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Indispensable Teacher's Gude to Computer Skills

Reviews for The Indispensable Teacher’s Guide to Computer Skills (Second edition)
Linworth Publishing, 2002

From Book Report and Library Talk, Sept/Oct 2002.
It is a well-known fact that many teachers are reluctant to embrace technology. In this second edition of Doug Johnson’s book, (updating the 1998 edition), the author unequivocally states that this reluctance or refusal is no longer acceptable. Written for teachers and technology trainers, it describes practical technology skills for effective classroom teaching and administration. The book is divided into six parts: Critical Components of Effective Staff Development, Basic Computer Skills, Internet Skills for Teachers, Rubrics for Restructuring, Rubrics for Leadership, Assessing Staff Development Efforts in Technology, and Examples and Handouts. Johnson describes the importance of computer access, staff development, time to practice using technology, good support, and an encouraging atmosphere. His “Seven Qualities of Effective Technology Trainers” includes the directive that trainers never touch a learner’s mouse or keyboard. Much of his advice for technology training is common sense: make sure you have good software, make labs available for training, involve librarians in decision-making and training, teach searching and evaluation skills, etc. Johnson covers everything from basic computer operation to network use, e-mail, multimedia, grade management, web page construction, and ethics. Short, two-page chapters provide homework suggestions, training by level, class objectives, rubrics, and bulleted important points. The last chapter, Examples and Handouts, includes the ISTE Educational Technology Standards, NETS Technology Standards for All Students, Technology Standards for Administrators, a Teacher Proposal for Using Technology, Self-Evaluation Rubrics, and other important and useful forms. This book is essential for teachers, administrators, and librarians as well as for instructional technology specialists and support personnel. Highly Recommended.

from Children’s Software & New Media Revue, May/June 2003.
They really got this book’s title right. 195 pages are crammed full of indispensable information schools will find useful in training their staff to be computer literate. … The book is easy to use, and notable in that it explains to teachers the rationales and practical uses of each new skill they learn.

Reviews for The Indispensable Teacher’s Guide to Computer Skills
Linworth Publishing, 1999

From LIBRARY LANE Volume 8, No.2 Spalding University April 1999

Why is it imperative that teachers become computer literate? Why aren’t more teachers computer literate? These questions open discussion in The Indispensable Teacher’s Guide to Computer Skills: A Staff Development Guide. Author teacher Doug Johnson introduces this work by sharing with the reader the thrill he felt when the word processor released him from the tyranny of the mimeograph machine, and states that his purpose is to help other teachers develop this feeling of power. Following a chapter of guidelines for designing an effective staff development experience are chapters on the Basic CODE 77 Skills, Internet skills rubrics for developing advanced skills, assessment techniques, and examples and handouts. The thought-provoking quotes that open each chapter in this title from Linworth Publishing are a delightful enrichment to this worthwhile tool. 1999.


The author of this book worked as a secondary school teacher and a library media specialist and is knowledgeable about computer use in both the educational system and the classroom. As the author writes in the introduction, he is trying to find “ways to empower teachers by describing practical technology skills they can and want to use, and want to share with their students.” The user-friendly text is divided into 5 chapters: “Critical Components of Staff Development,” “The Basic CODE 77 Skills,” “Internet Skills for Teachers,” “Rubrics for Restructuring; the Advanced CODE 77 Skills,” and “Assessing Staff Development Efforts in Technology.” The book is not a do-it-yourself manual. That is it does not provide the user step-by-step instructions to, for example, send or receive e-mail or design a Web page. In its primary role this book provides a framework for someone teaching a computer class to give the step-by-step instructions to the participants of that class as they sit in front of the computer workstation.

Although great numbers of teachers have embraced computer technology, there is (and perhaps always will be) a portion of the teaching population for whom the mere mention of the word “computer” raises anxiety to uncomfortable levels. This teaching manual can serve both populations well. It is designed primarily as a detailed guide for the teaching of an in-service to other teachers, and secondarily, as a source of additional computer functions for the individual teacher.

In its primary role the text provides a manual for someone knowledgeable about computer technology to teach classes to those less informed. Each subject addressed within the chapter includes a preliminary self-assessment section, followed by objectives, length of lesson, operations to be studies, teacher and student needs, hints for what to include in a portfolio, and homework suggestions. There are also suggestions for advanced skills. Scattered throughout the text are flow charts illustrating how various procedures operate. Within the last chapter and the appendix are representative forms an instructor may use to help assess the class needs and progress, including a class evaluation form.

In its secondary role, that of allowing a teacher with computer knowledge to enhance skills, the checklists provided offer the teacher ways for self assessment and improvement and ways in which computer opportunities may be made more readily available for students.

This book can provide a useful reference for the teacher of a school in-service or the library media specialist interested in sharing expertise with other members of the staff, as well as being of value for teachers with a need to refine their schools. It will be a valuable addition to most school libraries.——Craig A. Munsart

From Teacher Librarian, December 1999

Anyone who has heard Doug Johnson speak at a state or national convention will settle right in for another, informative, thought-provoking approach to training teachers on computer skills. This book’s format is straightforward and easy to read. There is a short first chapter to set the stage, develop the philosophy of training and convince administrators and boards to promote teacher staff development in the area of technology.

The following two chapters outline 20 specific lessons ranging from basic computer operation to ethical use to real-time and push technologies for teacher training sessions.

In further chapters, staff development sessions focus on integration planning and rubrics are addressed with a wide variety of samples. Additionally, the author shares his home district’s brochures for publicity, registration, assessment, board presentations and personal program and building level assessments.

Bottom line: Although “this is how we do it,” so many usable items and user-friendly approach make it recommended. Erlene Bishop Killeen

Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 at 09:39AM by Registered CommenterDoug Johnson in | CommentsPost a Comment

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