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IT's good for talk, say pupils

Using computers during lessons can make pupils more sociable and open about their emotions, according to research commissioned by the Government.

Researchers from Lancaster university studied 17 schools in England and found that classes involving information and communications technology had an unexpectedly broad range of positive effects on children's work and attitudes.

While some teachers and parents said they feared that computer-use could turn children into loners, the pupils suggested it made them more sociable.

"Use of the internet and email encouraged more positive activities, longer engagement with schoolwork, deeper and wider discussion with a broader group of friends and a sharing of emotions through chatting," the report said.

All of the heads and two-thirds of the pupils who were interviewed said that computers had improved behaviour in lessons.

A few of the teachers said they used ICT to keep disruptive children out of the playground during play times, one noting that computers had a "calming effect" on children.

Although the report focused on the educational uses of computers, primary pupils listed their two favourite uses as games, then "looking at popstars or other things on the internet".

The Motivational Effect of ICT on Pupils, www.dfes.gov.ukresearch

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