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The British Educational and Communica-tions Technology Agency is running an infant literacy project in schools in Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester and London, using DreamWriter low-cost portable computers. NTS Computer Systems is supplying 450 NTS DreamWriter T100s for pupils and 30 T200s for teachers. The agency is providing funds and staff to manage the project and an independent agency will evaluate it. Schools from other authorities can "buy in".

NTS 0121 687 8767

BECTA 01203 847085

BECTA is not using any of Apple's award-winning eMate laptops, designed specially for schools, in its projects. The restructured National Council for Educational Technology did not even include Apple's acclaimed G3 laptop computers in its Pounds 23 million laptops for teachers scheme (see page 30). To add insult to injury, someone at BECTA put a Microsoft sticker on the screen of one of the eMates sent in by education company Xemplar to be considered for the scheme.Xemplar was not amused. Staff there feel UK schools are getting a back-door Windows-only policy, and Microsoft doesn't need it.

Xemplar 01223 724724

(Online Education will report in September on a school that has issued eMates to all staff.)

Computer manufacturer Dell and BT are teaming up to equip schools for the National Grid for Learning. The idea is to cut out all the complications faced when schools install computers and connect to the Internet.

BT 0800 328 3839

NORWEB, the electricity company pioneering Internet connection for schools along low-power electricity lines, has been showing its service to educationists, and the reaction has been extremely favourable. It is extending its pilot scheme later this year.

NORWEB 0800 195 0151

Britain's largest online services and Internet provider, AOL, is extending its free education accounts to primary schools, an offer worth about Pounds 1 million (Pounds 200 per school). They are available from September to all UK secondary and primary schools that have registered with UK NetYear and which want single-user Internet access.

UK NetYear www.uknetyear.org

AOL www.aol.com

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