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eviews of DOCTRONICS publications


electronics education
Spring 98, p35

Discovering Electronics with crocodile clips, ISBN 0-9530129-0-5

Design and Technology's wheels of change continue to turn as expeditiously as ever but some things remain the same. Like Ohm's law and the essential knowledge for youngsters to design and make using electronics. However, crocodile clips and this book are a formidable building block set to change the face of electronics teaching.

crocodile clips made a snappy entrance to the scene some two years ago and in that time it has gained the respect of thousands of children across the UK. Electronics is a subject area which can have a reputation for being dull and devoid of creativity (especially if facilities are minimal). crocodile clips can bring flexibility and opportunities for design.

The business of teaching can be compared to an ice-berg with a plethora of activity going on below the surface. Our quest to be innovative, or even just keeping our heads above water, frequently leads to hours of working re-inventing the wheel and thousands of us are doing this every day. Rarely do we find a resource worthy of immediate use. However, this book sets out a well-trodden path towards a common understanding of electronics but this time via crocodile clips, providing a well 'metalled' road surface on which to run. Its pages are full of 'don't click on the switch just yet' and 'get it fixed in your mind'. You can almost hear yourself speaking the instructive text.

Alongside useful formula are transducers and potential dividers; integrated circuits including op-amps; bistables counting; and a useful section on design examples. All are dealt with in a systematic and common sense approach, taking the pupil through the various stages in understanding crocodile clips.

With hundreds of schematic images taken straight from the screen, the book makes life in a busy technology room much easier and diminishes the learning curve and the need to spend time on IT skills.

So with minimal effort a whole series of lessons may be assembled using directly photocopiable material, using a simple format suitable for Year 8 upwards and especially those studying Electronics Products.

We have not yet reached a stage where all pupils are computer literate and teaching both IT and subject skills simultaneously can be trouble. An inspiring book, it manages both admirably and is obviously the result of many years of experience applied in a contemporary context.

With more user freindly material like this, those late nights slaving over hot worksheets will certainly be reduced and will make this book a tyre on the wheel of change.

Ben Barker
Curriculum Leader for Design & Technology
King Edward VII School
Sheffield


IEE
website

Contact: Amanda Day

Michael Faraday House
Six Hills Way
STEVENAGE
Hertfordshire
SG1 2AY

Tel:01438 313311
Fax:01438 742856
e-mail: aday@iee.org.uk

A review of Discovering Electronics with crocodile clips also appeared in School Science Review, December 1997:

Association for Science Education
website

The review is available on line: ASE Reviews


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