Free and easy
The Internet has become a a treasure chest for teachers, providing high quality resources, many of which are free.
RM's new Window Box computer comes with links to a new website (www.wbol.co.uk) giving primary teachers access to materials that can be downloaded and used with ease. Even if you don't have an RM computer, you will be able to access and download the resources from the website and join in the online communities the company hopes to foster.
However, RM is just the latest in a line of major names giving free online resources. The BBC is already strong in the field and has just launched a new Numbertime site for Year 1 that links with the television programme. Numberworks is for seven to nine-year-olds and there is also a new Words and Pictures site for the same age group and a host of other resources for learners.
The BBC's Revisewise is a new revision service for the national tests in English, maths and science and the site is already getting a great many visitors, including parents.
Channel 4 Learning (www.schools.channel4.com) is a mixture of material, some of which is free. Like the BBC, the work is tied to TV programmes. Number Crew is a maths program linked to a TV seies and it combines TV, print, new interactive technologies (CD-ROM, DVD and DVD-ROM) and a website. This is a vast resource of 60 programmes for infants built around the National Numeracy Strategy.
Pl@net.com (http:planet.channel4.com) is a series for juniors, explaining how pupils can make a difference to the environment. Case studies are chosen from around the world and pupils will be able to visit the site to write up their activities and read what other children have done.
Apple has continued to develop the free Star Tower site. The activities are high-quality programs that you can download and use off-line.
In contrast, RM's Window Box On-line site is not tied into radio or TV programmes. But one of its bonuses is that everyone will be able to access the lesson plans. At present, there are over 150 resources online with more promised over the next months.
* Channel 4: www.schools.channel4.com; also http:planet.channel4.com.
* RM plc: www.wbol.co.uk
* Apple: www.apple.comukeducationschoolsstartowerindex.html
* BBC: www.bbc.co.ukeducationschoolsprimary.shtml
* TES: www.tes.co.uk