16th April 1999 at 01:00
ICT development is not just about learning to use the computer, it's also about a sense of necessity and success. If adults and children routinely use computers to write, design, display and complete tasks it helps to secure that culture.

More machines improve access but don't guarantee usage. "Turn up, turn on" is a useful slogan to maximise your computer activity. Once switched on, use the computer from dawn to dusk, regardless of the lesson. Forget ideology: get children to use it non-stop to experience printing, thinking and playing.

Forget computer corners. Put the technology near dictionaries, the board and other learning tools. Provide Tool-kit and current interest software. A basic Tool-kit simply means a ready-to-go supply of writing, graphics and reference software. Current interest software might include reading development material, CD-Roms on a class topic or database materials.

Giving every child a floppy disk sounds cavalier, but is a highly symbolic, low-cost promotion. It suggests a medium as everyday as books for storing work. There's also the bonus of children wanting to get work done.

A class or school focus on ICT can work well. Something as simple as a map-work week demonstrates ICT potential to good effect. Graphics programs for younger children produce great fantasy maps, while older pupils have a wide choice of adventures, simulations or grid-based maths explorations.

Consider quick fixes for less confident colleagues. How much difference can 100 minutes make? Share software for 10-minute feedback sessions at every staff meeting for 10 weeks. In this way, you share problems, expertise and get more people involved.

Jealousy is under-rated as a spur for training. In a group where interest varies, invest time and energy where you know you'll get results. Others will come along as they see what can be achieved by the front-runners.

It's essential for the ICT co-ordinator to share the burden. Every part of the curriculum should use ICT, so all postholders must take responsibility for applications in their respective areas of responsibility. Run out a short "How do you promote ICT?" questionnaire and advise further.

Trying to be the sole technician or advisor in the school also increases the risk of a breakdown - the machine's as well as your's. Technical backup is vital. Remind the head and governors that teacher time is horrendously expensive compared with computers and software that work first time.

Finally, set clear targets for developing your institution and individuals. If every Year 2 child should be acquiring core literacy and numeracy skills, then that is also the target point for ICT capability. Draft and implement a program of skills training along the lines of the National Literacy Project. Ensure all children can open, load, use or produce, save and return at a later date to their work.


1 Windows Notepad - as easy to use as it sounds 2 Windows Paint - use it as a design package 3 Windows calculator - practice use of number pad 4 Mathscard - instant number practice 5 Calabash Pirates - gridwork (pound;25.99 from Storm, tel: 01935 817 699) 6 Map Detectives - (pound;44.95 (exc VAT) from Sherston Software, tel:01666 843200) 7 Ordnance Survey helpline for simple map solutions, tel: 0845 605 0505 8 Find It! - structured database work (pound;25 from Appian Way, tel: 0191 373 1389) 9 Encarta CD-Rom encyclopedia (from Microsoft, pound;42.50, tel: 0345 002 000 10 Expectations in Information Technology at Key Stages 1 amp; 2, (from QCA,ISBN 1 85838 220 3)

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