Building bridges that span the digital divide

5th January 2001 at 00:00
It is often suggested that it is harder to write a good short book than a worthwhile long one, and Unlocking Potential is an example of how much good sense and valuable advice can be packed into less than 100 pages. It begins with a very helpful summary of the position on administrative software and training for SENCOs. These are both important areas at a time when these individuals are carrying a major bureaucratic load, as well as identifying a suitable NOF trainer. The carefully written and constructive summary of the differences between the various NOF special needs trainers is the kind of resource which is badly needed in other categories of this training programme.

The author is well-known for her work in this area at NCET and BECTA. She builds on this background in order to present a book which is strong on summary and opinion, and all the better for it. The separate chapters, some of which appeared in an earlier form as articles in Special Children magazine, dal with particular aspects of special needs using the categories which will be familiar to teachers from the current SEN Code of Practice. All categories of need are covered, including a fascinating description of the ways in which ICT is now able to support those who communicate by signing.

The section on literacy contains much common sense on what ICT can offer those with dyslexia, and this in an area of discourse where clear thinking is sometimes thin on the ground. The chapter on access to experiences deals with a wide range of special needs which relate to behaviour, and there is much here that $is new and enlightening.

Unlike many books, this one is also brave enough to mention individual software programs, and the Further Information section contains full contact details for all the companies concerned. Unlocking Potential is that rare thing, a book worth buying which is also easy to read; it should find a place on all staff room resource areas.

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