The New Opportunities Fund (NOF) ICT training scheme has exposed the urgency for many teachers to first acquire basic skills. For schools to become eligible to access the training, teachers need to know techniques, such as how to save information on a computer and how to bookmark websites. There's a wide range of basic training materials, but it's difficult for beginners to know where to start.
For those who want to teach themselves there are several options. Web-based trainers Reeltime College have released a new CD-Rom designed for pre-NOF training. It has more than five hours of video demonstrations, screen movies, audio and interactive hands-on sessions, as well as an offline personal study browser to save phone bills. Online readers can apply for one of 2,000 free courses, each worth pound;100, by completing the form at www.reeltimecollege.co.ukteachers This offer is limited to two teachers per school. The self-paced course is done on teachers' own computers using their own software, supported by email contact with a tutor and a noticeboard for discussion.
Another good, purpose-built product is Longman's Easy PC - Boost Your ICT Capability. This acclaimed CD-Rom covers the basics of how to use a computer, the Internet and email (a review by Chris Drage is to be published in TES Friday magazine). Folens IT Works scheme provides a wide range of practical classroom activities as well as the background explanations, hints and tips. It also links with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's scheme of work.
As the definition of basic skills extends to the use of the Internet and email, it is increasingly important for teachers to learn online skills, such as how to search the Web and handle email attachments. One of the best-known online workshops is the Newbie Internet Orientation. You can access the lessons from the website in any order, so if you onl want to find out how to unzip an archive file, you just complete that section.
For a more academic perspective, try the list compiled by Learning Resources Development at Buckinghamshire College. These materials include introductions to computing, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentations, graphics and using disks, Windows, Macs and the Unix system. Most have been developed at the College and at Leeds, Aberdeen and City Universities. The Leeds range includes the Beginner's Guide to Computing - Getting Started With iMacs and a huge selection of applications.
For those who prefer to work from paper, CIA Training produces Open Learning Guides containing photocopiable material and practical exercises. Most books come with a data disk of accompanying files that enable the user to practise new techniques without needing to re-enter information. The packages are based on a self-teach format, with guidelines and actions to take you through the learning process, and are equivalent to about two days' conventional training.
Payne amp; Gallway also have a series of books for the primary and early secondary sector called Basic IT Skills for Schools. Available for Word, PowerPoint and Excel, the teachers' books come with photocopiable worksheets for pupils.
Learning Resources Development, Buckinghamshire College www.buckscol.ac.ukitres.html Beginner's Guide To Computing - Getting Started With iMacs Leeds University Learning Materials www.leeds.ac.ukissdocumentation
Open Learning Guides published by CIA Training. Price: pound;29 (including VAT). Tel: 0191 549 5002
www.ciatraining.co.uk. Easy PC - Boost Your ICT Capability published by Longman. Price: pound;49 plus VAT. Tel: 01223 425558
www.teacherlinc.net. Basic IT Skills for Schools published by Payne amp; Gallway. Price: from pound;12. Tel: 01202 712909
www.payne-gallway.co.uk. NewbieNET. www.newbie.net
Reeltime College. www.reeltimecollege.co.uk
Folens IT Works. www.folens.com