3Schools are connecting to the National Grid for Learning and teachers are being trained, but what software, materials and support will be out there for them? George Cole investigates the role of good content for the cyberschool generation, followed by a subject-by-subject stock-check
If you choose your Primary Schools ICT resources via the Internet and software catalogues with care, you will have a suite of engaging learning tools. Watch out if someone tells you: "The reference books in the school library and the reference CD-Rom collection have been untouched since we went online. We can get a picture, description, report, review or example of anything in seconds via the Internet!" You know you are hearing from someone who is either mistaken or remarkable.
It is obvious from the Ambleside website (http:www.ambleside.schoolzone.co.uk) that something remarkable is going on. Mark Robinson, the ICT co-ordinator, is clear: "Now we are not just into writing; we are into publishing". Ambleside primary school has a great website, it was one of the prize winners in the BECTA Website Awards. Headteacher David Raven-Hill realised that the world was changing after receiving a portable from BECTA.
Robinson caught the ICT bug and has been creating web materials since early 1998. "The website is a public version of our school intranet. It is a powerful tool that we make available to our studentsparents at home and anybody else who cares to log in," he says. "I often start to make web pages as I do class inputs, and the children finish them. Infants bring material to display on the web- site that they or their teachers like." Interested children have access to
the computers at all break times to create their own personal pages or use
the intranet. Children use it to post homework to school via email or
transfer files to home. Robinson likes to combine some other more
conventional tools such as spreadsheets with the Internet.
Surprisingly when asked what his favourite piece of technology was he chose
the website hit counters: "They constantly remind the children that there
is a real audience scrutinising their work!"
The BBC's is probably the best site available to primary schools.
Secret Agent is one of the best tools for making economical use of the Internet. Evaluation copies here.
Apple's imaginative free site, truly interactive.
ArgoSphere is a subscription site with some free material.
AngliaCampus is a subscription site of worksheets etc by teachers.
RM's commercial site of first class publisher materials brought together.
Teaching Ideas has a mixture of ideas, activities and worksheets.
Projects and a description of life on the16th century ship, Mary Rose.
Megamath. Useful ideas for teachers from Los Alamos Labs. Some accessible to young children.
Earth View allows you to choose how, when and where you view the earth - fully illustrates the wonder of the Web.
Textease Multimedia word processor, pound;85 from Softease.
Tel: 01335 343421 www.textease.com
Black Cat has a suite of data handling tools.
Tel: 01874 622114 www.blackcatsoftware.com
Superlogo, pound;44 from Logotron.
Tel: 01223 425558 www.logo.com
Inclusive Technology specialises in software and hardware for special education.
Tel: 01457 819790 www.inclusive.co.uk
RM Music Explorer for Key Stage 1, pound;99 from RM. Tel: 01235 826060
www.rmplc.netTel: 01264 342992
Maths Explorer, pound;59 from Granada Learning.
Flexidata 2, pound;48 from Flexible Software.
Tel: 01865 391148 www.flexible.co.uk
Science Fair, pound;40 from Sherston Software.
Tel: 01666 843200 www.sherston.co.uk
TAG Developments supply all the Broderbund CD-Roms.
Tel: 01474 357350 www.tagdev.co.uk
Hot Dog Junior, pound;49 from RM.
Tel: 01235 826060 www.rmplc.net