Apple's efforts in the UK education sector continue to reap rewards, the company revealed at industry show BETT 2004 last week.

The company's education business development manager Alan Bennett said: "Our sales to traditional Wintel Local Authorities are growing, largely as a result of our focus on the creative use of ICT in the classroom."

Analyst firm Gartner says the company's UK education market share is now 8.5 per cent – up from 6.4 per cent a year ago.

Apple, which has been active in the UK education market for 20 years, already has a strong user base in the UK, particularly in Scotland. The company's iLife suite – especially the use of digital video in the classroom with easy-to-use software such as iMovie – has drawn attention to Apple's solutions for the sector in recent years.

Chris Morley, project manager for Becta's ongoing teaching and learning with digital video assets project said: "Teachers are finding whole-class teaching more stimulating and interactive, and teachers are excited about the opportunities it presents."

The impact on students is also positive, he said, sharing his observations, drawn from the pilot scheme so far: "Using digital video in the classroom includes students across a range of abilities, and the editing process teaches discrimination. The quality of the final output raises self-esteem among students, which enhances confidence. And it's fun!"

Additional positive impacts, according to the scheme, include: Improved knowledge retention; increased enthusiasm and motivation; improvements in collaborative work skills. Such projects also remove barriers to learning inherent in traditional processes for visual learners.

These improvements are generating a number of policy shifts in education, with creativity in the curriculum emerging as a major policy consideration for the Department of Education and Skills.

The National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education in its recent 'All our futures: creativity, culture and educations' study said: "New technologies offer unprecedented opportunities for young people to broaden their horizons; to find new modes of creativity."

"By promoting creativity, teachers can give all pupils the opportunity to discover and pursue their particular interests and talents."

As well as stressing the simplicity and ease of use of its iLife suite, and the release of a plethora of teacher-focused teaching materials, including lesson plans, Apple discussed the success of its QuickTime Pro for Schools initiative in February 2002.

The QuickTime Pro for Schools initiative was an attempt to kick-start the use of digital video in schools. Apple worked with the respected Times Education Supplement to distribute 185,000 Picturing Literacy CDs to UK teachers. These were produced in association with the Film Education board, and included content from major movies, including Monsters Inc. that teachers could use within lessons.

Recipient schools were able to request free QuickTime Pro licences from Apple, and 85 per cent of the licences eventually supplied were for Windows, Apple confirmed.

Some school districts requested licences for all their schools, Oxfordshire Local Education Authority is such a district. Its ICT Advisory Teacher Bob Evans reports: "We are very keen to promote the use of digital video (DV) in schools. The educational benefits in making, editing and sharing DV and the effort required to do this is well worthwhile.

"The catalyst for our enthusiasm came in February when the TES magazine arrived with a CD. A call to the TES and another to Apple meant we were able to obtain a copy of the CD and the key to unlock the QuickTime software for every school in Oxfordshire."

Becta in its recent "What the research says about digital video in teaching and learning" report concludes: "The key advantage of digital video is that it promotes greater engagement with the subject, both by allowing opportunities for reflection and analysis and by developing the higher-level thinking skills necessary to communicate ideas through film