Making use of the web;Cross-phase;Reviews;Technology

23rd April 1999 at 01:00
EXPLOITING THE INTERNET AS AN INFORMATION RESOURCE IN SCHOOLS. By James E Herring. Library Association Publishing pound;24.95.

Educationists charged with bringing IT into the learning process will welcome this handy, up-to-date book, written by a former school librarian who has taken a special interest in the effect of Internet technology on the British school curriculum.

Schools face challenging times as digital communication technologies pervade the home, business and industry.

Recent research suggests most schools in developed countries outside the United States have only one or two connections to the Internet and that few have networked access, which would allow individualised use of the World Wide Web by a whole class of students. This situation is likely to change rapidly in the next few years as initiatives such as the National Grid for Learning come to fruition.

In this context James Herring's thoroughly researched text provides a vital overview of the Internet's enormous potential as a research tool as well as some cautionary notes about the sheer mass of information on the web, some of which is of dubious quality and provenance.

Teachers will particularly appreciate the references to useful websites with links to resources for the teaching of English, science, geography, history and art as well as case studies drawing on the experiences of colleagues in related subject areas. IT specialists, librarians and school managers will value the practical guidance on issues from developing strategies and policies for the acceptable use of a such a highly open-ended resource to the technical and support implications of managing a school intranet.

In an era when each newly-qualified teacher is required to have a significant level of IT competence, but the current IT national curriculum makes no mention at all of the Internet, keeping abreast of emerging learning technologies has become a professional necessity. This volume is a real help to that end.

Richard Choat is head of information and communication technology at William Ellis School, north London

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