Designed for success

30th May 2003 at 01:00
Catch up with the latest ICT textbooks and resources

SUCCESS! GCSE ICT. Price: pound;4.50. SUCCESS! ICT at KS3. Price: pound;3.95. Both by Gareth Williams. Pearson Publishing. Tel: 01223 350555

Let's be positive: these two books do contain an outline of much of the content that students will need for a study of ICT. However, one thing that good ICT should do is to encourage exploration and investigation - and they don't do that.

"Read this and all will be well", is the promise of books like these, which provide a general, if pedestrian, overview of the subject. Reading this will tell a student some of what they need to know, but what it does not do is stimulate them into going further. Is it enough to know what a database will do or shouldn't there be a section that inspires students to use one?

Learning by telling rather than learning by doing is not a good way of proceeding. ICT is one of the most exciting things to happen to education since the invention of the pen and paper - not that you would think so from these books.

ICT reduced to a subject in this way can be about as stimulating as counting cornflakes. Higher order skills are not even mentioned.

Transferring what is learned into other areas of the curriculum is never even considered.

ICT at KS3 has the same general approach as the GCSE book - indeed some of the chapter headings are the same. It has the same bland approach, giving students a thin diet of facts without any indications of how they can take them further than factual knowledge. Many courses have assignments where students can develop their ideas and interests. There is nothing along those lines here; nothing to spark off ideas.

Finally, open this alongside one of the examination board specifications - say the Edexcel ICT course - and then reflect on how well your students would cope with these books as the course readers.

Should you buy it? One copy to have to hand or to put in the library might be useful, but to have this as the basis of an ICT course would be short-changing your students.

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