At home with IT;Letter

29th January 1999 at 00:00
IT HAS come to my attention that a figure of about pound;1,000 per teacher is going to be spent on information technology training. I feel that the use of such money should be carefully looked at. To use it all on teacher IT training may not be its best use. Training in IT skills without the actual hardware or time to put them into practice will be wasted.

Many teachers are at ease with computers and IT while others will need a large amount of training. One of the greatest drawbacks is the lack of time in school to improve teachers' IT skills. Many teachers produce a large amount of their class work on very old and slow computers, often at home where they have time and peace to work. For some teachers the main problem is the lack of a computer compatible with that used in schools while for others it is the lack of any computer at all.

What is the use of giving someone golf lessons when they are not able to get on the golf course? Teachers need IT training and access to the computer hardware.

The money should be divided between hardware and training. It could provide a pool of school computers, enough for one per teacher, which could be used in class, in school or at home. Having no restrictions on where the teachers could make use of these computers would be the best IT training of all.

These computers could be similar with the same software, Internet ready and with CD-Rom. They could be connected to the school's network from the teacher's home using a modem and a phone line when needed.

This is a chance to change the whole level of computing and IT skills in schools by supplying teachers, for the first time, with the computing hardware that has so often been denied them in the past.

Graham Smith Principal teacher of modern studies Braeview Academy, Dundee

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