8th September 2000 at 01:00
INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR YOU, Second Edition. By Stephen Doyle. Stanley Thornes, pound;13.50. INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR YOU, Skillbuilder. By Stephen Doyle. Stanley Thornes pound;11.50

At this time of year, problems of timetabling and fitting GCSE IT into an overcrowded curriculum loom large. This new edition of the popular Information Systems for You and its accompanying guide to completing coursework will provide some welcome relief.

Since 1995 Stephen Doyle's text has been a valuable resource for teaching IT to exam classes at key stage 4. The latest updated edition is highly accessible to pupils who may only have limited contact time with a specialist teacher, and its advice and information address the student directly. Presentation of the material is clear, lively and readable with excellent diagrams, photographs and cartoons. The volume covers all the syllabus of both the short and full courses in GCSE information technology and comprehensively addresses the requirements of the new ICT national curriculum. As well as an expanded section on coursework, plenty of recent exam questions and hints on preparation for the written assessment component, there are case studies describing practical applications of IT and investigations illustrating a variety of IT problems in realistic contexts.

The supplementary Skillbuilder text aims to help prepare students for the 60 per cent coursework element of the exam via a series of simple exercises using the word-processng, spreadsheet and database elements of Microsoft Office 2000. The self-test, question and task sections included in each chapter should provide genuine help in building students' confidence in designing, building and documenting an IT system. Both volumes will certainly earn their keep.

ICT AND THE LEARNING REVOLUTION. By Jim Donnelly. SHA Publications pound;9.50

This clear and succinct booklet has been written as a guide for busy senior managers in schools or colleges who are trying to come to terms with the impact of digital and communication technologies.

Jim Donnelly discusses the practicalities of development planning, teaching and support staffing, administration, New Opportunities Fund training, complying with the new national curriculum and the acquisition of computer-related equipment in a brisk, straightforward style which inspires confidence.

The real value of these 95 pages, though, is not just in providing sound pragmatic advice to get the educatoradministrator through the next IT staffing crisis or budget round. Teaching and learning is being radically transformed by the continually accelerating convergence of digital processing and communication technologies. A strategic overview of what this might mean as well as a real vision of the potential of these emerging technologies is now a vital necessity for any educational leader.

Richard Choat is head of maths and ICT at Catford pupil referral unit, south-east London

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