Smart address

17th October 1997 at 01:00
Chris Abbott talks to Julie Woodcock, geography teacher at Wallington High School for Girls, Surrey

Which information technology product - software or hardware - has made a difference to your worklife?

BT's on-line education service, CampusWorld, especially the e-mail facility.

How?

We linked up with a school in Japan and the girls e-mailed there and got an immediate response the same afternoon. They wrote about life in the UK. The replies showed contrasts and similarities - including the fact that both schools were excited by Tamogotchi (electronic toys).

What do you like or dislike about it?

What's good is that it's instant; it's also exciting because most of the girls hadn't used e-mail before. When it's being used they are much keener to get involved: it's really exciting. But you have to be careful to get the address right, or it comes back again, and that can be frustrating.

When did you start using it?

Earlier this year when I used e-mail myself to contact somebody we know in Japan. Following that we set up the school link and now we are communicating by letter - we don't use only e-mail.

Who decided to buy it and were you involved in the choice?

The school already had links with BT and we joined CampusWorld this year. It's a whole-school resource and we saw the benefits for our department.

How does it compare with other ways of tackling the same tasks?

Compared with textbooks there's not as much detail and it's not as accessible, but it does give the students first-hand information. It provides the point of view of another student rather than that of a textbook. It's more exciting and quicker than writing letters too. On the other hand, the girls have access only if a member of staff is there so that limits what they can do; we have only one e-mail account.

How do you think it could be improved?

It could be made more reliable. CampusWorld can work fine one day, but the next day there may be problems. You can't guarantee it's going to be up and running when you want to use it.

If you had more funding, what would you invest in?

We have video conferencing equipment and it would be nice to use it more often for international links. We have used it to video conference with Morocco, and we were on BBC Newsround then. That got a lot of interest and it would be nice to do more of that kind of activity.

BT Campus World. Tel: 0345 626253

http:www.campus.bt.comCampus World

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