Developing ICT skills is a very practical set of resources specifically written to complement the QCA scheme of work in ICT at key stages 1 and 2. Written for the non-specialist teacher, these books (pound;16.99 each) comprise sets of manageable and highly appropriate activities, all of which can be delivered in the one-computer classroom. They offer ideas for a whole-class introduction, activities for groups and individuals and photocopiable, differentiated activity sheets where the same activity is presented at three different levels of ability. The books also include extra photocopiable resources to support and extend the lessons and an assessment page to record individual progress.
What appeals with Developing ICT Skills is that the range, level and general tone of the activities is immediately relevant to classroom practice. They are very practical and won't scare the pants off the computer-shy teacher. In fact the opposite is true. A teacher who lacks confidence with ICT will welcome the guidance and help offered here. The Year 1 and Year 2 books have an optional CD-Rom of software (book+CD pound;34.99). Like any resource of this nature it is most successful when used not exclusively in isolation but in the company of other relevant resources. To this end, Developing ICT Skills will prove an invaluable resource for ICT co-ordinators.
Co-ordination Group Publications (CPG) has also started on a set of workbooks to assist in delivering ICT. At present only its Year 3 ICT Workout Book (schools pound;1.25, retail pound;3.50) is available, but if the rest is like this the series looks very promising indeed. There are lots of questions and computer-based activities for each unit of the QCA scheme of work. You also get a free "Duck Builder" game to download from the CPG website to use with the simulations projects. The bottom line with this series is that at 1.6p per page, the book works out cheaper than photocopying.
The company has also published GCSE Revision Guide - ICT (schools pound;2, retail pound;4.50). It covers everything from ROM and RAM to networks, databases and the internet.
The book is clear and concise and unravels all the jargon, and it's even mildly amusing in places. With its appealing format, in full colour, this guide is the answer to an ICT teacher's prayers - again at a price less than photocopying it.
Undoubtedly the most comprehensive published ICT scheme currently available is Nelson Thornes' Primary ICT. Impressive isn't the word (even if I did work on a small part of it myself). There is everything here for the non-specialist teacher to deliver ICT successfully. Based on the Granada Toolkit suite of software, this program corresponds to the QCA scheme of work and the Scottish 5-14 guidelines. It provides cross-curricular links, particularly with literacy and maths, and encourages you to develop your own skills at the computer so that you can plan, deliver and assess ICT in a confident and targeted way.
At the heart of the scheme is the Teacher's Book (pound;29.25), providing unit overviews including cross-curriculum links and detailed hourly lesson plans (easily split into smaller sessions). These 36 lesson plans refer to the Flipover Book (pound;48.69) for each lesson. This is followed by explanations of jargon and unit-specific support for the teacher. The lesson plans are well set out and easy to follow, covering keywords and watchpoints as well as assessment. The resource sheets are not differentiated but you can edit and print them from the CD-Rom, where they are saved as templates. The pupil's file CD-Rom contains data files for specific lessons, with the teacher's CD-Rom also having specific and editable Primary Toolkit data files for the whole class element of the lesson. The work cards (work cards+CD-Rom, pound;72.99) are colourful and hardwearing, and also available as printable files. These are attractive resources which, when used together, ensure structured progression in ICT from one year to the next.
Hopscotch Educational Publishing, 29 Waterloo Place, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV32 5LA. Tel: 01926 744227. Fax: 01926744228. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hopscotchbooks.com
Co-ordination Group Publications, Kirkby-in-Furness, Cumbria LA17 7WZ. Tel: 0870 750 1242. Email: email@example.com www.cgpbooks.co.uk
Nelson Thornes, Delta Place, 27 Bath Road, Cheltenham, Glos GL53 7TH. Tel: 01242 267100. Fax: 01242 221914. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.nelsonthornes.com