IT with attitude

20th February 1998 at 00:00
CREATIVE COMPUTING. Frances James and Ann Kerr. Belair Pounds 9.99.

TEACHING AT KEY STAGE 1 SERIES, Teaching IT Richard Bennett. Nash Pollock Pounds 9.99.

Computers can be magic. They can inspire and amaze us all. The only problem is that, as with any tool, what we create with them depends very much on our own skills.

Teachers have to be imaginative to teach well. However, being creative with computers takes time, experience and a good measure of patience. Here are two useful and inspiring books which will support the overworked primary teacher.

Creative Computing is full of stimulating ideas for using information technology in the classroom. As well as giving practical advice for introducing word-processing, database and spreadsheet programs, there are also ideas about how to introduce IT awareness ande-mail to young children - not the easiest of tasks.

The book takes a classroom approach, with clear photographs giving ideas for how to set up a computer area; how to teach young children word-processing techniques and example topics whichintegrate the use of IT, including setting up and monitoring a bird table and a study of the local environment. I particularly enjoyed the idea of putting a computer in an imaginative play area to emphasise the importance of computers in everyday life. For example, a simple database could be set up to record books taken out of a play library.

Teaching IT is very thorough, presenting a range of detailed case studies, exemplars, ideas and suggestions. It is rather more scholarly in its approach than Creative Computing, and, as well as providing ideas for activities across the curriculum, examines the IT curriculum in detail, both in relation to core subjects and in support of foundation subjects.

The author, who was a primary teacher for 18 years, also considers such issues as monitoring and assessing children's IT capability. Examples of IT schemes of work for key stage 1, advice on school-based in-service training and preparing for inspection are all here. There is a useful glossary and appendices with advice on hardware and software.

These books complement each other and would be useful for student teachers, as well as for the established teacher who wants to know more about IT. With a little inspiration, computers can make us all more creative.

Nicola Jones is an English and IT teacher

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