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Bett2000 Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 06:01 GMT
Pupils embrace web for work and fun
computer room
Pupils would like to use the net at break time
Surprise, surprise: Schoolchildren find learning about the internet and technology more fun than maths and English, according to a survey of 10 to 16 year olds.

More significantly, more than half already believe they learn more from the internet than from books.

And almost all of them think it would be cool to be able to use the internet during break times and after school hours.

The telephone survey, of more than 400 children, was carried out by Mori for the computer supplier Compaq. The results were published at the BETT2000 educational technology show in London.
lara croft
Lara Croft, teacher?
The research suggests that more than one in three schoolchildren believes that Lara Croft, star of the Tomb Raider series and computer games icon, would make a better technology teacher than their current technology teacher.

Looked at another way, two thirds do not agree with the suggestion - which may be something of a fillip for their existing technology teachers.

More seriously, more than 70% of the children surveyed believe that their teachers still need help with new technology.

'Crucial skills'

Rod Curry, director, of Compaq's government, education and medical division, said: "In years to come, information skills are likely to be as crucial for schoolchildren as numeracy and literacy skills.

"This research has demonstrated that children as young as 10 are already enthralled by the internet, with over two thirds of all 10 to 11-year-olds acknowledging that technology will play an important role in their careers.

"Today's schoolchildren have made their views clear: new technology is a major factor in their education.

"This research demonstrates the needs for information technology vendors not only to make hardware simple to use, but also to ensure easy management of new technologies. This will enable teachers to concentrate on the education of their pupils and not the day to day running of their IT systems."

Television losing out

In keeping with the finding that pupils think their teachers need help to master computers, more than 40% believe they learn more about the internet and technology at home than at school - with more than three quarters saying they know more about the internet than their parents.

And a similarly large majority find playing on the internet more fun than watching television. Mori says that if this were true across the board, it would equate to nearly four million children.

"This poses an interesting dilemma for parents, many of whom are keen to encourage their children to use the internet as a learning tool but are concerned about the risks posed by areas such as internet addiction or pornography," Mr Curry says, stressing the importance of software that shields children from unsuitable material.

Among other findings, hardly any of the children would regard people who are interested in technology as "geeks".

And in a modern day variation of 'our school has the longest main corridor in the country', more than 15% believe their school has the oldest computer in the country.

See also:

02 Nov 99 | UK Education
11 Jan 00 | Business
16 Dec 99 | UK Education
04 Nov 99 | UK Education
03 Dec 99 | Entertainment
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