Connecting schools to the Internet and networking is essential for making use of worldwide information resources. There is no argument. In the United States a series of "Net Days" adopted a typical North American "just do it" approach. Armies of helpers invaded schools and "pulled wire" to get the job done.
Their success is a force behind UK NetYear. The name says it all - what can be done in days might take a year here. As most schools are waiting to see if they can get state funding before connecting, the organisations behind UK NetYear are working to raise the profile of ICT in education and raise support from local business. So how is it going?
Some 9,000 schools are registered on the UK NetYear website. Most primaries registered have no Internet access; most secondaries have internal networks. They all want to be community-access schools.
UK NetYear has brokered deals with Excite to provide free e-mail facilities for pupils, and with America Online to provide Internet services for schools that are not connected. It has also organised events in tandem with European Netd@ys. The next netd@ys are from tomorrow (October 17) until October 24, when UK NetYear will have online interactive masterclasses featuring Adrian Moorhouse and John Humphreys (above left and right) and others. There will also be a teachers' question time.
There are likely to be other free offers, but as they are only for schools registered with UK NetYear it is worth joining now.
More information: www.uknetyear.org; Teletext page 666