By Jack Kenny
I always turn to the end of a review to read the conclusion first. I will save you the trouble: this book is very good and is well worth acquiring. Now I'll tell you why.
ICT has been around in our schools for a quarter of a century; in the outside world it has changed our lives. Every child now in school has only known an ICT-rich world. How strange to them many schools where ICT is peripheral must seem. A task for everyone is to make the world of school seem less strange to children and, consequently, a better place for learning.Education futurist Chris Yapp writes the foreword to the book. He is sure that ICT is not about raising standards but about changing culture. He talks about the old mistaken notion that ICT should be restricted to science and maths. Chris believes that time has shown that the arts and humanities are where the most exciting innovations are. He proposes a new Renaissance.
John Davitt's book (now an ebook on Amazon) is one step on the way. It is realistic about the state of many schools where ICT is the fiefdom of compulsive gatekeepers. There are suggestions about how to combat such obstructions. However, there is much more: intensely practical examples. Matching technology to learning style; broadcasting to other schools; how not to use a whiteboard; making the best use of light in the classroom; thinking about the photocopier; ICT metaphors; animation and so on and so on...
John likes controversy. Think about this if you are considering schools for the future: "A simple test question for the school of the future might well be, how close is its drama department to the centre of this school, both physically and figuratively?" Discuss!
There are criticisms. In the opening pages you might suffer from intellectual indigestion as names, quotes and references are piled in. However, one name that is curiously absent is Seymour Papert. Most of the thinkers mentioned in the booklet owe a great deal to that pioneer and evangelist.
None of this should deter you from buying probably the best introduction to ICT in learning. Now it is available too from Amazon.com to work on Kindle. It will also work on the iPhone or it can be read on a PC though the Kindle software. All very appropriate for a work dealing with new tools.
New Tools for Learning: Accelerated Learning Meets ICT
Book/ebook by John Davitt. Network Educational Press (ISBN 185539 1317), £19.99