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Mara Chrystie

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Mara Chrystie, former Head Teacher of the Hermitage Primary School in East London, describes her school as "rich in diversity, even if cash poor". Mara considers it important that the school's staff, children and parents have opportunities to develop their ICT skills. She says, "A profound question we need to ask is 'What is the role of the school in exploring beyond the boundaries of the classroom?'".

Hermitage School Climbing Wall

Hermitage primary phase teacher Anne Hafford has always had a personal and professional interest in ICT in education. She uses the Internet frequently at home and considers introducing computers into the classroom an important part of technological development for both staff and students. "I have used email to communicate with US scientists in their use of ICT in the classroom. There is an ongoing dialouge between these professionals and our students. It broadens students' interests in professional fields and peer interest worldwide. It is a very positive advancement with great change in a small window of time."

Ken Millar, also a teacher at Hermitage Primary, emphasises the use of ICT as a resource for planning and teaching. "ICT emphasises the aims and ethos of the school. The Internet sustains, broadens and increases my knowledge of specific areas of professional use. The Internet allows students and teachers to give a flavour of the school atmosphere and express their opinions and philosophies."

The focus of these teachers at Hermitage Primary puts emphasis on discovering and exploring other countries and cultures through technology. The unlikely use of the school's playground as a 'map of the world' has helped the students with ICT, electronically requesting children in other countries to send playground games that can be played at Hermitage Primary. The current games' collection includes hopscotch from Sweden and a playground version of chess from Russia.

The school's current focus for continuing this creative approach to ICT teaching and learning is fund-raising. As with many schools, funds are needed to develop ongoing ICT projects including the use of video conferencing, an Intranet for the school and development of its website. Part of the funds raised by Hermitage Primary will be used to turn the school's computer room into a cybercafe to serve the local community, another way in which the school is striving to expand its boundaries.

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