More on RISC OS in schoolsBy Chris Williams. Published: 15th Mar 2005, 18:54:27 | Permalink | Printable
New web browser hopes could address tech gap woesAs a follow up to our previous article on the role RISC OS plays in today's education, Daryl Barber of St Bede's Catholic Middle School, Redditch, has reported on how his school uses our platform.
The school uses 6 RiscPCs and 26 Acorn Network Computers on an NT 4 network, running Topcat 1, for year 5 and 6 pupils.
"[Finding a suitable] web browser is an issue, but the teaching staff have not used RISC OS, they all have Windows laptops," says Daryl.
"The RISC OS computers still produce some stunning work: Spex+ designs, Dazzle and Textease for animations, Vision24 for capturing images, Draw for some vector work and Sonor for playing with sounds. The pupils enjoy using them, the platform is not an issue."
The NCs only have 256 colour desktops, which is limiting, according to Daryl. Weighing up whether or not to move to Apple computers, he adds: "If they had Draw and Dazzle, even without, I could live with 34 Mac Minis and flat screens to replace the RISC OS machines. PCs are so cheap it, would be easy to have all PCs but my hair would be even greyer and my language bluer. BBCs and RISC OS produce adaptable, computer literate pupils."
Our report concluded that one of the main problems faced by the remaining schools that employ RISC OS is the lack of a modern web browser for the OS. With the possibility of a Firefox port or Oregano 3 brought to the platform, could we see a change in fortune? Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to lock UK schools into their platform, offering hand outs to cash strapped schools. Judging from the response we've received from readers, it seems Gary Locock's observation that schools should be broadening children's technology horizons, rather than focusing them onto one solution, is most astute.
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