Follow the drift to the continent

A new Internet site means European schools can work together and share resources. Roger Frost reports

Ever wondered what schools in the rest of Europe were up to? Or how to touch base with innovative projects abroad, perhaps collaborating with Greek pupils who are measuring light pollution?

A scheme to link European schools was launched in Brussels last month and has Pounds 2 million of European Commission support. Called the European Schoolnet, it will use the Internet to help schools work across national borders and will be packed with ideas and class materials.

European Schoolnet, or EUN, was pioneered in Sweden, so it was fitting that their minister for school and adult education, Ylva Johansson, unveiled the service. She has been working on it since 1996, fired by a desire for students and teachers to "establish cross-border co-operation and links" and to open schools to the world.

Ms Johansson believed that information and communications technology would be "a major driving force in the transformation of oursystem".

EUN is a network of European national education networks that includes Britain's National Grid for Learning. Aimed at the continent's 60 million students and 4.5 million teachers, it has a guide for beginners, discussion areas and a contact gallery for project partners.

A European Virtual School, a Virtual Teacher College and links to sources of funding code-named Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci can also be found here.

At a launch conference, four education ministers were on hand to welcome the service and talk about their country's progress with ICT. Many countries showed their keynote projects, and an American school showcased IBM's Wired for Learning - a school website that has built a remarkable partnership between pupils, teachers, parents and others.

What was notable was an absence of UK politicians - all the more surprising considering Britain is well represented on the Schoolnet management committee.

European Schoolnet www.eun.org Wired for Learning www.ibm.comeducation

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