A good place to start

13th February 2004 at 00:00
Terry Freedman points primary ICT co-ordinators in the right direction for help

HANDBOOK FOR ICT CO-ORDINATORS. Edited by Julie Yaxley. Teacherbooks pound;9.95, additional copies pound;4.90

Surely the question most asked by the hapless primary teacher, roped into taking on the role of ICT co-ordinator, is "Where do I start?" A good answer would be with this book.

Based on the ICT Co-ordinators' File, a regular publication which builds up into a ring-bound resource, this handbook covers the work of the ICT co-ordinator in a series of articles under a number of themes: management, training, hardware and software, curriculum and internet and email.

Each article is fairly self-contained, and well set out. The emphasis in each case is on practicality: it is assumed that the reader is too busy to have time to read and reflect on a long article.

Although the chapters cover a wide variety of topics, they are all set out in a similar format, with sections clearly indicated and examples and guidance for further help, for example on the internet.

Sections that are especially useful are those that set out the expectations of different roles - not only that of the ICT co-ordinator but also those of ICT technicians and teacher assistants, including some useful sample job descriptions.

The sections on ICT in other subjects are handy, and it is a good idea to highlight the contribution of ICT to English, maths and science.

There are a couple of criticisms to be made, however. One of the chapters on in-service training assumes the school will be using Microsoft products such as Windows and Word, whereas that is not always the case. Also, because this is a book that summarises issues, it cannot explore them in any real depth. It cites the "latest" government advice as being to set up class rather than individual email accounts, whereas there are several approaches a school could take in this area.

Nevertheless, such quibbling aside, reading this book and keeping it handy for reference would certainly be a good investment of time and money.

Terry Freedman is the author of Managing ICT, Hodder and Stoughton, and head of e-education with Tower Hamlets LEA http:easyweb.easynet.co.uketfreedmanindexictined.htm

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