ICT is a key skill for life – that is what the DfES are telling us. It is up there with numeracy, communication, working with others, improving own learning and problem solving as part of the ‘Key Skills’ package. ICT is among exulted company and appears to be one of the few skills that is recognized as utterly indispensable for a successful career path.
However, ICT fits a little insecurely within this list. There is no denying that new technologies are part of our life, but can we actually call them a ‘key skill’? The other members of that list do speak for themselves and hold up as deserving the title, they really are that vital.We know that students prefer to use ICT and that it can engage them, so if we begin to use it creatively and unpick the skills involved in creating a digital movie, using motion paths in PowerPoint or contributing to a Wiki, we end up with the essential ingredients for a lesson.Once we accept this we can make significant leaps forward. When we use ICT as part of the educational process we get exciting results.
This website looks at ICT from the perspective discussed above. It outlines how to use a number of software packages and applications, for example Adobe Flash or Microsoft PowerPoint, and shows the user how to get the most out of them. It champions their use in the classroom as a way of engaging pupils and enhancing their learning, but, above all, it clearly roots the use of these tools within the classroom education.
We have a longstanding interest in ICT and are very guilty of boring colleagues with the latest gadgets and new sites that offer a unique angle into a topic. But, all of this is done through a desire to improve the basic learning skills of the students we teach. Therefore, each application we have included in the pages that follow is explained through the language of a secondary school lesson. We want to show you how ICT can excite your students and lift a lesson, but we also want to leave you clear plenary where you can discuss how objectives were achieved and what broader skills were enhanced.
Now, go get geeky.
Johannes Ahrenfelt works as County Adviser for Learning and Teaching with ICT. He is also in close contact with teacher training institutions in the East of England where he offers his expertise in ICT, History and pedagogy.
Neal Watkin is an Advanced Skills Teacher and Lead Practitioner in Gifted and Talented Education. He regularly delivers INSET to teaching staff and PGCE/GTP students.