INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY IN LEARNING AND TEACHING. By Pat Maier and Adam Warren. Kogan Page pound;19.99. THE ART OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY FOR TEACHERS. By Richard Ager. David Fulton pound;13.
As someone who has worked (briefly) in primary schools, extensively in secondary schools, and for the past 16 years in higher education, I've always felt that the way in which education exists in separate compartments is unhelpful. There is little contact between professionals across phases and hardly any chance of learning from each other's experiences. With IT in particular, each phase seems to have to rediscover what works as we independently try to grapple with its application.
Although Integrating Technology in Learning and Teaching is predominantly written for the higher education sector, it has much to commend it to all teachers who are interested in ICT. Subtitled "a practical guide for educators", it engages the reader. It is structured more like an Open University course than a traditional text, presenting a range of activities as well as a wealth of supporting website references. There are four sections, which explore pedagogic frameworks applicable to open and distance learning, the design of learning environments, how to faciltate students' learning, and how to assess them.
There is also a website to support the book. It was still under construction when I looked, but it provides links to many of the websites listed in the book, and also has additional material on topics such as presentation techniques.
The key strength of this book is that it starts from learning rather than technology. It is a useful resource for teachers who have some experience of IT in education and wish to use it to improve student learning.
By contrast, The Art of Information and Communications Technology for Teachers aims to provide an essential grounding for teachers to make use of ICT in classrooms. It assumes nothing and covers the generic ICT topics that are part of the New Opportunities Fund training programme. Consequently, a lot of information is crammed into the 120-plus pages. There is a useful overview of teaching and learning with ICT that contains a brief look at relevant educational theory.
The book also gives a comprehensive review of software that can be used in educational settings and a whistle-stop tour of the potential for ICT in national curriculum subjects.
Les Watson is director of information resources at Glasgow Caledonian University