Including an element of ICT can be a daunting prospect for some teachers. Mention the term ‘ICT’ and it can conjure up images of students being let loose in an ICT suite, the dangers of students going off task and finding a cheeky game instead of focus on the carefully prepared task you have spent hours on. That is not even mentioning what can be unwittingly thrown up on a search engine. I never forget a story from my old Deputy Head who had a lesson which demanded students to design a poster for a pantomime [well, it was Christmas] and one student went on Google and looked up ‘Puss in Boots’ ……. what came up made my Deputy Head never to venture into the ICT suite again. Challenges can be more practical, certainly for me trying to book a slot into any ICT suite is a major difficulty.
However, Mark Anderson – or as he is known by his Twitter legend @ICTEvangelist – tackles many of the issues of including elements of ICT in his first book in a skillful and approachable fashion. Like the other volumes in Independent Thinking Perfect series, this is a short but valuable guide on an important issue in education which you can easily pick up and dip into or read cover to cover quickly but always ensuring that you pick up a little gem which you can drop into your teaching with minimal effort.
The book and approach is most definitely forward looking which some schools may find a challenge. For example, it gives a balanced assessment of using mobile technology in lessons which certainly gives food for thought. I particularly liked the methodology on how ICT can enhance literacy skills and this books offers alternative approaches with using ICT as a support to help students make progress in their literacy skills – a big focus in the current Ofsted framework. I also enjoyed how he saw the use of word clouds in lesson – a particular personal interest of mine.
The book is structured thematically and is comprehensive in the issues it touches upon from social media to e-safety. Each chapter gives reference to outstanding practice in a wide range of schools and has useful top tips section as a summary at the end. This is most handy when you are looking for an idea or theme. I particularly liked the attention given to Twitter as a tool to develop CPD. @ICTEvangelist guides an excellent easy to follow guide on how to set up a Twitter account either for a school or for an individual and gives a good overview on how it can useful to teachers. Twitter is a growing tool for many teachers interested in developing themselves in the days of cuts to CPD budgets in schools.
A very much recommended book and a worthy addition to my personal CPD library.