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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 17:01 GMT
BBC curriculum gets kids to jam
BBC Jam front page
BBC Jam tailors content to the curriculum various parts of the UK
The BBC's new interactive learning service for five to 16-year-olds has been launched.

The new website - called BBC Jam - includes opportunities to write teen soap storylines in French, and create audio, video and games.

The launch of the broadband service was delayed after software companies took court action against the plans.

BBC Director General Mark Thompson said he was proud of the "innovative and distinctive service".

'Exciting development'

BBC Jam's motto is "explore. learn. create". Claire Dresser, from BBC strategic communications, says what makes the service distinctive is the opportunity for children to create their own content.

"You can go in and approach subjects from any angle, and create your own cartoons, projects and games to challenge your friends.

"This was absolutely built for children and the ones we have seen use it can't get enough of it," she said. "It really is good fun."

"Les Choix", a teenage drama in French, has "dishy actors, fast cars and storylines that could have come from Hollyoaks", according to project manager Anne Eastgate.

The episodes use cartoon strip-style animation, reinforcing language from the soap, and allow children to make their own strips.

Content in maths, English, science, geography, French and business studies will be the first to go live in the next few weeks.

Material is tailored to the user's age and needs according to the school curriculum in their part of the UK.

Liz Cleaver, BBC controller of learning and interactive, said: "We wanted to provide a service that would stimulate children and engage them in education by putting creativity and control in their hands.

"This heralds an exciting development for online learning and we hope this will make a true impact on education in the UK."

There was concerted opposition to the proposal for a new online curriculum from commercial companies.

A judicial review was sought by educational software companies who argued that the use of state money to fund the BBC's plans would be illegal under European law.

In early 2003 an out of court settlement was reached. In 2005, the online content was piloted in hundreds of UK schools.

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