Reporter 441, 25 October 1999
Pupils at a local primary school are among the first in the world to get their hands on the latest computer technology, thanks to a new University research project. Glusburn County Primary is one of just three schools in Europe to be fitted with pioneering equipment - allowing the five and six-year olds on different computers to share ideas, drawings and sounds.
Children and teachers at the Skipton school are helping the University research team in computer-based learning design software to support literacy development and group learning.
The new technology aids the infants' story writing by prompting them with suggestions for characters and situations.
It also includes a giant touch-sensitive screen which pupils can operate with fingers or a light-sensitive pen. Similar equipment is being tested at schools in Portugal and Germany under a Europe-wide programme aimed at developing a state-of-the-art computerised classroom for early learners.
"The technology is not aimed at replacing books," said University researcher Paul Brna. "It is a way to complement them. It will help children to concentrate on their activities without so much wait and delay." The school will be allowed to keep the equipment when the eighteen-month project finishes.
The school also hopes to extend its use to involve parents, many of whom have computers at home.
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