As a result of the changes to the national curriculum, revisions have been made to the scheme of work at primary level for information and communications technology (ICT). Changes include an increased emphasis on information sources and the inclusion of monitoring external events. The use of email is now statutory for key stage two.
As a result of these changes, and because children are getting more access to ICT teaching in their reception year, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is replacing two Year 1 units - 1A and 1C - and adding three new units. The unit 1A now becomes an introduction to modelling, which allows pupils to compare ICT activities such as dressing a teddy bear on-screen, with the reality of dressing their bears. The unit also teaches pupils how they can represent real or fantasy scenarios through simple graphics. Throughout the unit, children are encouraged to talk about the choices they are making.
Unit 1C has been extended to enable children to learn about "the information around us". It includes opportunities to gather information from an increased variety of sources such as television, recording interviews, books and ICT sources. The increased emphasis on information in the revised orders leads us to include a new unit in Key Stage 1, which is designed to "bridge the gap" between unit 1E (pictograms) and Unit 3C (databases). The new unit teaches pupils the differences between simple numeric data and classifying information to allow us to question it and draw conclusions. Thus, for example, we might deal with not just how many of us have cats at home, but how many, what breed and what they are called.
Two new units - dealing with data-logging and use of the internet - have been added at the top end of key stage two (although we are aware that many teachers may wish to include these topics earlier). The use of data-logging equipment is linked to children monitoring changes in environmental measurements. Children can try the equipment out for themselves while measuring a variety of temperature changes (inside a glove, in the sunshine, a mug of cold water from the tap). The resultant graphs are then interpreted by the children. Changes in light over an extended period are monitored and the resulting data analysed - even more effective if the caretaker turned on the light while locking up! These skills can then be linked to science investigations.
The Internet unit demonstrates how teachers can introduce children to Internet searching using favourite lists, key words and simple logical operators. They learn how to analyse the information, print out pages and abstract text and graphics for later use.
We are confident that teachers will find the revised scheme of work an invaluable addition to their resources and we hope to see schools linking the new units to aspects of the curriculum appropriate to their school planning and delivery. CJ Clare Johnson is principal manager for information and communications technology with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority If you want to know what's happening in the fast-moving world of ICT, how the National Grid for Learning (NGFL) is progressing and what is happening with regard to ICT teacher training, then BETT 2000 is the place to be. It's also a great venue for seeing lots of new products and services aimed at ICT teachers.
The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) stand will be focusing on three strands of ICT: content, practice and infrastructure. The New Opportunities Fund, which is providing pound;230 million for ICT teacher training will also be at BETT and providing information on its grant programmes, and explaining how teachers can get involved.
Also on the theme of training, the Parents Information Network will be offering ICT training aimed at governors and offering Family Web ICT workshops designed for schools wishing to extend community ICT access to their websites. TAG will be displaying its Interactive Teacher Training Packs, which include ICT Matters, Internet Matters and Multimedia Matters. Each comes in a large ring-bound folder consisting of a CD-Rom and teacher notes. The CD-Rom contains files and website resources on 20 key topics. These are quality guides and well worth taking a close look at.
RM will launch a raft of new products and services including a new suite of Internet management tools designed to offer faster access, and a comprehensive auditing package. RM's Window Box 2000 features new software such as My World 3 and Stage Craft Creator, a simulation software package that allows pupils to create animated characters and worlds, and interact with them.
Anglia Multimedia is also launching a new 3-D tool that allows students to create 3-D environments on a computer and interact with them in an open-ended fashion - there are no pre-set routines. Keyboard Crazy, from Recognition Learning Services, is displaying an innovative game that helps children develop keyboard skills (see news section). ICL will be showing I-Gear, an intelligent Internet filtering system, Mail-Gear, which checks email content, and ICONGrid, designed for creating a "local grid for learning" for schools using the Internet.
There will also be many online resources including Clicker Grids for Learning, a free online service for teachers and users of Clicker 3 software. The "laptops for head teachers" scheme has created much interest in portable computing, and vision4schools will be showing a range of Sony Vaio portables which include 3-year warranty, insurance and finance. The Vaio range includes computers with DVD-Rom drives, CD-writers, a built-in digital camera and a high-speed data connection known as i-Link. Compaq's contribution will include its NonStop Learning online service that offers educational software and teacher training. Sometimes it's good to be non-PC and Xemplar will be showing its iMac and iBook computers, as well as wireless technology and its Managed Services programme.
MC2Softarc will be demonstrating the Gold version of its FirstClass Collaborative Classroom which combines audio mail, conference mail and email. Pupils can record and listen to audio messages, share text, pictures and graphics files and email. Fantastic Corporation, in conjunction with BT and Eutelsat, will be carrying out live demonstration of Knowledgecaster, which offers high-speed Internet access and the delivery of multimedia distance learning materials to PCs, servers and set-top boxes via satellite or ADSL digital phone lines. Espresso also uses satellite (although from Astra) to deliver learning materials with full-motion video to schools. TAG's Jam C@M (pound;59.95) is a new digital camera designed for children and those with little or no experience of digital photography. For both Apple Mac and PC, it comes with image manipulation software.
There will be lots of new and interesting software and resources at BETT such as that produced by The Science Consortium, a partnership between the Association for Science Education, New Media, Sheffield Hallam University and Nuffield Foundation. Granada Learning is launching a number of new titles including three CD-Roms aimed at numeracy, literacy and religion. Eurotalk will have a range of language-learning CD-Roms and Computer Kids will be launching Macbeth, its fourth CD-Rom in the ICT across the curriculum series. GC
Anglia Multimedia Stand:F44www.anglia.co.ukBECTA Stand: D70www.becta.org.ukBESA Stand: L35www.besanet.org.ukCompaq Stand: D100www.compaq.co.ukComputer Kids Stand: SN49www.compkids.comCrick Software Stand: SN2www.cricksoft.comEspresso Stand: M87www.espresso.co.ukEurotalk Stand: M31Tel: 0171 371 7711Fantastic Corporation Stand: L4www.fantastic.comGranada Learning Stand: F40www.granada-learning.co.ukICL Stand: E40Tel: 0117 9842018New Opportunities Fund Stand:TC34www.nof.org.ukPIN Stand: L44www.pin-parents.comRM Stand: D50www.rm.comScience Consortium Stand: TC8Tel 01491 413 999Softarc Stand: C32Tel:00353 61 472 877TAG Stand: F50www.tagdev.co.ukXemplar Stand: E34F34www.euro.apple.comuk