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Sunday, May 30, 1999 Published at 02:01 GMT 03:01 UK


BBC launches digital learning channel

BBC Knowledge is to be the latest digital television channel

BBC Knowledge, a digital television channel dedicated to education, goes on air on Tuesday.

The channel, the BBC's second digital-only channel, plans to provide learning materials across an age range from pre-school through to adults, with an emphasis on interactivity and practical learning.

The channel will help viewers with learning languages, revising for exams and will encourage adults to use information technology and the Internet.

Websites providing support materials and a point of contact for viewers will be integrated with the channel and individual programmes.

Although unavailable on conventional, terrestrial television, the channel will be available free on digital television, including digital satellite, digital terrestrial and, when it launches, digital cable.

Online innovation

The channel, which begins broadcasting at 5pm, is aiming to attract a wide audience, beyond the boundaries of traditional educational broadcasting.

"BBC Knowledge will appeal to a wide range of audiences - from early learners and students facing exams, to young adults starting out in life and work to those wishing to pursue a passion," said the BBC's director of education, Jane Drabble.

Developed under head of programming Liz Cleaver, the channel aims to be a pioneer in its integration of online and television services. This approach "to online has never been attempted before on a channel-wide scale", she says.

The channel, which will broadcast between 5pm and midnight on weekdays and in the mornings at weekends, will provide material for improving vocational, workplace skills, as well as programmes designed for use by children at home.

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