World constituency for a politics of learning

April 7, 1995

David Hunt, minister for public service and science, was glad-handing at the Web Days.

He helped connect the first five secondary schools in the United Kingdom to the web and then formally acted as go-between as Cern handed over licensing of its impressive WebMaker application to Cambridge-based Harlequin.

The five Wirral schools, all in Mr Hunt's constituency, are part of a pilot project launched by the University of Liverpool to strengthen links between higher education and its "nursery" sectors.

Lawrie Schonfelder, director of computing services at Liverpool, set up user names and welcome pages on the university's server for the five schools which they are continuing to use.

"We are also talking about extending the facility in some form to the remainder of the secondary schools in the Merseyside area," Dr Schonfelder said.

The project already has echoes in other parts of the UK with pilots such as that launched by TOSCA (see news, page ii).

Further education colleges are also potential partners. Some such as Falmouth College of Art and Design in Cornwall, have already taken the step of creating a presence on the web with their own servers.

The Web Days also saw the first French school on the web, the Lycee International de Ferney-Voltaire which teaches six different national programmes.

Mr Hunt's handover of the WebMaker application marked a significant coup for Harlequin.

Cern's Neil Calder said: "The Web offers the clearest vision of communication methods of the future."

The question was, how will web users easily and economically convert all their existing information into web format?

WebMaker converts documents from the FrameMaker format into web versions.

Harlequin plans to extend the present UNIX version to cover Windows and Macintosh platforms.

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