Making the connection

17th June 2005 at 01:00
Pam Turnbull looks at packs that link geography and ICT schemes of work

Technically Geography Resource packs Geographical Association, pound;29.99 each Tel: 0114 2960088

Opportunities for using ICT across the curriculum are often highlighted in the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's schemes of work and the Geographical Association has taken these suggestions further by releasing two packs - one for Years 1 and 2 and the other for Years 3 and 4.

The packs do not cover all the geography objectives, or the ICT ones, but concentrate on links which it is hoped will increase children's learning in both areas. For instance, the topic Where do I live? covers seven of the 20 lessons in this unit.

Beautifully produced, the packs guide and suggest rather than spoon-feed, and will be a boon to newly qualified teachers, or those reticent about making links between the two subjects. There is a book which provides advice, sample lesson structure (which could be in the classroom or on a field trip), planning, notes and resource lists as well as scaffold and photocopiable resources.

Accompanying these is a set of laminated cards, with details of lesson objectives, key questions, facts, resources, whole-class, group and independent activities, plenaries, assessment and extension materials.

The problem with such a package is that it steers clear of mentioning software which schools may not have or which will date the package. This is unfortunate as it means it doesn't mention programs written with these age groups and topics in mind.

The acid test is whether I would use this with my Year 3 class. The answer is yes, but with reservations. The authors seem to be more familiar with the geography than with the ICT schemes of work, and so flit around the latter. Rather than suggesting PowerPoint, word processing, music composition, databases and email - nearly the entire ICT curriculum for Year 3 - in one topic, it would have been better to concentrate on combining text and graphics alone, but in more varied ways; keeping additional links to a separate section as extension or individual project ideas.

The vague suggestions of what you could do may put off the computer-wary, thus defeating the object. This would be a huge shame, as the suggestions made in the pack are valid and imaginative, and don't restrict ICT to the computer but use cameras, scanners, audio records and so on, in practical ways.

Pam Turnbull is ICT co-ordinator, Heys Primary School, Ashton-under-Lyne

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