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Domesday on the Internet

Pupils from thousands of schools across Britain will this month turn super-sleuth to create a treasure chest of experiences for the millennium.

They will be interviewing grandparents and parents and some of the oldest residents in their towns and villages to draw together a collection of memories to be showcased in the Millennium Dome.

More than 8,500 schools are contributing to the Domesday Book for the 21st century, sponsored by the supermarket chain Tesco.

They will produce data for the nation on community life in the UK yesterday and today and reveal aspirations for the future in an Internet record to be viewed by generations to come.

The #163;12 million project, called Tesco SchoolNet 2000, will run for four academic terms finishing in December 1999.

And Terry Leahy, Tesco's chief executive, said: "Our aim is to celebrate the millennium by asking children to help create the biggest and most innovative schools educational website in the world."

This term pupils will focus on "Where we live" - looking at their local communities, people, places and events. Other topics are "How we live", an insight into lifestyle and environment, learning and leisure; "The world around us" which is a focus on communicating and travelling and "What we want to be".

The results will be placed on the website either at school or at one of the special Internet centres at Tesco stores or local libraries.

Pupils will create their own pages containing text, pictures, photographs and recorded speech.

Their findings will be displayed in the Learn Zone, a 1.5-acre site devoted to education, in the Millennium Dome as well as at Tesco stores.

Tesco has appointed 52 advisory teachers to give assistance and to "buddy-up" computer literate schools with their less confident counterparts.

The project has the backing of the Department for Education as well as the Scottish Office, Welsh Office and the Northern Ireland education department.

It is supported by Anglia Polytechnic University's Ultralab, whose director Stephen Heppell sits on the Dome's education committee and Xemplar, the technology services supplier.

Its curriculum links include literacy, numeracy, geography, science and history.

And Hackney Free and Parochial School in London, one of a number of schools which has been trialling the scheme, said: "The project is deepening our links with the community and bringing the community into the classroom. "This makes our class work more immediately relevant."

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