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Computers in the real world

Go for a walk outside and notice how technology interacts with everyday life.

You will need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Device to show photos, videos, or slides
Notes and handout (Computers in the real world)
PDF – 1.1MB


Before you begin

  • Map out a route that will take you past a range of computers in the real world, including traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossings, cash machines (ATMs), automated bus stop signs and supermarket self-checkouts.
  • Print enough of the handouts from the ‘Notes and handout’ pack for the group.

What are computers?

  1. Everyone should watch this video, which introduces the activity and the Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge.
  2. Everyone should discuss what they think computers are. Is a tablet a computer? Is a cash machine (ATM)? They both have computers in them to make them work.
  3. Everyone should work together to come up with a list of features that objects with computers in them have in common. Think about some outliers too. This list of features could include:
    • are electronic
    • have buttons, a touchscreen or can be voice controlled
    • have a display, lights, speakers or make things move
    • can carry out instructions or tasks.
  1. Everyone should discuss what the world would be like without computers and technology. Would it be the same or different? Would some things be easier or more difficult?

Get out into the world

  1. Everyone will be using their handouts to hunt for computers in the real world. Tick off each computer that you find and make a note of others that you see.
  2. Everyone should be aware of the route they need to follow or the boundaries of the area they can explore.
  3. Once everyone has had enough time to find the computers on the scavenger hunt, they can create their own using the notes they wrote about the other computers they spotted.


This activity was about practicing skills and helping you to understand how computers affect our lives. How can computers make things better or easier for people in their everyday lives? Which items have computers in them that you didn’t know about before? What technology do you know of that helps disabled people in their everyday life? (Wheelchair lifts, electric wheelchairs, hearing aids, screen readers, textphones.)


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.