Children with the world at their fingertips

A ST Neots school is blazing a pioneering trail when it comes to using digital technology in education. Crosshall Junior School, Crosshall Road, Eaton Ford, was chosen to present itself on a global stage as an international example of how new technology c

A ST Neots school is blazing a pioneering trail when it comes to using digital technology in education.

Crosshall Junior School, Crosshall Road, Eaton Ford, was chosen to present itself on a global stage as an international example of how new technology can be used in the classroom.

Headteacher Julia Elliott was the opening speaker in London at an assembly of ministers of education from 60 countries.

The school was also visited by 50 Swedish teachers, headteachers and IT leaders, who wanted to see pupils use film-making and animation as part of their learning.

And, to add to the international interest in Crosshall, a visit is being arranged for a delegation from Kazakhstan.

Mrs Elliott explained to delegates at the World Ministerial Seminar on Technology in Education that youngsters at Crosshall successfully use new media for their school work across the curriculum.

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Her 25-minute presentation included showing a film pupils had made about a day in the life of their school, called iDiscover.

She also told them about a five-minute documentary Year Six children had made about life in Kenya, which began with the children making models of animals to use in an animated film.

Mrs Elliott told The Hunts Post: "Computer technology enhances conventional learning. It does not replace it.

"It has enabled innovations including a seven-year-old boy being able to create a maths lesson at home on a disk and bring it in to share with the rest of the class."

The pupils have also had access to their own broadcasting station, CJS Waves.

Material was recorded and compiled on to a computer and broadcast in the dining hall and playground.

Over the past seven years, Crosshall has gone from an Ofsted report in 2001 criticising the school's ICT provision to an Ofsted in June 2006 saying that "standards in the arts and information and communications technology are particularly noteworthy".

The school prides itself on digital media being used at various levels. Mrs Elliott said the animation project was "phenomenal" and not just in terms of technology skills.

"If you take a child with dyslexia, he or she is going to struggle with written words, but we can bypass that problem by using film.

"The output itself is not important. It is the learning and thinking process that teaches literacy through another medium."

In the academic year 2005/6, Crosshall was chosen to work with the then Department for Education and Skills on a two-year research project into the best ways to motivate children.

It was one of 17 schools nationally - only two of them primary - to take part in the project, which finishes in April.

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