Apple's bid to encourage schools to embrace its digital-video solutions is resulting in better-behaved and happier pupils, a UK government education agency revealed yesterday.
In a joint conference, Apple, Canon, and the British Educational Communications Technology Agency (BECTA) – yesterday revealed the initial findings of a digital-video pilot.
UK government agency BECTA launched the digital-video pilot in October 2001, issuing 50 UK schools with an iMovie-equpped iMac and a range of Canon digital-video cameras. Feedback from participating schools – including a young offenders institute – showed that the project resulted in an improvement in pupils' behaviour, motivation and attendance.
The aim of the project was to identify ways of inspiring pupils' creativity, and to gather evidence on the impact of information and communications technology on team-building.
We were keen to use Apple from the start because teachers were telling us they felt comfortable with Apple software – pupils also genuinely find the software easy to use.
Helen Walker, BECTA's head of practice said: "Digital literacy has been picked out as a key area for development by the government. What BECTa want to do is raise awareness of digital video and what it can do in terms of education. We want to maximise the potential of ICT and see it combined in the classroom with traditional teaching methods."
Martin Vessey, Apple's country education sales manager, said: "Apple heard about the pilot and wanted to get involved. We contacted BECTA, which led to talks and ultimately our association with the pilot."
Chris Morley, Apple's strategic business manager said: "We'd already had anecdotal evidence about the success of digital video in education, but BECTA wanted to carry out its own assessment, so Apple supplied equipment, training and support to 50 schools for free."
Morley explained the importance of ICT to teachers: "It makes a difference to teachers. They like to think they're making a difference, they like things that make them teach better, or teach things in a different way, and pupils love ICT because they are no longer passive recipients.
"We are at the start of a revolution where we have to harness the moving image and learn its language which digital video editing software iMovie and the iMac have made easier.
"Being involved in this project gave Apple the opportunity to talk to people that we may never have spoken to under normal circumstances."
Film director Lord David Puttnam, a government appointee to the board of BECTA addressed the Northampton-based conference. He said: "Moving images are the key drivers of the information society. However, we have failed to capitalize on digital technologies in education. There is a "disconnect" between the lives of pupils inside schools and the lives of the students outside.
"Why shouldn't kids learn French from kids in France via video conferencing? Our education systems must respond to changes in technology, and I believe it will revolutionize the way information is taught and learnt."
Putnam's films include The Mission, Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone, Memphis Belle and, most recently, My Life So Far.