THE National Grid for Learning in Scotland will get Pounds 62 million for its development over the next three years. The Department for Education and Employment says that funding for the rest of Britain will be announced later in the autumn. Helen Liddell, the Scottish Education Minister, said most of the money would be used to buy the equipment and services needed to create the Grid. The rest will go into research on the effective use of information technology in teaching and developing Scottish content for the Grid.
Nigel Paine, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Educational Technology, says the funding is significant, but it will not be enough to develop an education superhighway connected to all schools. Ensuring systems are set up for permanent renewal and not obsolescence is crucial, he says, as is providing sufficient technical support.
Connecting schools and colleges to the Grid is a central theme of Tactics and Trends 98, a two-day conference and exhibition at Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition Centre (November 4 and 5). It will be the biggest event of its kind in Britain outside the annual BETT show in London. Contact: 0141 337 5000; www.scet. com the schools computer services supplier RM says it will soon have connected a quarter of the schools in England and Wales. "By anybody's standards this is a success," says an RM spokesman, Lynn Moates. He says the company will have connected 2,000 schools by the end of September and a further 2,000 will go online by March 1999, all within the first year of the Government's National Grid for Learning.
Teacher Grid UK is the new name for the online resource centre for teachers from RM, Microsoft and BT. It allows teachers to access support information and links with the Virtual Teacher Centre on the National Grid for Learning. The site has links to discussion groups, education news updates, information about training and a curriculum resource archive. Go to www.teachergrid.com first they combined two screens and keyboards to one PC, thereby halving your costs (well almost). Now they've gone one better and put three users on the same computer. A boon for cash-strapped schools.
Sharedware gives users their own monitor, keyboard, mouse and Windows desktop. Each can access files and applications on any drive, surf the Internet and send email at the same time and log on to a network as separate users. It is claimed that users will experience virtually no performance loss.
For three users, a Pentium 266 with 64Mb of memory is required. The Sharedware Pack, with hardware, software, cable and connection module is Pounds 175 plus VAT, and the Workstation, with the pack and additional monitor, keyboard and mouse, is Pounds 275 plus VAT. Website: www.sharedware.com AN American university study has concluded that the longer people spend on the Internet the more depressed, stressed and lonely they feel. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found they could predict changes in an individual's emotional state according to the number of hours spent on the Internet.
However, a survey by the US Internet service provider ATT found that 68 per cent of parents and 69 per cent of both students and teachers said they had seen students' results improve by using the Net. Did they think the Internet was a necessary tool for success in school? 62 per cent of parents and 64 per cent of students agreed, but only 56 per cent of teachers.