* Britain is the home computer centre of the world - with more than double the level of ownership in America, according to a survey by Olivetti.
Ownership has reached more than 60 per cent among families withchildren at school,compared with 28 per cent in the US. Olivetti says that nearly Pounds 1 billion has been spent on introducing information technology into the nation's schools since 1979, which has resulted in Britain having the bestcomputer:student ratio (85 computers in everysecondary school (twice that of Germany, Japan and France), and at least one computer in every primary school (in the US, 97 per cent of primaries have computers, Canada 94 per cent, France 91 per cent, Japan 70 per cent, and less than 10 per cent in Germany).
The average child with a home computer spends about 11 hours using it, reducing the amount of time they spend watchingtelevision, says the report which surveyed more than 2,000 British children.Some children spend up to 20 hours a week oneducational projects orplaying games. Almost one in five children with home computers said they were connected to the Internet. The south-east of England has the highest ownership, of computers: more than one in three homes boasts one. Wales has the fewest owners, barely more than one in four.Copies of the report are available from: John D'Avolio, Manning Selvage Lee, Tel 0171 878 3000 Ex184 (john.davolio @mslpr.co.uk) or Sarajane Bartlett, Olivetti Personal Computers UK Ltd., Olivetti House, PO Box 89, 8688 Upper Richmond Road, London SW15 2UR. Tel 0181 780 8564.
* Teachers across Scotland are being helped on to the Internet with a free CD-Rom package which the Scottish Council for Educational Technology is sending to all 2,800 schools in the country in a new "CyberSchools Initiative". The package includes a video, written material and CD disc with half a day's trainingmaterial on how to use the Internet, examples ofcurricular material for Primary 1 to Secondary 6 available on the Web,ethical guidelines, copyright issues and all the software necessary for going on the Net.
Once teachers have gained sufficient confidence, they can click on a button on screen to go "live". A month of free access to the Net isincluded via RM's Internet for Learning service. Twenty-five out of 32 Scottish authorities have committed themselves to a Pounds 400 licence, says SCET chief executive Nigel Paine. This allows them to copy the material and give local support and training to their schools, with telephone back-up from SCET.For schools wanting to create their own Internet pages, a separate package - working title Web Workshop - will go out early next year. For asdditional copies, contact SCETTel: 0141 337 5000.
* Brighton University Resource Kit for Students (BURKS) is a CD-Rom that boasts masses (650 megabytes if you must know) of educational information downloaded from the Internet. It details ways to find useful material on the Web, and includes complete tutorials and reference manuals. The disc would normally cost Pounds 3 but thanks to an agreement between the University and Pavilion Internet (http:www.pavilion.net), schools, colleges and universities can get a free copy.Details from John O'Farrell at Pavilion Internet.Tel 01273 607072.e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org. The BURKS website with a full working copy of the CD is at: www.burks.brighton.ac.uk.