Prepare for the next century;Reviews;Arts;Secondary;Books

29th October 1999 at 01:00
LEARNING TO TEACH USING ICT IN THE SECONDARY SCHOOL. Edited by Marilyn Leask and Norbert Pachler. Routledge pound;14.99

With all the demands for a technologically literate workforce, schools are under pressure to incorporate information and communications technology into the curriculum, to train staff and to connect to the World Wide Web. This excellent collection of essays should prove invaluable to teachers of all levels of experience and anyone needing a guide to implementing ICT in an educational establishment.

Information technology offers a bewildering and beguiling set of possibilities for radically transforming the ways teaching and learning can happen - assuming, of course, that schools can afford to keep pace with developments and have sufficient technical support to keep hardware and software working. Teachers, confident and skilled in ICT, are the key to making this revolution a reality for more than a minority of the population.

The authors have wide experience of the practicalities of teaching using computers. There are chapters on classroom management, motivating pupils, using videoconferencing, the role of ICT in assessment and the potential of Integrated Learning Systems for teaching pupils with special educational needs. Throughout the book there are references to the use of the Internet for research and communication, which will be a national curriculum requirement for all secondary schools from next September.

Other sections take a broader look at the relevance of ICT to teachers' professional training as well as the use of these emerging technologies across the curriculum. These chapters will be genuinely useful to anyone trying to achieve a sensible perspective on the plethora of government initiatives such as the National Grid for Learning, the Virtual Teacher Centre and the new ICT curriculum for trainee teachers. The classroom of the 21st century will need to be a very different place from today if the enormous potential of ICT is to be realised.

Richard Choat is head of information and communication technology at William Ellis school, north London (part of the LaSWAP Sixth Form Consortium)

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