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Teachers, pupils, industry and Government are working together to push forward the application of Internet technology in schools, Science and Technology Minister Ian Taylor said today. He was commenting on the publication of a report on the success of the first year of "Schools Online".

The report's publication coincides with the launch of Phase 2 of Schools Online this week and with the Educational Technology Show at Olympia which Mr Taylor is visiting today. The show is dedicated to teaching and learning with IT and allows IT providers to see and evaluate the latest technological developments. During the visit, Mr Taylor met a number of the key Schools Online sponsors.

Mr Taylor said:

"Eighteen companies, 60 schools, 300 teachers and 1,700 pupils have already participated in the first phase of Schools Online, all supported by the Department of Trade and Industry. Many other schools have worked with project members. Teachers have found that the project has helped them bring language teaching "alive" by communicating with overseas schools.

"Science students have accessed scientific material not easily available elsewhere. And the sponsoring companies have evaluated and developed the services they offer to schools. Educational and technical advice has been available to the schools throughout. The whole experiment has been monitored so that all schools can learn from "Schools OnLine" and not just those who played a direct part in it.

"As an added bonus, access to the Internet has become more affordable as a result of network competition encouraged by the Government. Packages available from the cable companies, BT, Mercury, Energis and other are helping schools predict the costs of being online and plan their budgets accordingly.

"This report, and the case studies, should help all schools to understand and reach out for the educational benefits of the Internet faster than they might if working alone."

"I congratulate all of the participants in Schools OnLine Phase 1 and look forward to further success in Phase 2 in which we shall be giving even more support to teachers. I commend this report and the case studies to all schools."

SOURCE Department of Trade and Industry

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