Schools television

4th June 1999 at 01:00
In education, people become used to hearing that there's never enough money to go around. Schools scrimp and save and new resources are precious hard to come by. So this week, brings a welcome cause for celebration in the guise of a new television channel dedicated to lifelong learning.

BBC Knowledge started transmitting on June 1 and is available free to anyone with a digital decoder or cable television.

As schools broadcasts draw to a close (Channel 4 has already stopped for the summer and next week will be the last BBC listings of the term) we highlight some of the programmes which will be available on the new channel.

Pick of the week Jenny Eclair is not a woman who one imagines is ever lost for words. But even she clams up when faced with a foreign language. "We're like babies when we're abroad, aren't we?" she says. "All we do is shout and cry and get lost and starve to death." But no longer. In Language Fix Jenny has set herself a target of learning the basics of four languages in one series: French, German, Italian and Spanish. She will be aided by roving celebrity reporters, who travel to various European outposts, then try to converse with the locals.

It won't, Jenny admits, be all that hot on grammar, but it will enable you to make yourself understood.

This is not likely to get your students through a GCSE but it may get you through a holiday, or even provide modern language classes with a bit of light relief now and then.

Language Fix Wednesdays 9.30-10pm school spotlight BBC Knowledge aims to take in cradle-to-grave learning, with half its daily output devoted to children and young people under 16. For the younger children, programmes such as Words and Pictures and Numbertime get another showing. While Dynamo will take literacy and numeracy a stage further. One of the most important series will be Bitesize Etc, billed as the "ultimate survival guide to the GCSE experience". Unlike its sister series, GCSE Bitesize, which is subject specific, Bitesize Etc has a broader remit to help keep exam angst at bay. It will focus on careers, personal health and issues-based discussions. Just the thing for brains sozzled by too much revision.

Bitesize Etc Monday to Friday 6.30-7.30pm Best of the rest One of BBC Knowledge's innovative elements is its aim to harness every piece of technology in the home, or that you can get access to, from telephone to computer to fax machine. Everything will be interlinked. Much of the programming will stress the importance of being computer-literate, and children - always streets ahead on this - have a live online and onscreen magazine show. K-Club is an on-air cyber cafe with plenty of activities for children. Older viewers also have Get Webwise - another idiot's guide to the Internet, and The Kit, a techno-based look at games, gadgets and all things digital. It's also looking for PC art from colleges and universities.

K-Club Fridays 5.30-6.30pm Get Webwise Monday to Friday 8-8.30pm The Kit Monday to Friday 10.30-11pm

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