Ollie Bray welcomes a practical new ICT handbook for teachers from a classroom expert

Rising Stars Essentials: ICT"Practical, professional problem solving for primary teachers" is how Rising Stars Essentials: ICT, written by Ian Addison and published by Rising Stars in association with the Guardian Teachers Network, describes itself. And it lives up to the promise.

As well as Ian's writing, the paperback publication also contains contributions from a number of well-known UK bloggers and tweeters involved in ICT in education, including Tom Barrett, Miles Berry, David Rogers, Mark Warner and Julian Wood.

Once thing for sure is that they have packed a lot into the 120 pages, and although the book is very ‘text heavy’ and relatively picture free (possibly for copyright reasons?), it certainly reads well. The main purpose of the book, I think, is to give readers an introduction to ICT and to get them thinking how it can be used to support all areas of the curriculum in a creative and productive way.

The themes of the book are split into 14 chapters and include Getting your classroom ready, Digital publishing, ICT and Maths, Presentations, Digital Imagery, Finding things out, Sound and Music, Animation and video, Game Design, Modeling and Simulation and Social Media.

There is also a section on other useful tools, which includes things like QR Codes, Avatars and Geo-caching. Finally, there is a section on how to do things that people need to do on a regular basis (such as shorten a URL or re-size a photograph) and a section highlighting useful links.

As you might imagine for a book with such an ambitious contents list, it is really more about breadth rather than depth. By this I don’t mean to devalue the publication: I have already explained that it's really a 'get started' guide to stimulate your imagination and to help teachers make more of ICT in the classroom.

60:40 technology-pedagogy split fine for intended readership

In terms of the balance between the focus on technology and on pedagogy I think the book achieves about a 60:40 split, and again this is absolutely fine for those who the book is aimed at.

In many ways the book reminds me of the Teach-IT resource from Do-Be ICT Training in Scotland that I contributed to a few years ago. One of the strengths of both of these resources is that, as well as providing practical and technical advice, they are also full of little ideas for professional to try. Ian Addison achieves this well though the use of coloured boxes as well as a useful section at the end of each chapter on "taking things further".

So, overall, this is a nice little publication to join the others in the Rising Stars "Essentials" series which also includes Phonics, SEN and History.

Well done Ian Addison and his team. This book is certainly a must for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) and anyone else who might be looking for some new ideas to just to brush up their ICT skills.

Rising Stars Essentials: ICT 
Paperback publication (120 pages) for teachers of children at key stages 1 (ages 5-7) and 2 (ages 7-11) by Ian Addison, published by Rising Stars in association with the Guardian Teachers Network.
ISBN: 9780857695864. RRP: £12.99
Available from Amazon.co.uk

Ollie BrayBased in the Cairngorms National Park, Ollie Bray works internationally with teachers, schools and governments to improve education outcomes for learners through the appropriate use of technology and the outdoors. He has been a senior policy adviser to government, school leader, head of department and is an award winning teacher. He is currently depute head teacher at Grantown Grammar School in the Scottish Highlands and a senior associate of ‘the-learning-crowd.’ 

He is a former Microsoft Innovative Teacher and active member of Microsoft Partners in Learning. He co-authored 'Windows 8 in Education' along with Gerald Haigh and Alan Richards (see "Microsoft opens up 'touch to learn'").
Ollie Bray's Blog 
Windows 8 in Education (ebook) 

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