Caught short? Just vamp

1st October 2004 at 01:00
Helen Yewlett peps up her ICT lessons with some new key stage 3 resources

Student Handbook for ICT: KS3 By Gareth Williams Pearson Publishing pound;3.95 www.pearsonpublishing.co.uk

Success for Schools ICT By Sean O'Byrne and Chris Guy Student books for Years 7 -9 pound;6.50 each; Teaching resources plus CD pound;50 each Letts www.letts-education.co.uk

ICT Dictionary 11-14 By Steve Neal Letts pound;5 ICT Electronic Dictionary Granada Learning CD-Rom pound;149 www.granada-learning.com

Feeling like a revamp of your ICT key stage 3? These may be the resources you need. We have just been told that we are no longer going to be part of a module circus but a definite lesson every week. Tremendous news. Whether we have enough computers for all the lessons is a different matter. But if you are an ICT teacher you will have become used to this.

What do you do when there aren't enough machines for the pupils? You put together an exigency plan. And this is where the first two books here come into their own.

For a start, there are photocopiable worksheets, some of which are helpful for the pupil at the computer but many of which work well by themselves.

They cover a multitude of topics - mail count, for example, discusses the use of IT.

Match-the-words allows basic web publishing terms to be taught in a fun way. I didn't know them all and had to turn to the pupil's book to see if I could find the answers. Incidentally, I couldn't find the answers anywhere in the Teaching Resources. Given how vast ICT has become, the days when we could all hope to know everything are over, so we too would welcome the answers, just of course to check that we were right after all. I preferred Student Handbook for ICT at KS3 by Gareth Williams as a textbook. However, my 12-year-old reviewer was adamant that Success for Schools ICT was more fun. She preferred the colours. Both have a lot to offer. It is quite likely that boys will prefer the layout of Student Handbook for ICT at KS3 because it is less overwhelming, there are more photographs and the information is more structured. In an ideal world I would use both. It is, however, worth checking before the lesson that any websites mentioned are still available. The Royal Mail site for postcode, for example, didn't work.

ICT Dictionary 11-14? This is exactly what it says it is, a dictionary of ICT terms. Again my young reviewer found it OK. It didn't catch her imagination but she was happy to look words up and she did understand the definitions.

The ICT Electronic Dictionary CD is exactly the same as the book, which makes it a very worthy piece of software, but the opportunity of using animation has been missed.

These resources certainly gave me inspiration and we used them for the revamp for key stage 3 this summer.

Helen Yewlett is head of computing at Ysgol Cyfan School, near Swansea

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