Lessons in the making

LessonMaker Suite

PC CD-Rom of curriculum ICT activities for primary schools, based on QCA schemes of work

Edutech Systems Ltd, The Woodstock Centre, Marwood Road Leicester LE4 2EL.

For Windows 95982000XP PCs.

Tel: 0116 235 0355

Fax: 0116 236 8321

www.edutechsystems.co.uk

Prices from: Single User

pound;125

Full site licence

pound;1,600

Fitness for purpose *****

Ease of use *****

Features ****

Design ****

Value for money *****

Taken over the reins for ICT in your primary school? Not sure how you are going to organise the software to deliver all those bits in the QCA schemes of work - to say nothing of ensuring development and continuity? Enter EduTech's LessonMaker Suite, which aims to take the hard work of identifying appropriate software and creating files to meet the requirements for ICT in the national curriculum. LessonMaker provides a structured approach to teaching the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to enable pupils to develop ICT capability.

LessonMaker comprises a series of software activities, each designed to address one of the units detailed in the QCA scheme. Activities are organised into levels which correspond to year groups within key stages 1 and 2 and the activities for each are sorted into desktop folders which provide links to the appropriate software and associated files. For key stage 1, there are 10 activities and a further 17 for key stage 2. The LessonMaker structure makes it easy to locate and start a particular activity. All the activities offer a consistent approach and each performs its task well. The exception is the program for control technology, which is made unduly complex and will turn most teachers off.

Coupled with LessonMaker is GateKeeper which manages the software within Windows, ensuring pupils can't access system files, change settings etc. Any number of user desktops can be set up, to meet individual schools'

requirements, using a 'Manager's desktop.

This suite offers the unsure, inexperienced and novice ICT co-ordinator an excellent means of delivering ICT across the whole school. I like the fact that many of the generic programs have multi-level interfaces, which ensure the tools and features can always be matched to the user's level of ICT capability. The price may look too hefty to a cash-strapped primary, but this isn't just a single-function program.

The latest QCA changes are being incorporated into the next release of LessonMaker and further changes will also be built in as and when they happen - for example, the MediaMaker multimedia package. In addition, a website has been established to allow teachers to download additional resources.

Lastly, EduTech is working on an interactive whiteboard suite for primary and secondary schools, a special needs suite and secondary suite. The special needs suite, developed for key stage 3 and 4 pupils, will be available shortly; the secondary product at the end of the year.

Chris Drage

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