1.2 Goals of this Document
Computers can be used by students in a number of ways:
The use of computers in schools can be integrated into the fabric of the school in many ways. All that is needed is to establish a basic thorough grounding and this can be done with very little emphasis on computers as a subject in themselves. Instead the computer can be simply be picked up and used as a tool to accomplish tasks as required.Many of the projects outlined here belong more properly in the syllabus of other subjects - but they are given a place in this document so that teachers can be sure that the prerequiste computer literacy is acheived to allow the students to use the computer to acheive goals and solve problems in other areas without being frustrated by gaps in their knowledge and skills. All this material is covered in the following three Chapters, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced IT (Information technology). However it became apparent when writing these chapters that many of the problems associated with introducing IT into the classroom had to do with the infrastucture that was required to implement these changes, and the policy required to guide the development of the infrastructure. Policy needs a vision of the future for which to aim. Not an idealogical vision but a practical view of what the world is going to be in 5, 10 or 15 years, this being the effective target world of todays students when they emerge as school leavers. This vision is constructed by looking at current trends and developments and projecting them into the future. The results are quite astonishing, astonishing enough to compel us to rethink the whole process of what education is. So why not place this as the first Chapter? The implications of the Future are so discursive as to distract us from the meat and potatoes job of getting on with the present, and so act as a distraction from the achievement of the primary goals of webscool. But the Future cannot be ignored because it implies fundamental change in our social structure with a huge array of hidden dangers. So a discussion of the Future forms a bridge between the "meat and potatoes" at the beginning and the final two chapters on infrastructure.
The last two Chapters on Policy and Infrastructure provide a critical view of current policy and implementation initiatives at government and at school level and some constructive methods for addressing potential failure in these areas. They attempt to outline necessary conditions for the successful implementation of IT in schools and management of the infrastructure that will build up as a consequence.
Many teachers may be wondering just what IT is and how we come to be so concerned about it, and what is so new about it, that it invades the school curriculum like some rampant fungus. A brief history is in order. This history is also used as material in projects and exercises later on.