A partnership between computer gaming publishers and schools has long been an "el dorado" quest for influential educationists like David Puttnam. But it has taken a primary teacher and his pupils in a rural school on the edge of Bristol to get the ball rolling.
When US games publisher Ubisoft was due to present its latest version of its classic adventure game, Myst 5: End of Ages, to the computer press over the summer, it switched the European launch from Paris to Bristol. And when the game's originator, Rand Miller (pictured), himself a legend among gamers, took to the stage he explained the switch to Bristol - "to see that man over there", pointing to Tim Rylands of Chew Magna Primary School. Within hours he was in Tim's Year 4 classroom meeting the pupils, discovering how they used the game and signing their copies of his game.
Of course, they felt they had already met him as he features as one of the characters in Myst, their classroom stimulus for literacy and expressive writing, activities that have significantly raised standards.
"His answers to the children's questions were warm and generous," said Tim. "And he took great satisfaction from seeing his years of hard work being used so creatively."
www.timrylands.com. http:news.bbc.co.uk1hitechnology4160466.stm www.myst5.com