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Room for everyone in the 'new Hollywood'

Educational software publishers are misguided in their worries about the BBC and Granada dominating Britain's National Grid for Learning, said award-winning film maker David Puttnam.

The chairman of the General Teaching Council has been "saddened" by the "defensive" reaction of UK firms to the Government's Curriculum Online consultation document. "We will be absolutely crazy if we do not take full advantage of what's offered," said Lord Puttnam, who urged firms to get involved in the consultation in a positive way, even if critical.

Lord Puttnam was talking at "The Hollywood of Education", a showcase of cutting-edge educational software staged by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta, of which he is chairman) at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta - where he is vice-president) in London last month. A succession of speakers demonstrated leading multimedia software for education, including their very own "guinea pig", 11-year-old Gary Burton who created his own stop-action animated film durin the presentation using LEGO's acclaimed Studio products (hands on, p24).

Nesta's Martin Freeth revealed the organisation is being funded by the Government to develop FutureLab, an outfit that will research the use of new media and future developments.

Stephen Bayly, from the National Film and Television School, outlined plans for an online Global Film School with its roots in the UK, Australia and the US.

Nesta's highlight was a demonstration of 3D multimedia software - Kar2ouche from Immersive Technology. After demonstrating new science and maths software, Immersive's Jamie Sheldon showed how Kar2ouche could be used to make an entertaining and engaging presentation of Macbeth, something the company had done successfully with 9-year-olds.

"We have more advantages than any other country and are on the verge of a revolution," concluded Lord Puttnam. "But what is the biggest resistor to change? It's us." Maureen McTaggart

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