Turn off your mobile, Miss

22nd August 2003 at 01:00
THE use of mobile phones in the classroom has long been the bane of teachers' lives. But now, after years of battling text-messaging pupils, teachers may find they too need to surreptitiously check their phones during lessons.

From September, the whole of the national curriculum will be available by mobile. By signing up to an online service, they will be able to download sections of the curriculum via PC or mobile.

Infocube.net, the company behind the initiative, believes it is the first to provide access to the entire curriculum from one site. The firm has invested pound;1 million in a database that Raymond Winter, its chair, believes will provide a pocket-sized solution to every curriculum emergency.

He said: "Teachers previously had to browse through the web, which took ages. But now, if they have their phones with them, they can get the information whenever they need. It's instant gratification."

The site offers primary and secondary curricula. Initially, nine curriculum areas, history, geography, music, science, art, design, technology, PE and RE will be available. English, maths and languages are not included, but should be in future. Individual teachers can get unlimited access for a one-off fee of pound;24.95. Alternatively, schools can pay pound;19.95 per teacher, plus a pound;100 monthly upgrade fee for any changes. A pupil version is available, excluding teachers' resources, for pound;10.95.

Gordon Ross, founder of Infocube, believes the initiative may mark the end of the classroom battle over mobile use. "You should not try and exclude technology from the classroom," he said. "There isn't any difference whether information comes through computer or through the mobile phone.

It's all interactive."

But Sheila Marsh, a key stage 2 and 3 teacher at Penworthan girls' school, near Preston, is unconvinced. "Teachers aren't the most technologically up-to-date people," she says. "And you can't leave your phone on during lessons, anyway."


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