Analysis beats facts;Secondary;Reviews;ICT;Books

29th January 1999 at 00:00
EDUCATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE. By Dorothy Walker. Bowerdean Publishing Company pound;12.99.

If you want a broad sweep across information technology in education then this is the book for you. But don't delay, it could age faster than slang.

Dorothy Walker ranges much wider than schools, with sections on some of the best known initiatives in the UK. She also shows how ICT is affecting every age group: library projects, community learning networks, video conferencing, techno fear, Integrated Learning Systems, and home learning are all here.

The most intriguing section is the one that deals with the Dalton school in New York which prides itself on questioning the status quo.

As Frank Moretti, the former associate head, says: "I don't believe in a body of knowledge that everyone must have. I believe in a quality of experience that is intellectual and personal that everyone must have. The most successful people in the world are not people whose heads are jammed with facts - those are often the least creative people, but the most interesting are those who have the ability to be analytic."

He goes on: "You must focus all the time on whether the child is learning to think about how to construct ideas."

Undoubtedly this is a good, readable survey of the current scene with plenty of insights into lifelong learning. It won't tell you how to do any of the things that the author writes about, but occasionally there are sound pieces of advice like this other one from Frank Moretti: "I don't think that any other technology is as valuable as e-mail. E-mail is the place any school should startl."

"Sponsored by ICL" proclaims the book on its cover. That shouldn't matter, but there could have been fewer mentions of ICL.

* Jack Kenny is a former English teacher and ICT adviser

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