Online learning

9th October 1998 at 01:00
THE SCHOOLS' GUIDE TO THE INTERNET. By Peter McBride. Heinemann Pounds 9.99

USING THE INTERNET IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS. By Eta de Cicco, Mike Farmer and James Hargrave. Kogan Page Pounds 15.99

The Internet, claims Peter McBride, is the world's largest library. It goes without saying that such an extensive information resource will be useful to schools. These two books aim to give the background information needed by teachers to make best use of the Internet in the classroom. Like all technology-based resources, careful explanation of the concepts and technology is required.

Both these books put considerable effort into explaining the software needed and its use. They both provide useful information about the range of network services available from e-mail to the World Wide Web. But they do it in different ways.

Peter McBride uses the familiar screen shot format, often seen in information technology training materials. This approach gives busy pages with lots of information. De Cicco et al make some use of screen shots but have invested most of their effort in clear, concise explanation which anticipates the questions novice users will be asking themselves. While McBride's approach is good for reference purposes, de Cicco et al have produced a readable format that feels comfortable, friendly, and promotes under-standing and, through a liberal sprinkling of exclamation marks, makes the reader feel that the authors are thoroughly amazed by the wonder of it all.

Using the Internet in Secondary Schools is also a winner when it comes to the curriculum section. McBride's "Curriculum Areas" section points the reader to useful Web sites that have a particular curriculum focus such as history, art and music, but leaves the use of the material to the reader. The curriculum examples in this book link the resources identified to aspects of the national curri-culum at key stages 3 and 4, and gives ideas for classroom use.

Both books are useful resources, and good value for money. I recommend them both to staff wishing to familiarise themselves with on-line resources for learning.

Les Watson is dean of learning and information services at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education

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