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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 12:14 GMT
25m extra for schools technology
By Justin Parkinson
BBC News Online education staff

school whiteboard
More schools will have whiteboards
Schools are to get 25m extra to spend on new technology.

Education Secretary Charles Clarke said the money would go towards interactive whiteboards, which replace traditional blackboards with internet and video displays.

This would help "meet the personal needs of every learner", he told the Bett education technology conference in London.

Mr Clarke said schools would also be allowed to use money from their building repairs budgets on whiteboards.

This should free up 85,000 for a typical secondary school and 25,000 for an average primary.

Mr Clarke told an audience at the Olympia exhibition hall: "Whiteboard technology is really motivating pupils to learn."

"Technology such as this can help create a more personalised education system."

'Personalised approach'

Mr Clarke said information and communication technology (ICT) in schools, could help improve GCSE results, by "half a grade" if used properly.

Whiteboards meant children could take part in displays. This was particularly effective in improving maths and science teaching, he added.

Mr Clarke said: "We have to understand more about what is the most appropriate way to use the technology to move it forward.

"Let us focus ruthlessly on how we use this to make a real difference."

More than 99% of schools were connected to the internet, he added.

The figure spent on improving access, including the introduction of broadband connections, would be 900m by 2006.

Mr Clarke also called for an expansion of the Global Gateway, which links schools, colleges and universities with their counterparts abroad, describing it as an educational "dating agency".

He said: "Like dating in real life, once the first contact has been made, anything can happen."

Representatives from more than 31 countries are attending the Bett show.

At an earlier debate on the future of ICT, Professor Stephen Heppel of Anglia Polytechnic University, spoke of a "tectonic shift" in different countries' use of technology in schools.

He said: "We have a divide between those which are using computers to make children work faster and those going for creativity.

"Is ICT about delivering or inspiring? We should be delivering opportunities and inspiration to children."

Prof Heppel said he and colleagues abroad were working towards an International Certificate of Digital Creativity, to ensure technology would be used more appropriately.

He added: "Kids who have been excluded from schools and have been using ICT have been out-performing those who are left in the classroom at GCSE.

"This shows us that we need a better strategy within the classroom."

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