Publications;Hands on

15th October 1999 at 01:00
The Internet in School. by Duncan Grey. pound;12.99. Cassell Education.

FOR A medium that was hailed as the death knell of the written word, it's strange to consider that the arrival of the Internet has also produced an explosion of printed material. Some of the spin-off books are pointless, some are just out of date and a few are useful. The Internet in School, on the other hand, is a rare example of a book that really should be in every staffroom.

Very few teachers get around to writing books and even fewer write good ones. Duncan Grey has not only written a good book, he may well have written the definitive one on the use of the Internet in schools - well at least for this year.

At last, here is a book written by a highly-respected practising teacher from the UK, who has no axe to grind but simply knows what works in classrooms. And the common sense is evident on every page.

Beginning with an interesting but brief history of his subject, Grey moves on to provide a wealth of technical information in accessible, interesting and helpful language. Chapter headings like "Responsibility" and "Understanding" indicate the thought with which he has approached each topic, and the information on practical techniques and strategies is supported by a helpful glossary and appendices.

It's also the first ICT book I've seen that assumes there will be a power cut and tells you what to do when it happens. Most of all, though, this is a collection of advice from someone who has been there, and has already had a go at what many more teachers are now tentatively trying to do.

Of course, the march of progress has overtaken the necessarily slow process of book production in some cases - even the excellent accompanying website still lists some old addresses like BT Campus World - but the value of a book of this sort is not in the websites it mentions but in the activities it describes.

Grey points out towards the end of the book: "Only a fool predicts the future." Perhaps we should add that only a teacher with such experience and understanding can understand the present so well.

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