By Nigel Paull

Australian Training Reform -Revised Edition: Implications for Schools
Publisher: Curriculum Corporation, Jack Keating 1998
ISBN: 1 86366 428 9
RRP: $24.95
SCIS order number: 944782
Designed to provide a broad description of the changes affecting vocational education and training particularly those relating to the new National Training Framework and with the post compulsory schools sector in mind, this is a valuable addition to the literature.

Jack Keating, well known for his extensive contributions particularly in the policy development area of VET, has compiled a highly readable account that will be of immense value to those new to the VET in schools scene, as well as to those wanting a handy, compact overview of the national training reforms.

Australian Training Reform begins by providing a succinct historical overview of vocational education in Australia leading to a more detailed examination of the causes of recent change. Keating's brief analysis of youth unemployment as a particular causative factor is compelling, as is his review of the impact of globalisation as a driving force for demanding a more skilled workforce.

His demystification of the Australian training system is easily one of the best to date, providing an elementary and logically presented summary of major structured elements that usefully link national, State and training provider/user levels in a practical statement.

Likewise, his review of competency as an integral feature of the VET reforms is compelling. In particular, the outline of competency standards as critical elements of the National Training Framework is impressive in its simplicity, as is the treatment of the training market. His overview of the National Training Packages, key components of the NTF, is equally clear and concise.

Keating's work has particular application to the school sector because it consistently attempts, usually successfully, to draw out implications for school-based VET from the wider discussion of training and training reform. Indeed one section is devoted to schools and training, examining the historical development of and the causative factors for vocational education emerging in senior schooling. In this there is a useful synthesis of major policy initiatives that have shaped the range of emerging models for VET in schools delivery. In addition the treatment of new apprenticeships in schools, both in the description of how they might work as well as in the delineation of emerging issues, like industrial relations and legislative impediments, is thoughtfully handled.

Australian Training Reform is supported by a useful range of statistical data, and a judicious use of summary information of key elements. A valuable list of resources is included, with an equally useful list of current contacts including relevant website addresses.

In all, this a highly recommended reference for that element of the school sector either moving to establish VET programs or who are involved but feel the need to get a better grasp of the al I VET agenda.

Reviewed by Mike Frost, Executive Officer, Vetnet Work, Tasmania First published in VETNET Worker, October Edition, 1998

This product is available from:
Curriculum Corporation
Tel: (03) 9207 9600
Fax: (03) 96391616
Email: [email protected]

Internet Sites for the Classroom 99
Publisher: Queensland Newspapers Ply Ltd
RRP: $17.95
ISBN: 0949381373
SCIS order number: 973194

Described as 'a visual snapshot of the best the Internet has to offer in 1999' this book is aimed at P-12 students, parents and teachers using the Internet in an educational context. Poppy Masselos, a Queensland teacher and educational columnist for The Courier Mail has compiled it. The websites she has included are not abstracted or reviewed, but grouped together according to subject. Many sites have their front page or graphics included with their address. Besides the sites dealing with key learning areas, useful inclusions for Teacher Librarians are sites on copyright, citing Internet resources, and searching techniques. The subject areas are clearly set out on the contents page, but an index would have been a most useful addition.

Reviewed by Nigel Paull, Editor, Connections

Lee, M, 'A new global education system' in Access, 13 (2) 1999, pp 15-16

Lee asserts that with the advent of inexpensive computers and home access to the Internet, a phenomenon has emerged during the past five years, that of a global education system. He suggests schools remain locked in the Industrial Age, while this new 'Internet education system' is helping provide the necessary education for students in the Information Age. The similar educational methods and attributes that this increasing number of young people across the globe possess are highlighted, together with some of the implications for governments, schools and Teacher Librarians.

Reviewed by Nigel Paull, Editor, Connections

Newman, A, 'Technology and the secondary school teacher librarian: A principal's perspective' in Scan, 18 (2), May 1999, pp 36-38

The key role secondary Teacher Librarians will have over the next few years is examined by a secondary principal. He predicts an increasingly important aspect of the role to be the implementation of technology in the school and assisting both staff and students to develop the requisite skills to take advantage of the opportunities technology presents. Issues he highlights that need addressing include equity of access, purchasing policies, making acceptable use of data gathered, currency and validity of information, and setting appropriate assignments.

Reviewed by Nigel Paull, Editor, Connections

Sheahan-Bright, R, 'It's a supermarket: Children's publishing and the mass market' in Magpies, 14 (2), May 1999, pp10-13

Sheahan-Bright analyses the global trends that are impacting on children's publishing. She examines the influences that conglomeratisation, globalisation and electronic forms of publishing are having on the industry and what this means for children's publishing. Other key issues she investigates include the propensity of publishers to publish 'series' books, marketing and market pressures, merchandising, and risk minimisation.

Reviewed by Nigel Paull, Editor, Connections

Van Os, T, 'A wonderful site' in Australian Educator, 23, Autumn 1999, pp32-33

Many schools that have successfully tapped the Internet as a source of information are now making use of its potential to disseminate their own information by creating a school home page. Rather than a mere presence on the Internet. Van Os outlines the educational benefits of developing an active, well-structured site for the entire school community. The flow on from this could lead to a change in teaching styles and ultimately how education is delivered.

Reviewed by Nigel Paull, Editor. Connections

NIgel Paull

Nigel Paull