Cash and new tool aids ILT project

November 17, 2000

Students and staff at Warrington Collegiate Institute are appreciating the value of information and learning technologies with the help of Further Education Funding Council cash and a ground-breaking electronic tool.

The institute, which has hundreds of students spread over two sites, has had a growing need in the past two years to involve staff in the use of new technologies and to encourage students to develop IT skills.

Mike White, the institute's technical director, said the opportunity to push ahead on the ILT project came with funding and the arrival of Mimio, a "whiteboard-to-web" tool.

Mimio, created by Boston-based company Virtual Ink, is an internet device that attaches to a classroom board and allows it to be viewed across a local network or across the internet.

Mr White said: "We were looking for ways to make traditional lecture-based teaching more interesting and attractive. Standard electronic whiteboards with PC attachments cost about £5,000, and that's always been a prohibitive cost for us.

"This application is a fraction of that cost. Students and staff in non-IT courses, from engineering to hairdressing, are using the tool in ways that we had not envisaged and have become more confident in their use of IT.

"We've made good use of the mimio mouse feature that effectively turns the classroom whiteboard into a giant touchscreen and allows us to project desktop applications such as Powerpoint or even Jump straight to the internet."

The institute is planning to expand the use of the tool in the next six months, using Virtual Ink's boardCast content creation application to store and stream lectures delivered via mimio across the net for distance learners.

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