If it's broke, who will fix it?

9th June 2000 at 01:00
Having difficulty with a computer is one of the most frustrating experiences in our technological society. It's rather like waiting with a broken-down car at the side of the road. You're not going anywhere unless someone can help you on your way, so that someone is very special. Even more special when you realise that the analogy isn't complete. You could be waiting at the side of that road, or information superhighway, not because your car is faulty, but because you didn't realise that you couldn't drive properly.

So the person who puts you back on that road, with sound directions to help you on your way, is someone to cherish. And we want you to tell us who they are so they can be rewarded in the first TESBECTA ICT in Practice Awards, sponsored by BT. Eight teachers or support workers will be awarded - to the tune of pound;2,500 each, with an extra pound;2,500 going to their school or organisation. We want to promote and reward exemplary ICT work by teachers, lecturers, trainers and advisers, and highlight practices that can be replicated elsewhere.

Teachers are often under enormous pressures and coming to terms with information and communications technology is often another burden. These awards, the first of their kind, are our way of helping teachers forward with as little frustration and pain and possible. So please help us help you. Nominations have to be made through the BECTA website by Friday July 28, and presentations will be made by Dvid Puttnam at the BETT show in January 2001. For more information, and details of who should place nominations, go to www.becta.org.ukpracticeawards.

The end of term is in sight, just the other side of the anxiety and possible trauma of testing and examinations. June isn't the time for us to help teachers with what's already under way, so we've assigned Online writers to tune in to summer. Our cover feature (page 10) looks at summer activities that use and develop ICT, and we try to walk the line between duty and pleasure. We're also aware of the need to prepare for the next academic year so there's advice and suggestions from our contributors, like advice on drawing up timetables using computers (page 30).

Many of us will play catch-up over the break, and websites throughout cyberspace will be getting attention. It's a real problem in education where teachers and those who support them have every right to expect superb resources and advice available for them on the Web. Sadly, progress has been slow. Government agencies have been among the slowest, so it's good to see the culture changing. The QCA has revamped its website (www.qca.org.uk), making it much easier to reach its resources.

Some might say "about time too", but Online appreciates the difficulties of change, so it's good to see influential bodies respond to needs and realise that they have to provide support as well as make demands.

Have a great summer!

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