"Teachers told us that there was an assumption that they knew how to use information and communications technology, but this often wasn't the case," says Ms Hayes. She adds: "We're not at the cutting-edge of technology, rather we take three steps back and help people learn the basic skills, from unpacking the computer to using the Internet. We're also concerned with helping people see how computers can help them in their work."
The Computers Don't Bite campaign includes six television programmes covering a wide range of topics, from buying a computer, to using one to write a novel or screenplay, and how the cast of EastEnders is using information technology. Teachers will be able to order a free CD-Rom and magazine by calling the Department for Education and Employment Learning Direct freephone number (0800 100 900) until June 19. The CD-Rom starts from the basics of switching on a computer and includes a simulated Internet experience.
The magazine is one of the best educational IT journals I've seen. It's packed with information that is clearly presented and avoids being patronising. Some articles are by classroom teachers and include advice on integrating IT across the curriculum, and using the Internet for Modern Studies. Margaret Cox, chair of the National Association for Co-ordinators and Teachers of IT, has good advice on using IT with existing teaching skills, and Jacquie Disney of the Parents Information Network has written some excellent articles on hardware, software and the Internet. Highly recommended.