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The advent of technology

"Me! Me! It's my turn! Let me do it please..." cries little Tommy, the boy who usually spends morning registration in a semi-sleepy daze. And he's not the only one. All the pupils are perched on the edges of their chairs, waiting with bated breath..

Enthusiastic children? First thing on a frosty winter morning? What is going on?

Actually, it's Sandy's turn. She clicks the mouse button and, with a flurry of bells and chimes, a giant exploding cracker appears on the board.

Everyone cheers - the countdown to Christmas is underway.

This year, our class advent calendar has gone techno. We have a homemade, live-action version on the interactive whiteboard, complete with top sound effects, moving cartoons and tumbling snowflakes.

I am particularly pleased because, not only have I finally overcome a few of my ICT misgivings, but it feels like a triumph over the myriad of gimmicky shop-bought alternatives - milk chocolate, plain chocolate, white chocolate, Barbie chocolate and even diet chocolate. Perhaps I have witnessed one too many advent calendar-induced tantrums, but this year I have taken a stand.

When I was little, I didn't need gimmicks to lure me in. I used to think it was magic when I opened the doors of my "traditional" paper calendar to find cheery little snapshots of trumpeting angels and roasting turkeys.

And then there was the double door of December 24 - bigger than the others and the most exciting. And yes, I did always break the seal before I was supposed to, but the traditional nativity scene never failed to disappoint me.

So with a little help from PowerPoint and Google, I have taken the advent calendar into the 21st century. Everyone is excited and there is not a novelty chocolate snowman in sight

Louisa Leaman is a London teacher

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