Internet insights

31st March 2000 at 01:00
THE NATIONAL curriculum does not say much about the motor car. But children's lives are often dominated by it.

James Wickham, a Dublin sociologist, has looked at data from 40 cities worldwide and observes that in the worst cases, car dependency leads to a kind of social exclusion.

He writes: "Children cannot ride a bicycle to school or play on the street, since cars have made these activities too dangerous."

Segregating cars and pedestrians and providing children with road safety lessons certainly saves lives. But it doesn't restore the freedoms enjoyed by earlier generations. His report The Car System in the City, is at:

www.tcd.ieerccarsreports.html

But he isn't completely pessimistic. He concludes that political and community leaders can make city life better for children if they have the determination and support.

His analysis is part of a wider European project called Scenarios for Sustainable Technology which can found at:

www.tcd.ieerccarsindex.html

WHAT are the secrets of success when using computers to help with basic learning in primary classrooms?

A new study suggests that teachers succeed when they use technology in ways that atch their own teaching style.

They need a clear idea of what the chldren are learning with the

computer and should be aware of how the computer is helping.

Children must be confident in using the machinery when they are tackling curriculum material and the networks and printers need to work whenever they are needed.

It also helps if spare bits and pieces (like ink cartridges) are not missing when the class reaches a crucial stage.

These tips (and many more) come from a research project led by David Moseley and Steve Higgins from the University of Newcastle.

The research team interviewed and observed teachers who are already making computers work for their pupils. The project was commissioned by the Teacher Training Agency and a summary of the researchers' results is on-line at:

www.ncl.ac.ukeducationttaictsummary.html

The full report includes 12 case studies, covering the nuts and bolts of numeracy and literacy teaching (like the use of the apostrophe). It can be downloaded from:

www.ncl.ac.ukeducationttaictcontents.html

Readers can e-mail suggestions on future Internet Insights to Sam Saunders at J.P.Saunders@leeds.ac.uk


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