Learning hopes for the Dome;What the teachers say

27th February 1998 at 00:00
In keeping with Labour's post-election mantra, the Millennium Dome will aim to educate as well as entertain. To this effect, Maggie Semple, the New Millennium Experience's UK head of education, has appointed 12 regional education managers to galvanise schools, colleges, libraries and communities into contributing to the structure taking shape on the Greenwich skyline.

"No matter where you live you will have an opportunity to take part in projects which might end up in the Dome. Not everyone will want to, or be able to visit, but they could have a virtual experience of the exhibitions."

Ms Semple hopes her team's plans will contribute to the Government's targets on literacy and numeracy and envisages that the hub of the national grid for learning could be housed in the Dome. Spin-offs could also include work placement programmes with Business in the Community schemes.

Tesco, the supermarket chain, this week pledged pound;12 million to provide a "Domesday Book" - a record of children's daily lives on the SchoolNet 2000, a permanent record on the Internet.

David Blunkett, the Education Secretary, will next month outline ways the educational world can become involved in the Millennium enterprise. Ms Semple hopes schools will have worked out responses by next January with results in place by the end of 2000. "The Dome will be sensational and educational. But we don't want to overload teachers and create dome fatigue or it will be no fun at all," she said.

Anna Redondo, head of modern languages at Sarah Bonnell school, London: "I think the Dome should be based on the model of Expo '92 in Seville with pavilions representing countries all over the world. Every country used all sorts of technology and visual and textual displays to represent their culture.

"There could be nothing more educational than using the Dome to represent other countries and other ways of life as this would develop openmindedness and tolerance."

Richard Graydon, headteacher Chipping Norton school, Oxfordshire: "I see the Dome as a Victoria sponge cake cut into slices. In the education slice there should be a section for great leaders including a stuffed Chris Woodhead. Then there should be a section on funding which would have a placard with the words "education, education, education" and underneath there would be nothing, not even carpet.

"I would also like someone with real vision to design the school of the future inside the Dome with a futuristic library and science lab set in 2050."

Dee Bannon, literacy co-ordinator at Vyner primary, Birkenhead: "I think there should be computers which pupils can plug into to find out important dates in history. These machines should be programmable so that parents and children are able to input the important dates in their own lives which would allow us to build up a database of what happened in people's lives."

Bruce Danson, head of Year 11 at Swanlea school, east London: "I think there should be a thank-you board within the Dome where pupils can write messages to their teachers thanking them for the help they have given them."

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