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Monday, October 5, 1998 Published at 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK


Helping parents help children learn

DynaMo: Designed to appeal to children's TV tastes

The BBC has launched a new multimedia service for parents wanting to help their children learn at home.

The service stems from research commissioned by the BBC, showing that parents are anxious to help their children but not sure how best to go about it.

DynaMo - which runs for eight weeks from October 3 - concentrates on core skills of literacy and numeracy for primary schoolchildren.

It includes a Website, TV programmes and books and closely follows the National Curriculum in England.

Other research done by the government has indicated that home learning plays a vital role in raising children's standards of achievement. Ministers intend to issue guidelines on homework later this year and want to get parents involved.

[ image: Linford Christie:
Linford Christie: "I reckon they would like the Teletubbies for teachers"
The athlete Linford Christie told the BBC he enjoyed reading with his parents when he was young.

"I read with my own children also, but these days the computer also plays a part in learning with my children."

Clothes Show presenter Caryn Franklin, also enjoys playing computer learning games with her daughter, Mateda, who is five.

"She has a natural way with technology because like many lucky children these days, it's what she's always known," she said.

DynaMo might have a serious purpose but the emphasis is on making learning fun. The TV programmes can be watched by children on their own or with their parents.


Animated characters - DynaMo and SloMo - accompany children through interactive games.

[ image: SloMo: Not so dynamic]
SloMo: Not so dynamic
The Website features DynaMo's Den, with animated quizzes, interactive comic strips, maths and spelling games. The games are based in the real world, dealing with telling the time or handling money, for example.

There are three levels of difficulty to cater for the five to nine age range, along with tips for parents.

There is also an 'ask an expert' section for parents, who can e-mail questions to a team of education specialists, and answers to frequently asked questions such as "How should I approach homework?"

The Web producer for the site, Kate Vahl, said: "many parents want to get more involved in their children's learning but feel unsure how to begin.

"The DynaMo site gives them a way in by offering practical, hands-on learning resources which balance fun with focused educational objectives."

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