The book of the month
Oxford University Press
Aimed at primary and secondary school teachers, this highly practical 104-page guide provides a clear, accessible overview of the field and avoids the use of technical language. It includes over 70 classroom ideas. Now that educational technology has come of age, it is interesting to note that many tools included here have been around for some time: email, instant messaging, blogs, wikis, podcasts and social networking.
The book also covers new developments, like adaptive learning, where software ‘adapts’ to individual students’ input, providing a more personalised learning experience. The author is balanced, describing both the advantages and drawbacks of various technologies. In this fast-moving area, he is not seduced by the latest ‘wow’ thing, but instead, links the different technologies to sound pedagogy. Highly readable.
Reviews in brief
The fourth edition of the well-known COBUILD grammar takes a functional approach. The ten chapter titles are not transparent, and users will need time to work out how the content is organised. For example, chapter one is called ‘Referring to people and things’ and covers nouns, pronouns and determiners. The book’s strength is the use of authentic examples, taken from the Collins corpus, which now contains over 4.5 billion words. The book includes many useful lists of areas like three-word phrasal verbs. It is over 550-pages long, aimed at B1+ learners and is best used for reference or in-depth study.
Optimise consists of an impressive range of course components, including an online resource centre which contains so-called ‘Talk2me’ videos. Using a ‘flipped learning’ approach, students can work through the accompanying listening tasks before coming to their face-to-face class. The twelve unit course provides varied and engaging content. I especially like the colourful Vocabulary Reference section, which subdivides the lexis covered into various groups to help users with word formation, idiom, word patterns and collocation. Like other levels in the series, the book provides a wealth of exam-taking tips. The B2-level of this course was reviewed here earlier this year. Recommended.
Reviews by Pete Sharma for Bournemouth English Book Centre: www.bebc.co.uk