Headlines: January 10th, 2003

Schools and colleges are to benefit from a package of ICT measures which the government hopes will drive forward the revolution in digital learning. The Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, said the idea was to enhance traditional teaching practices and underline the central role of ICT in raising standards.The measures, which will be paid for from the investment in educational ICT announced in the spending review allocations last month, will include an extra 280 million pounds for e- learning credits and an additional 92 million pounds to develop College Online. There will also be 8 million for online training for teachers next year.

In addition, plans to ensure all schools have a broadband link by 2006 have been boosted by an extra 287 million pounds – on top of the 71 million already announced for next year – and another 195 million is being made available to provide more laptops for teachers over the next three years.

Mr. Clarke dismissed the views of those who questioned the value of ICT in teaching and learning. “We know that a choice of innovative and professional digital resources helps transform classroom practice. That’s why I am very pleased to announce that Curriculum Online is now fully open for business. The portal means a revolution in the way teachers can search, compare, select and share digital resources,” he said.

The Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has also announced her approval for the BBC Digital Curriculum, digital learning resource aimed at teachers, students and individual learners. A total of 18 conditions have been attached to the approval to make Digital Curriculum distinctive from and complementary to services provided by the commercial sector.

Mr. Clarke welcomed the move as an important step in offering the widest possible choice of teaching and learning resources to schools. The BBC system, he said, would complement his department’s own Curriculum Online service. tutors scheme.

He went on, “We have placed ICT at the heart of educational transformation because it enhances both the process and the product of education, empowering learners and helping teachers and lecturers innovate in the classroom. These measures will help teachers be creative and embed best practice for all.”