Luckily, help is at hand. For all those information-technology-phobics taking a tentative peep at these pages, The TES has commissioned a quiz designed to let you measure your awareness of all IT-related issues in schools.
Just answer truthfully, tot up your score at the end and discover whether you're ready to become IT co-ordinator in your school or whether you're still stuck in a pre-Sinclair Spectrum time-warp.
1 You're having trouble loading the latest CD-Rom on to your PC. What's the best solution: a: Read through the manual with greater care?
b: Ask Mr Evans from the IT department to have a look at it?
c: Ask Michael Thomas from the sixth form to load it for you?
2 Mr Wilson from the PE dept has lost all assessment records because his hard disc has crashed and he had failed to make a back-up copy. What is your reaction?
a: God, that was stupid: imagine not having a back-up disc?
b: Gosh, poor Tom. Mind you, I suppose it could have happened to me, because I've never bothered with a back-up disc either. Still, lightning's hardly likely to strike twice?
c: What's a back-up disc?
3 Your school's IT co-ordinator, Mr Evans, has been 45 minutes trying to sort out your department's word-processing program, which keeps crashing. What is the best way to offer assistance?
a: Sit quiet and offer an occasional cup of coffee?
b: Tell him what you think the problem might be?
c: Ask him if he's had a good look through the instruction manual?
4 What's the most exciting discovery you've made when working with your school's computer system this year?
a: the availability of a world-wide information web which you can surf on a regular basis during after-school hours?
b: a regular supply of games?
c: how to to indent paragraphs when word processing?
5 Your machine will not boot up. Where do you initiate your search to locate the fault?
a: check whether a systems loading error has occurred?
b: Mr Evans from the IT department?
c: The plug?
6 Imagine that you are the school's IT co- ordinator. Where is it best to keep the school's main computer system?
a: the library, where all departments can access it?
b: your room, where it won't get damaged?
c: your house, where you can make proper use of it at all times?
7 You catch some third-form pupils trying to access sex on the Internet. Do you: a: quietly let them proceed because they'll try it again when you're not looking anyway?
b: immediately restrict access from a central module?
c: Log on yourself in the hope that they'll find something more exciting than the last time you tried it yourself?
8 The head teacher asks what you think of Windows 95. How do you reply?
a: "To my mind, it's a stunning advance on previous versions"?
b: "I reckon it's an enormous marketing hype to make previously available, and perfectly acceptable, material fulfil its objective of planned obsolescence"?
c: "If I get one more double-glazing company telling me that they happen to be in my area and offering a no-obligation quota tion, I'll scream!" Well, that's it. Simple, wasn't it? Now add up your scores.
If you found yourself answering (a) most of the time, then it looks as if you're pretty clued up. Are you sure you're not an IT co-ordinator who's just done this quiz to prove what a smarty-pants you are? If most of your answers tended to be (b) then you've clearly got a nodding acquaintance with a number of IT issues. But nodding's about the length of it.
Sadly, if most of your answers were (c), then it appears that although you have a fairly down-to-earth approach to many school-based situations, it also looks as if you are a long way from adapting to the information revolution, and your chances of becoming IT co-ordinator are practically zero. Have you thought about buying an Amstrad PCW?