One possible solution is to use technologies that allow two or more students to independently share one computer at the same time. There are two systems currently on the market, Sharedware was first mentioned in TES Online, March 1999, and since then the technology has been refined. Final production versions of Sharedware Savage are now available. The other system is the Buddy B-200, which is distributed by Johnsons Photopia.
Both systems can be used with PCs running Windows, and use a plug-in boar, installation software, junction box and connecting cable. Buddy allows two cards to be installed in one PC, enabling an extra two students to use a computer. In both systems, the PC with the plug-in card acts as "master" machine which is linked to a "slave" computer. One student can be, say, word processing, while another is using a CD-Rom, or two users can be on the Internet at the same time, but accessing different Web pages.
Alastair Wells, head of ICT at Netherhall School in Cambridge, is a fan of Buddy: "It's brilliant!" he says, "We'd had one pupil using Encarta and another running 2D modelling software, and there has been virtually no loss in operating speed." Installing Buddy is quick and easy and, says Wells:
"We haven't had to change anything since using it. It's fantastic."
Onlinereaders can buy the Buddy B-200 for pound;79.99 (usual price pound;129.99) if it is bought online at the address below
Tel: 0800 298 7178
SharedwareTel: 01274 401010 www.sharedware.com