Blogging on

18th April 2008 at 01:00
Web logs can make the world a smaller place, as pupils from Shropshire have discovered. Stephen Manning makes the connection

It's remote places that benefit most from the transformation brought about by new technology. For the pupils of Clunbury Church of England Primary School in Shropshire, the world will be a slightly smaller place than for their predecessors, as the 65 or so children in this small, rural primary experience collaborative projects with other schools as near as Wolverhampton and as far away as Singapore.

Reaching the wider community is important, believes Andrew Davis, the headteacher, who is something of an evangelist for the use of new technologies in education. In particular, the school's blogging projects mean that the pupils' work can be seen by parents and the wider world. This is one reason why the school was joint winner of the best whole school (primary) category at last year's Becta awards for ICT in education.

"The blogs are a way of connecting with people beyond the school walls," says Andrew. "Collaborating with other primary schools means that when the pupils move to secondary, they may already know children coming from other primaries, because of work they've done together on these blogs."

Such collaboration might involve discussions on topics debated in class, such as what makes a healthy diet, or should ICT be used throughout the curriculum? They construct arguments for both sides, and seem well able to do so.

One pupil states that it's easier to use a computer than write in a book and that ICT use will only increase in the future. But another questions whether it's healthy for children to get into the habit of spending so much time on computers, and even whether children without computers could become the victims of bullying.

Peer review is an important facet of this, with pupils awarding stars for others' work. But perhaps the significance will be the collaborators from further afield, such as Radin Mas Primary School in Singapore, which Andrew visited during a trip organised by the British Council.

Typically, the children have little problem getting to grips with the technology and are even leading the way. "If anything, it's hard to stop them using it," says Andrew.

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