Fast but not furious
Ever experienced the frustration of waiting for a web page to download? Then imagine what it must be like for someone with learning difficulties, who may have problems with anger management.
"Students get angry and frustrated," says Chris Mayho, principal of Southport's Arden college, an independent specialist college for 64 students aged between 16 and 25. Arden takes students with a wide range of special needs. There are young people with Down's, Tourette and Asperger's syndromes. Some students have emotional and behavioural disorders. So the arrival of a high-speed internet connection in April last year has been "a real boon".
The broadband link came via JANET, the joint academic network, and Arden were one of the first colleges to connect up to the system as a result of the National Learning Network programme funded by the Learning and Skills Council.
JANET is a high-speed, broadband system hitherto used largely by universities and research institutions. It is managed by UKERNA (the United Kingdom Education and Research Networking Association).
The fast connection has helped ICT to become a useful learning tool in the curriculum areas of basic skills, photography, and computer-aided design and technology.
Arden is a residential college with a central base and a number of smaller homes for students spread across town. The next stage will see the broadband connection establish a network link between the homes and the college base.
Mayho adds: "We hope that other specialist colleges will also go online, so that we can share resources."
To find out more about JANET see www.ja.net or tel: 0870 850 2212