation as an IT supplier, so when this project came around they were a natural choice, especially considering how local they are. It was not just the easy – to – use website that impressed us, but also the excellent quality of the parts Novatech provided us with”.
"I was already well aware of Novatech’s great reputation as an IT supplier, so when this project came around they were a natural choice, especially considering how local they are."