Special needs

9th June 2000 at 01:00

ICT has a great deal to offer pupils with special needs, although many teachers remain uncertain about how to turn this into practice and maximise the benefit of technology for individual pupils.

Colin Hardy's thoughtful book provides an excellent overview of the benefits of ICT for special needs pupils and offers a sound rationale for ICT use to guide teachers. It encourages a reflective approach underpinned by appropriate discussion of educational theory.

The mismatch between pupil and curriculum is used as a basis for exploring the potential of ICT. The concepts of automaticity, sociability, provisionality, capacity and interactivity are explored and form a basis for developing a rationale for the use of ICT in the special needs area, supported by a useful diagrammatic model. This theoretical section of th book both challenges the reader to develop a personal perspective on learning and ICT use, and supports this work.

The book is also practical, focused and well structured, providing teacher activities as a basis for analysis and reflection. There is a range of instructive pupil case studies which illustrates pedagogically sound applications of ICT, provides advice and guidance on conducting an ICT assessment and gives examples of staff use of ICT.

Teachers will also find the links to the national curriculum and the comprehensive guidance on the perennial issue of software evaluation valuable.

This is a clearly written and readable book which provides useful guidance for all teachers on the use of ICT with special needs pupils which should be part of the staff development resources of all schools.

Les Watson is director of information resources at Glasgow Caledonian university

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