Developing skills

25th February 2000 at 00:00

Secondary. GETTING UP TO SPEED IN ICT. ICT Projects for High Ability. Assessing and Reporting ICT in Core Subjects. ICT Homework for use with a Computer. The Chalkface Project pound;25 each. Tel: 01908 340 340. Primary. DEVELOPING ICT SKILLS RECEPTION, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3. Hopscotch pound;16.99 each. With CD-Rom pound;34.99 each.

Collections of ideas for classroom activities are invaluable to even the most imaginative teacher, especially when they come with photocopiable materials, provide concise outline lesson plans and have clearly documented links with the national curriculum (and Scottish primary curriculum).

The Chalkface Project and Hopscotch Publishing not only fulfil these criteria but also focus on programmes of work for ICT, an area where many teachers will value some assistance.

The Chalkface Project specialises in the production of photocopiable materials developed with input from practitioners and has the simple aim of making the best teaching ideas available to teachers.

This range of publications for 11 to 13-year-olds provides practical ideas for using ICT in the classroom and as homework. The series provides a common format with each activity giving a page of teacher's notes and an A4 worksheet.

The activities are specific but not restrictive and teachers will find many of them useful starting points for development within their own classroom. They range from developing a basic understanding of Microsoft Office software for word processing, spreadsheet and database work, covering the CLAIT (computer literacy and information and technology) requirements, to ideas for work to stretch high-ability key stage 3 pupils o level 5.

The booklet focusing on the use and assessment of ICT in each of the six core subjects is a useful school-wide resource. Each booklet consists of around 60 spiral-bound pages and provides a minimum of 28 worksheets, which makes them good value at less than pound;1 each.

The Developing ICT Skills series will eventually cover Years 1-6, but only books 1 to 3 are reviewed here. Each comes with a Windows CD-Rom containing software simulations to support the booklets. The CD provides example programs, a teacher section to try out the activities, and a log of individual pupil progress.

Installation is straightforward following the instructions on screen, and although I got a "Windows link library" error each time I ran it, the CD still worked fine. The booklets relate directly to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and Department for Education and Employment information technology scheme of work for key stages 1 and 2 (and Scottish primary stages).

The relationship between the activity, the DfEE scheme and national curriculum ICT attainment targets is clearly shown at the beginning of each booklet. Each activity has a teacher's guide with learning objectives, necessary resources, and guidance on delivery in the classroom.

Three photocopiable activity sheets for each lesson provide for progressive skills development by the children and reduce preparation time for the teacher.

Both of these series provide a useful bank of ideas for teachers and good support for the development of children's ICT skills.

Les Watson. Les Watson is director of information resources at Glasgow Caledonian University

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