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BBC to develop on-line digital curriculum


The BBC have announced a £135m project for providing a digital curriculum education service to support interactive teaching for use by schools, teachers, students and parents throughout the UK.

On the BBC's web-site, licence fee payers are given the opportunity to have their say with this proposal by filling an on-line questionnaire. This is to ensure that the public have a say as to how their money is to be spent before a formal submission is presented to the government.

The idea of this service is to deliver material initially via the Internet and at a later stage through digital television for every main curriculum subject. The project will initially cover English, Mathematics and Science for 11 to 16 year olds and English and Mathematics for Primary school pupils.

Early versions of this learning material have already been tested in a number of Secondary schools, one of them being Wrockwardine Wood Secondary School in Telford. Comments made by the ICT Co-ordinater Richard Smith, stated that the materials were very useful and would suit children who have access from home to continue their studies. He was particularly impressed with the mathematics module and found that children could work individually at their own pace. The surprising feature was that after three weeks, the children became bored of using these materials, missing the classroom atmosphere and interaction of lessons.

The BBC's aims are to work alongside existing major educational hardware and software suppliers such as RM who have developed educational material for schools for many years, so that teachers, children and parents will have access to a wide range of high quality learning resources.

Concerns voiced by RM are that if the BBC are providing such services funded by the public, the result could lead to a state-endorsed monopoly provider, this could lead to damaging competition in the UK market, rather than helping the governments aim of developing the UK as a world centre for the production of high quality, vibrant learning content.

The BBC have stated that they are not proposing to provide the IT on which the service would depend, but wish to work with public and private sector partners to help develop common technical standards and that material developed will be compatible.


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