Teaching me, teaching you

3rd January 2003 at 00:00
Good resources help both teachers and pupils to learn. George Cole looks at the best on show at BETT

Knowing what you have got to teach is one thing; knowing how to do it is quite another. For ICT teachers there is a wealth of products and services designed to help them help their students develop the knowledge and skills to use ICT across the curriculum.

A good starter is the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's National Curriculum in Action site (www.ncaction.org.uk), which the QCA will be heavily promoting at BETT. The website uses pupils' work and case study material to show what the National Curriculum in ICT looks like (stand Y60).

RM (stand D50, E50) is launching ICTAlive, which is designed to prepare pupils to use ICT throughout the curriculum. ICTAlive is aimed at key stages 1 and 2 and has more than 30 study units broken down into 155 lessons covering many topics including word processing, control technology and creating a bespoke application for music. There are also teacher tools designed to help with the planning, preparation and assessment of ICT. Window Box owners can buy a one-year licence for pound;60, otherwise it costs pound;80.

The internet can be a great teaching resource, but it's easy for pupils to wander off to irrelevant websites. Counterpoint MTC (Z18) has high hopes for its new product iLessons Junior (price TBA). The program is based around Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) web browser and allows teachers to focus pupil attention on specific websites and pages. Using iLessons, teachers can visit websites and click on the ones that are appropriate to the lesson. A resource collector tool allows teachers to collect text, images and links and drag-and-drop them to a lesson resource collector. Pupils can also click on resources and then save, print or even email them to their teacher.

At this year's BETT, there will be some new and interesting hardware including the Tablet PC (see p18) and AlphaSmart (Z70) will show Dana (pound;299), which the company describes as the first Palm OS-based laptop alternative for the education market. The AlphaSmart 3000 portable computer will be shown with the new Beamer SmartApplet (pound;180 together), which allows information to be beamed between infrared-enabled Alpha-Smart 3000 devices.

There will also be many software tools like Granada Learning's (E40F40) Granada Writer 3, a new version of its talking word processor and desktop publishing package (pound;79). This includes Granada Smartbank, a resource bank containing pictures, sounds and video that pupils can import into their documents. BlackCat's Spider (F40) is an easy-to-use web page creator that incorporates graphics and publishing tools (pound;49).

Many useful ICT resources are still available on good old fashioned paper, and Heinemann (Y10) will be showing its e-Quals series of booklets designed for the City and Guilds Level 1 Certificate. There are eight titles in the series (pound;6.99) including Using the Internet, Desktop Publishing and Presentation Graphics. PFP Publishing (PZ30) will have the ICT Coordinator's File 5, which has articles and advice on a wide variety of topics, from Getting Started with Excel 2000 to simple ideas for ICT and History.

George Cole is an education and technology freelance writer, who was a secondary school teacher for 13 years.

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