1989 Science Text on Disk

Because I had taught Computing in 1985 I was pleased the Science Department was given the task of teaching it at Armadale Senior High School when we were supplied with a classroom of them in 1987.

I helped the Business Studies teacher with her class because she had no idea.

I had her students put the old science books onto floppy disks. In those days they were as floppy as the name suggests.

It turned out to be highly advantageous because the curriculum was changed the next year to start in 1989 and there were no textbooks for it.

We produced our own text material and sold it to other schools.

The following sections show some of the features of the year.

I moved to another school at the end of 1989 which unfortunately meant the end of the program because of the work involved.


Advertising the books in the Science Teachers magazine that the Science Department at Armadale Senior High School had produced when the Education Department reorganised the Science curriculum in Lower School.


With the introduction of the unit curriculum and units with a structure covering a range of previous topics there is a need for text material which is not fulfilled by any available resources.


Armadale Senior High School science staff have used the old red, green and blue science textbooks as the basis for word processed text material for the new units.

A combination of student, staff and paid typist labour transformed the written page to the floppy disk, albeit pre moon walk, plate tectonics and metrication.

The resulting material was on a Microbee computer in a WordStar file containing errors in spelling, typing and contents. Because the science department of Armadale Senior High School runs computing in the school we were able to appropriate a number of Microbees and printers at the end of the year and edit the material.

However, this material was in pre-units topics. Staff members responded by identifying the material appropriate for each unit which was then collated in a single unit file on disk by those computer oriented science teachers.

An advantageous off-shoot of this activity was the transformation of several previous computer illiterates into knowledgeable novices.

Further editing was then required on the Microbee and after the file had been transferred to the Apple Mac or Nimrod, more editing again.

The units for first term 1988 were not completed until the beginning of the school year and since then a total of sixteen units have been prepared.


For each of the prepared units we have at least the relevant material from the old red, green and blue books. Some units have had extra material added where necessary and this is one of the ongoing tasks for the rest of the units.

The material includes references to pictures which are photocopied separately and stuck on the previous page by the students.

Units available are: 8311, 8312, 8321, 8322, 8331, 8332, 8333, 8334, 8335, 8341, 8342, 8343, 8351, 8352, 8361, 8362.


Printing the texts is carried out on a photocopier purchased at the beginning of the school year expressly for this purpose by the science department. A bonus here has been the resultant immediate access to a new, sophisticated copier for all our requirements. By purchasing a government tender machine both the initial outlay and the maintenance costs were minimized.

We are providing copies of the material prepared so far to schools for a bargain basement price of $60. We even supply the disks.

As the material is improved upgrades will be offered at a nominal price to schools which have already purchased it.

Formats catered for are Macwrite, Wordstar on either the Microbee or Nimrod, and First Choice on the Nimrod.


Your students can be supplied with text material relevant to your locality, which is particularly appropriate for such units as 8312, 8332, 8334, 8335, and 8351.

The production cost is approximately half that of the commercial texts which consequently results in increased funds for your department (this includes paying off a photocopier).

Max Partington.


We were the only school to have produced books for the new curriculum and initially none was available commercially.

This is the advertisement promoting the books to other Australian schools.


What use would you have for a million bytes of science text material available on your computer?

You can make you own student texts which will be completely relevant to your environment after minimal editing on your part.

You can break up the material to produce a thousand pages of worksheets.

You can break up the material to produce several thousand tests for your students.

You can produce supplementary material for your students where there present text is inadequate.

You can save your students money by producing your own student texts.

You can make money for your science department by producing your own science texts.

You can produce an unlimited number of computing word processing exercises by altering the material and getting the students to then correct the errors.

Who can supply you with this bounty of assistance?






The material was originally produced by the Western Australian Ministry of Education and they hold the copyright. Your purchase entitles you to unlimited copying only WITHIN your own school.

Should you transfer to a school without the disks you will need to get it to purchase them for you to be able to use the material.

However this will not be a problem as they will be kicking themselves for not having purchased it earlier once you show them the value of the material.

So far a third of the secondary schools in Western Australia have purchased the disks.

The price of the disks is $120, which includes postage and packing.

Complete the enclosed order form and forward it with your cheque. If the order form is lost remember that you must tell us the format you want the material in.

Individual topics may be purchased for $20 per topic.

























A form to be used by teachers when they find deficiencies in the text material we had produced for the Science students at Armadale Senior High School.



FOR UNIT:TITLE _________________________________________________

NUMBER_____________ BY _____________________________

Please complete the sheet and return to ________________________ who is responsible for editing this topic. It would be preferable to complete sheets regularly as the topic progresses to give the editor the opportunity to edit the unit before the following term when it may run again. Clearly indicate why or how you think the notes need improving and if you have better material, please include a copy.






















These were the instructions to the schools buying the disks.

The floppy disks did not hold much material so the schools needed to transfer individual topics to separate disks as described.

Now you have your disks containing the text material for the 16 units that we have done so far you will notice that the disks are chock - a - block full, so if you want to edit the material you have to make some changes. We suggest that the first thing that you do is to transfer each units files to a separate disk e.g. 8311 to one disk, 8312a and 8312b to another disk, etc. By doing this you will then be able to edit the material on the disk and make it more appropriate to your environment - which is the reason you bought it.

You will need to edit the material to add highlighting etc if it is in a format which is different to the one we use as this will have been stripped in the transfer process.

We print the material in NLQ and then photocopy it on one side for the students to use. On the facing page they paste their pictures. This may be done in class or as a home activity.


Unfortunately the prospective development of the material did not occur because of lack of support from the staff at the new school and commercial textbooks becoming available.

This letter I sent before it became obvious the project was not going to happen.


Further to our telephone conversation I hereby indicate the course I wish to follow at my new school for 1990 (South Fremantle Senior High School) with regard to the SCIENCE TEXT ON DISK which I initiated and maintained at Armadale SHS.

The material on the disks being used at Armadale SHS is the contents of the old red, green and blue science texts SCIENCE FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS produced by the Education Department of WA, edited so as to cover the objectives of the present science units. Eventually we hope ( I will still be working on this aspect of the booklets) to have the text sufficiently edited so that it is worthwhile to transfer the data to a wordprocessor and to incorporate the pictures. This material is organised for the schools in W.A. and is not in a useful form for the schools in the other states.

I have also been working on the original data in the original units, editing them to update them and remove any errors which occurred when the material was put on the computer. No one at Armadale SHS was interested in this aspect of the books but I see it as a useful resource for schools not using our units:- the schools in the other states of Australia.

The SCIENCE TEXT ON DISK was initiated at Armadale SHS by me and I did a large part of the editing, and if I did not do the editing I organised it to be done. With me not at the school I do not think there is any likelihood of any new work being undertaken, so that if this project is not allowed to proceed at South Fremantle SHS it will not happen at all, which I think will be a loss for the teachers in the rest of Australia.

I am not interested in using the pictures on computer disk.

I request that at South Fremantle SHS I be allowed to sell 1000 copies of the SCIENCE TEXT ON DISK material in the form of the original units to schools in the other states of Australia at a cost of $100. The proceeds of the sales are to be for the benefit of the science department at South Fremantle SHS, as we had at Armadale SHS.

Could you please organise the necessary release of copyright with Horwitz Grahame Pty Ltd.

Yours sincerely

Maxwell Partington

Senior Teacher Science

29 December 1989



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