Learning for the new millennium

2nd October 1998 at 01:00
The new millennium is a unique time and a unique moment of transition. It will undoubtedly be the cause for huge celebrations, but, more significantly, it will be a time of change for education.

the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) is responsible to both the Government and the Millennium Commission not only for the construction and management of The Dome at Greenwich but also for the creation and support of projects that provide a lasting social legacy for the entire country. At the very heart of this is the National Programme's education agenda - The Learning Experience. This unique education initiative will be the most comprehensive ever undertaken and starts this autumn running though to the end of the year 2000. But it will not stop there, the programmes will become fully integrated into the curriculum and continue well into the new millennium.

The programme is aimed at involving teachers, students and parents in a wide range of activities and projects that take learning beyond the traditional classroom and into the wider community, and above all, making it fun. The goal is to ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, will be able to say that they took part in the Millennium Experience and mark this critical moment in time by learning something about themselves and the environment in which they live.

The learning agenda will cover the entire curriculum including technology, humanities, arts, languages, sciences and music as well as cross-curricular themes. All of the work reinforces the Government's initiatives and vision to produce a world class education service.

The project is founded on five key principles:

* Education is life long and inclusive

* Innovation and creativity will drive initiatives

* Quality, raising standards, skills development and accreditation matter

* Initiatives will make a difference and leave a legacy

* Technology will be key to delivering projects

Central to the delivery and funding of this unique programme is the support of the Official Sponsors of the Millennium Experience - major companies who are committed to making a difference for the 21st Century. Leading the commitment of the business community to lifelong learning within the Millennium Experience is Tesco, with their innovative Tesco SchoolNet 2000 internet project and sponsorship of the Learn zone in The Dome at Greenwich.

Tens of thousands of children across the UK will be taking part in the biggest and most exciting schools educational internet project ever - Tesco SchoolNet 2000. Schoolchildren nationwide will be talking to parents, grandparents and friends to discover for themselves all about their local communities yesterday, today and in the future.

They will build a huge treasure chest of their own ideas and discoveries about life in the UK and a picture of how they see life in the new millennium. 340 internet centres in Tesco stores and libraries, supported by 52 specially recruited advisory teachers will enable every schoolchild in the UK to have their own page on the Tesco SchoolNet 2000 website. Building on the success of working with schools through the Tesco Computers for Schools Scheme the project is designed to fulfil curriculum requirements and support Government education initiatives including the National Grid for Learning. This four term project will run until December 1999 building a unique Domesday book created by children around the UK.

Tesco has developed Teachers Notes to support the project and provided curriculum briefs and ideas for children of all ages to gather information on their local area. The curriculum investigations for autumn 1998 take pupils into the community to learn about the people, places and events that make their community what it is. Using a variety of techniques such as interviews, field studies, digital photography and illustrations they will compile a portrait of their area which will be shared with children from the rest of the country, and around the world, via the Tesco SchoolNet 2000 website and subsequently, displayed in local Tesco stores and showcased in The Dome at Greenwich in the Year 2000.

BT has been working with the NMEC to develop FutureTalk, a multi million pound campaign to improve the country's communication skills for the 21st Century. FutureTalk will help people at home, work and in education through a National Programme and an engaging experience at The Dome. FutureTalk will give everyone the chance to develop their communication skills and will give people the opportunity to try out new communication technology.

A key priority of the programme will be education. FutureTalk will improve how communication skills are taught by training members of staff, producing learning materials and providing performance based activities for students of all ages to learn about better communication.

Work on improving communication skills among teachers and pupils has already begun with the BT Forum projects operating in primary schools and the education work of BT's Community Partnership Programme which has links with over 5,000 schools, colleges and universities. Other partnerships will include the provision of material to the BBC to accompany their films on the PSHE initiative.

Building on this, FutureTalk will work with thousands of schools and colleges to introduce communication skills in the classroom and provide opportunities to access new communication technology such as Talk 21.

Talk 21 gives everyone in Britain the opportunity to communicate by e-mail. It will allow school children and students to submit work electronically, communicate across continents, and exchange course work.

s part of the Children's Promise, Marks Spencer is inspiring the nation's children to compose a song for the millennium. Voices of Promise is a celebration of musical talent in schools to mark the new millennium. In October 1998 all schools will receive a curriculum pack so they can register to take part in the largest singing project ever.

Pupils from 7yrs-16yrs will be able to compose songs, perform them locally and if successful perform the Children's Promise song for the millennium in The Dome at Greenwich in February 2000.

Schools that register can expect a full programme of music opportunities and support. This will include a curriculum pack which will have lesson ideas and will contain resource materials.

During 1999 selective schools throughout the UK, will be able to take part in the Voices of Promise musician in schools programme. After 2000 teachers will have resource materials for the future and pupils will have acquired new musical skills.



The Dome is located in Greenwich - the home of time. This south-east London borough is also the site of a number of historic British institutions including the Old Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum and, now, The Dome.


In the run-up to its opening in the Year 2000 the Millennium Experience Visitor Centre offers a sneak preview of what will be inside. The Centre has models of The Dome, touch screen information technology, internet access to the Millennium Experience site, videos and general literature.


Alternatively the Millennium Experience internet website provides detailed information on the entire project - www.mx2000.co.uk. Additionally, this autumn the website will feature The Dome in 3-D. This will enable visitors to the site to interact with The Dome and experience this architectural feat from a number of different dynamic viewpoints. Users will be able to walk around The Dome, sail up the River Thames towards it and view the glowing light underneath the translucent roof as they pass over it at night.


Over and above these information sources the Millennium Experience also has specialist advisors covering the country via its team of twelve Education Managers.

The Education Managers provide on-hand local support to the projects as well as visiting schools to ensure they get the most from The Learning Experience.

The team at the Millennium Experience, from its Education Managers to its corporate supporters, are committed to making education the cornerstone of the new millennium.


Find out how you can get involved by calling the special information line on 0870 241 2000, or visit the website at oowww.mx2000.co.uk

Marks Spencer Voices of Promise - a music opportunity for schools across the country

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