Pete Roythorne gets to grips with a book ... no, really

12th May 2006 at 01:00
I wouldn't normally use this column as an advert for somebody's book, but then George Cole's 101 Essential Lists for ICT in the Classroom is a little different. George, a fellow TES contributor, has been writing about ICT in education for many years and this book distils his knowledge into a handy companion.

As the name suggests, it's a book of lists on pretty much everything you would want to know about introducing ICT into your lessons, ranging from basic questions such as: "Why do we use ICT in the classroom?", through to more complex issues such as things to consider when setting up a school policy on IT usage and how to go about assessing software.

You don't get a blow-by-blow account of exactly how to do things - that would take a book on each issue - but what you do get is George's tips on what issues to consider. Whether you're a seasoned ICT pro or a relative newcomer to the subject, there's something in here for you - it even offers advice for pupils and parents, with lists of useful websites for all three categories.

The book is divided into 10 chapters, each covering a different area, such as The Hardware, Keeping ICT Safe and Secure, and Using ICT for Creativity.

In each chapter there are lists of things to consider for the various key issues. For example, in the chapter Going Online, there's a section about using the internet in a lesson. Here, George's tips range from, "Make sure you have a good reason to go online", to asking: "Do you want your pupils to explore the internet or go to predefined sites?"

You may think these are obvious issues, but when you're planning to use ICT in a lesson you don't want to get caught off-guard, so consider it a checklist as much as an advice centre.

There are also sections on how to make ICT work in English, maths, science, humanities, languages, art and design, music, PE and RE, with good lists of useful websites for each subject.

It's also not short of humour, which is good when you're dealing with the vagueries of ICT. The Home Truths section includes such gems as: "If anything can go wrong it probably already has", and "Computers always work perfectly until the pupils arrive". And there's a very good section on what to do when things do go wrong, which doesn't include the word "panic".

If you're new to ICT this book will give you confidence. If you've been at it for a while, it will still prove a source of inspiration. This is a must for both young and old!

* 101 Essential Lists for Using ICT in the Classroom. By George Cole. Continuum Books. pound;8.99.

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