Desktop Publishing

The word-processor set many of us free. If you find writing a painfully slow process, the thought of redrafting an essay is an unrealistic nightmare. With a word-processor however, moving paragraphs, re-arranging the words of a sentence, trying out different words all suddenly make good sense.

If the word-processor gave us the tools to be authors though, it was the desktop-publisher that allowed us to become publishers. Suddenly, producing newslwetters, booklets and brochures became a realistic and affordable possibility. All this without having to go to a commercial printer and accept what was given to you after a delay of weeks.

DTP can be exciting, collaborative work. In a high school setting, producing a magazine or newspaper is a challenge that requires planning to get the best out of it. Writing copy needs to be delegated, proof-reading needs to take place. Someone has to be responsible for page layout and other design considerations. In the TES Newspaper Day competitions, it was also possible for us to work on multi-lingual newspapers. You might want to consider doing something similar.

As with all information literacy skills, performing research for an article, deciding what is relevant information, communicating it effectively are best developed in a practical context. Whether it is possible to teach the English language without addressing the way your students solve problems, organise information or express themselves is a question best left for the philosophers.

It is more relevant to ask whether the benefits accrued from developing a students skills in DTP warrant the effort and expense in introducing them to the technology in the first place. As with Logo, multimedia authoring and the use of the internet, I would maintain that this approach is worthwhile with students who are able to respond to the technology imaginatively.

Once the learning curve of using the software has been overcome, skills that might otherwise be overlooked can be worked on. The aesthetics of language, appropriate ways of getting attention, communicating the same information to different audiences are all issues that I would look at when delivering a course on DTP as an ICT specialist. However, they are essentially skills that are more concerned with the organisation and communication of information than merely operating a machine.


Logo - Multimedia Authoring - The Internet

Back to Index