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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Pupils get lessons in PlayStation
Sony PlayStation Portable
The games will be used in a few subjects at first
Children at a secondary school in Birmingham are to be taught using hand-held games consoles.

Lessons in French, history and geography might suddenly become extra-popular as they will be the test-bed for the scheme.

Holyhead Secondary School in Handsworth, Birmingham, is taking part in a trial, using PlayStation Portable games machines.

Teachers say the machines will be used to tailor-make lessons for pupils.

But children hoping to play the latest commercial game in class will be disappointed.


Head teacher Martin Bayliss says the scheme has potential.

"It's not about using the console for games, but it does have a lot of exciting potential for learning opportunities," he said.

The school says there will be no football games or violent scenes.

Sony is using the inner-city school as a pilot for a scheme it might extend if successful.

It teamed up with the school after one of its staff left to become a teacher there.

French language teacher Lorna Diprose used to work for Sony in marketing. "The big key is independent learning," she said.

"The console is just like a mini-computer, but fast, and you can use it to tailor-make lessons for pupils who need support or stretching."

It would be very obvious if anyone tried to load games onto them
Lorna Diprose, teacher

And she is sure any attempts to run games on the consoles would soon be found out.

"You are talking about access to all kinds of resources, but it would be very obvious if anyone tried to load games onto them."

Teachers at the school have been taught how to use the machines over the past two months and will begin teaching with them after the Easter break.

The trial is due to finish at the end of the school year.

Head teacher Martin Bayliss said simulations were being carried out in key subjects, with teachers learning how to create podcasts, download pictures and videos, upload students' work and help students with particular learning needs.

"Sony are interested in developing education software and we are delighted that they are carrying out their PlayStation pilot at Holyhead," he said.

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