How do you know you've become an anorak? Perhaps when you find yourself reading books or magazines about computers in the bath. I used to pity anyone who read books about computers willingly, but there is such a good range of publications around that you don't have to feel conspicuous reading them, even in public.
PRIMARY: There are two books from Folens Publishers (Information Technology 1 and 2) which are guides to using IT across the curriculum for non-specialist teachers. They provide sound practical advice and the illustrations are clear. The last chapter includes notes for IT co-ordinators as well as a record sheet for assessment purposes. A new book released by Hodder and Stoughton, Enriching Primary Mathematics with IT by Janet Ainley also gives plenty of guidance for those with no practical experience of IT and covers the use of spreadsheets, calculators, databases and graphics.
GENERAL: The National Council of Educational Technology is a rich source of publications. A pack of in-service training activities and ideas has been developed, called IT Support for All, which explores ways of improving access and learning for all pupils. There are activities aimed at teachers that could be used in professional development sessions. The NCET has also produced The Modelling Pack for Design and Technology teachers, an extensive resource full of useful ideas.
FURTHER EDUCATION: The NCET has produced a resource pack designed to help review IT provision in colleges and establish an action plan for development, which looks at management considerations, support for IT and curriculum issues. There are examples of good practice, a review toolkit, a photocopiable resource for members of the review team to use and a sample college IT policy.
THE INTERNET: Everyone has heard of the Internet by now, but does it live up to the hype? Two publications by Questions publishing will help you untangle the World Wide Web. The UK School Internet Primer, by Nicholas Mailer and Bruce Dickson, explains the Internet from a teacher's perspective and sums up the different Internet services, with pointers as to how it can contribute to children's learning. It has recently been expanded to offer a comprehensive guide of 320 pages and the revised version should be available at BETT 97.
If it is your job to explain the Internet to others, as part of professional development, then Questions has produced a pack of Internet overhead projector masters with a taster guide to educational sites on the Internet, which would help to explain its mysteries to teachers at in-service sessions.
ENGLISH: The National Association of Teaching English has several publications available. Two of these - IT's English: Accessing English with Computers and Developing English: Approaches with IT - have been around for some time, but they are still a good source of ideas. Developing English is a collection of 30 or so articles from practitioners, providing examples of classroom work and looking at principles and practice.
MATHEMATICS: The Association of Teachers of Mathematics has a collection of articles on using IT, including sections on handling data and using Logo.
SCIENCE:The Association for Science Education (ASE) has the benefit of Roger Frost's two publications, IT in Primary Science and IT in Secondary Science. The former has been updated and is the kind of book that will rejuvenate enthusiasm and make you want to try out the ideas contained in your own classroom.
PARENTS: Increasingly, parents are now looking to teachers to support them in learning how to use computers with their children to support the curriculum. The Parents Information Network (PIN) has produced a range of useful guides to help parents, while Ultralab, Anglia Polytechnic's learning technology research centre, has also produced a guide, Help your child with computers at Home.
As well as sound advice and ideas for using computers in the curriculum, teachers need software skills. Stanley Thornes produces Quick Course training books to give guidance in all the leading software packages, There are also guides to using the Internet and Netscape Navigator. These guides are available for older packages, as well as the newer versions - even if your software is out of date you can still buy something relevant.
Questions Publishing is releasing Making Time with IT, by Terry Freedman, giving step-by-step guidance in producing templates to make adminstrative and curriculum tasks easier.
Another useful source of information is the NCET-TV series to be broadcast on the first Wednesday of the month on BBC2 at 4.00am. Each programme is repeated on the subsequent Wednesday of each month, and those you have missed can be bought from the NCET. These recordings come with comprehensive and useful fact sheets which summarise research and give case studies and practical suggestions. They also give pointers for further information and, together with the programmes, are a valuable resource for in-service training. Topics covered in 1996 include Girls and Information Technology and Making Multimedia, The Internet and Primary Information Handling Skills.
The NCET recommends these programmes for home recording. I strongly advise that you do tape them, as watching a programme about computers at 4.00am would certainly brand you as an anorak!
* BETT CONNECTIONS
Association for Science Education stand A2
Association of Teachers of Mathematics stand A3
Folens Publishers stand 850
ENATE stand A7
NCET stands 545, 560
PIN stand 645 (PIN is holding seminars on Saturday January 11) PO Box 1426, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7YA
Questions Publishing stand 621
Stanley Thornes Publishers Ltd stand 862
Ultralab 01245 252009Web site www.ultralab.anglia.ac.uk