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Do IT yourself

Di Pescod, a teacher at St Mary's RC Primary in Bodmin, Cornwall, talks to Chris Abbott. Which information technology product - software or hardware - makes all the difference?

The Canon Ion Camera; a still-video camera that we can take with us out of the classroom. When we return, we connect it to the computer and see the pictures we have taken.

How?

It gives me instant recall of anything I want. With Year 6, the first thing we did was to make portfolios about ourselves. Then we took the camera when the class went to Lanhydrock House, and now we're making a class book of that visit. The camera captures that critical moment when you say "I wish I had my camera with me." That's been really good.

When did you start using it?

In June 1994 - we got an Acorn computer and I went to a one-day course at the University of Exeter to learn about multimedia. Then we got some funding to develop the work through the National Council for Educational Technology's Literacy and Numeracy Project.

Who decided to buy it and were you involved in the choice?

It was all my choice; I'm the IT person so it's down to me. All they want from me is a nice program that will go!

How does it compare with other ways of tackling the same tasks?

You could take photographs and then scan them, but with scanning you haven't got that instant recall. That's what gives an added dimension to the experience.

How do you think it could be improved?

The one drawback is that it takes up so much memory to store the pictures, so it's difficult to transfer them from one computer to another. Apart from that, it's so easy to use that it's like a Noddy camera: I use it 50 per cent of the time, the children use it the other 50 per cent.

The images work best within five metres but it still takes outdoor shots. It's a marvellous tool for a primary school. With 34 children in the class though, we really need a second computer rather than the one Acorn that we have in each room.

The Canon Ion Camera is no longer available; other digital cameras can be found in most hardware suppliers' catalogues.

* If you have an information technology product that has made an important difference to your life - whether you like it or absolutely hate it - contact the MultimediaIT editor. The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY.

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