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Luddite heads shun 'geeky' e-learning

MANY schools are missing out on revolutionary changes in teaching because their headteachers think computers are "geeky", says Charles Clarke.

The Education Secretary unveiled plans this week to create a national e-learning strategy that will help schools make the most of computers and the internet.

Mr Clarke said that although some schools were using computers for excellent work such as online video confencing, many headteachers were still resistant to new technology.

Estimates by the Department for Education and Skills suggest that only 15 per cent of schools are making good use of e-learning.

"We have plenty of (school leaders) who see it is a policy-wonky, geeky, techie thing which hasn't got anything to do with education," Mr Clarke said. "They are wrong and we have to change their attitudes."

Teachers will have until January 2004 to give their views on what should be in the e-learning strategy.

The DfES has proposed it should give special attention to how computers can be used to get round staff shortages in subjects such as modern languages.

Other suggestions include: promotions and incentives for teachers who make best use of IT; special training in e-skills for all school staff, including classroom assistants and mentors; and the introduction of electronic portfolios of knowledge for life-long learners.

"Towards a unified e-learning Strategy" is available on the web at www.dfes.gov.ukconsultations

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