Local authorities get behind AAL scheme

8th September 2000 at 01:00
Changing climate in the ICT sector

Three local authorities are set to introduce Anywhere Anytime Learning, the Microsoft-backed programme to provide laptop computers to every pupil.

Birmingham and Nottingham city councils will run AAL pilot schemes in 30 and 18 schools respectively, while Nottinghamshire County Council schools are expected to follow suit.

Speaking at a Microsoft AAL launch earlier this year, Professor Tim Brighouse, Birmingham's chief education officer, pledged 2 per cent of his salary - about pound;2,000 - to a national E-Learning Foundation for helping poorer schools join AAL. He called for others on high salaries to do the same.

Each AAL school will set up their own e-foundtion using guidelines devised earlier this year by Microsoft and consultants Arthur Andersen. They will subsidise the cost of laptops so that parents will pay only about pound;5 a week.

Bowbridge Junior School in Nottinghamshire is the first to set up an e-learning foundation. David Dixon, the headteacher, said it could not have contemplated AAL without such support.

Malcolm Edmonds, ICT consultant to Nottingham City Education Department, said the project would focus on teaching and learning rather than technology.

Around 28 UK schools introduced AAL in 1998 and there are now more than 300.

For more go to www.tes.co.ukonlineAAL in Australia, p17. www.microsoft.comukeducationaal

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