25th February 2000 at 00:00
MANAGING ICT. By Terry Freedman. From the Effective Teaching Skills series (Ed Professor Trevor Kerry). Hodder amp; Stoughton pound;9.99. INTERACTIVE CHILDREN, COMMUNICATIVE TEACHING. By Deirdre Cook and Helen Finlayson. Open University Press pound;12.99.

For years, the successful use of ICT in classrooms was the preserve of the enthusiastic few. Now all schools are being urged, through high levels of government investment, to make the use of classroom computers a mainstream activity. For many this raises a wide range of management issues as well as challenges to classroom practice.

Managing ICT provides useful material for dealing with the management aspects. It has a clear focus on supporting those teachers charged with implementing ICT in schools and colleges.

Part of the Effective Teaching Skills series, this readable book has an underlying theme of "re-engineering learning". It provides sound, practical advice and prompts the reader by asking pertinent questions on checklists at the end of each chapter.

Support for classroom use comes in the form of Inset advice and suggestions for recording progression and achievement.

What is really pleasing is that the author avoids a narrow technological perspective and combines the people and curriculum issues with technoloical considerations, giving a holistic view of ICT management. Whether you read it from cover to cover or use it for reference, Managing ICT represents little outlay for a lot of help.

Classroom practice in the primary school is explored in Interactive Children, Communicative Teaching, by Deirdre Cook and Helen Finlayson. Effective learning is the underlying theme of this book, which looks at how learning can be managed and supported with ICT in primary schools.

Cameos - mini case studies that describe a range of situations from the learner or teacher viewpoint - are used at the beginning of each chapter, with research findings and academic writing underpinning the discussion.

Each chapter ends with a useful summary and practical points to consider. Practice and theory are well integrated to provide a text that is readable and thought-provoking, yet practical.

The book is good material for teachers and primary students striving to make effective use of ICT in the classroom. If computers are to make a real difference to learning, teachers needto take an analytical approach to the learning experiences of the pupils and reflect on the appropriate application of technology. Interactive Children, Communicative Teaching can help them do this.

Les Watson

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