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One of the best things about using a laptop is that you can do lots of things in the comfort of your own home rather than having to stay on at school at the end of the day, says Harriet Martin. "Looking for websites to use in the lesson is fun, but it's nice to be able to do this at home rather than staying behind at the end of the school day when all your colleagues have gone home."

Harriet is ICT co-ordinator at Cofton Primary School in Birmingham. The school has 370 pupils, 19 teachers and two laptops. Laptops are great for lesson preparation, she adds. "It is more relaxing to do this away from school. For example, when I want to use StoryMaker (a program by Spa which allows children to create animated stories with sound) I can set up material at home ready for my classes."

Although laptops have proved to be a boon in her school, Harriet warns against unrealistic expectations: "I've often thought it would be nice to use a laptop on the train, but there's an issue over weight - it can be heavy to carry around. Also, if you take a laptop out for the day, you've got the problem of security - you can't take your eyes off it." However, Harriet is attracted by the idea of taking one on a school field trip and using it with a computer microscope to observe living things in their natural habitats.

"There are lots of fun websites out there, too, which combine humour with education," says Harriet. "One is Spaced Penguin (see panel), where you use physics to catapult a penguin on to a planet. My only advice when it comes to fun would be not to play Solitaire on your laptop - it's highly addictive!"

Harriet Martin recommends:

The Powers of 10 site that lets you zoom into microscopic detail or out to cosmic splendour is:

http:micro.magnet.fsu.eduprimerjavascienceopticsupowersof10index.htm Try http:bigideafun.compenguins arcadespaced_penguininfo.htm to practise your physics by trying to land a penguin on a planet.

The website elloughton13seaside.htm lets you take your infant class for a virtual Blackpool holiday.

The British Museum's archaeology sites are: and They are full of simulations of ziggurat buildings and ancient traders that are great for stimulating class discussions.

Harriet Martin's school website - - includes IT planning and work samples for all years.

For ideas for maths activities try: The MAPE website has a wonderful collection of resources for teachers including "big books" and interactive sorting activities - a painless way to start data handling with a whole class.

StoryMaker from Spa can be found at:

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