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Our school gained technology college status in 1999 and as part of our bid we formed links with feeder schools to introduce or enhance technology.
CADCAM equipment, including a Triac milling machine and Millcam Designer II design programme, was installed and we set up video conferencing in each feeder school.
These were incorporated into a project in which our school would be the manufacturing centre and the four feeder schools would be design centres.
Once the design has reached a stage where it is ready to be manufactured, the feeder schools make contact with us using the video conferencing facility. Pupils' designs can be discussed and modifications made. We think it's important that any decisions about alterations are made by the pupils, who should always feel in control.
The manufacturing is then done at our school. A camera installed within the Triac milling machine allows the pupils - as many as a whole class - to see the process, for example a bookmark being made, after which the product can be delivered to the pupils ready for an evaluation.
The project encourages junior schools to introduce technology with confidence and we have since extended it to include other junior as well as some secondary schools.
Steve Goodson, technology teacher, Shoeburyness High School, Shoeburyness, Essex