TNMOC wins BETT education award

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An online video resource for schools about the history of computing has won a prestigious BETT (British Educational Technology and Training) award.

The unprecedented resource, created by the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) in partnership with The National Museum of Computing and E2bN, is now available online to approximately 25,000 UK schools connected to the National Education Network. Already it is one of the most popular resources within the LGfL resource portfolio.

The online resource is particularly relevant to schools as the ICT curriculum moves towards a focus on computing. It is thought to be first BETT Award-winning resource to have focussed on computing history.

Most of the video footage of the resource was shot at The National Museum of Computing in historic Block H, the first purpose-built computer centre and the home of Colossus. Providing a snapshot of the ever-developing museum in 2012, it follows the story of computing from Colossus the first electronic computer up to the present day via working computers from each of the past seven decades. TNMOC's Learning Co-ordinator Chris Monk is featured giving an in-depth and entertaining perspective on developments.

In awarding the project the Digital Collections and Resource Banks Award, BETT judges said: "Meets a real need in bringing together a wide range of resources which teachers would have difficulty in finding for themselves. Extremely child centred."

On receiving the award, Chris Monk, Learning Co-ordinator at TNMOC said: "As a Museum one of our key aims is to inspire future generations of computer scientists and engineers by helping students and pupils understand the rich heritage of computing. For the History of Computing project to be recognised in a BETT Award is a fine landmark! Every science needs its history to be told."

Don McGibbon, a specialist teacher in ICT at Breknock Primary School in Camden, London said: "Key Stage 2 curriculum on the History of Computing aspires to get younger children to think about 'what is inside the computer'. I created a cross-curricular series of lessons that used the extensive video footage from The National Museum of Computing to place it in a present day context. The BETT Award will be a great tool in alerting of teachers to this brilliant educational resource."

Doron Swade, computer historian and adviser to the project, commented: "The recognition given by this BETT award is a splendid vindication of both the vision and execution of this project. The resource gives mainstream schools essential historical knowledge known until now to only a small number of specialists."

Bob Usher, content manager for LGfL and project manager and co-creator said: "Our rather ambitious aim was to try to make our digital heritage relevant to current school audience in an engaging and effective way. We aimed to place past achievements in a context that would help students understand what problems were solved and how they, as the next generation, will be responsible for helping to shape all our digital futures. Winning the BETT award has been a fantastic vindication of the original aim and welcome recognition of the success of LGfL, E2bN and TNMOC working in partnership together."

About The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing, located on Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the world's largest collection of functional historic computers, including the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.

A recent pledge by an individual benefactor of £1 million if matched funding is found means that every pound or dollar donated to the Museum will count double. Previous funders of the Museum have included Bletchley Park Capital Partners, CreateOnline, Ceravision, InsightSoftware.com, Google UK, PGP Corporation, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, and 4Links.

The whole Museum is currently open to the public on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon, spring and summer Bank Holidays and increasingly during school holidays. Colossus and Tunny galleries are open almost every day. Guided tours are available at 2.30pm on Tuesdays. There are often additional opening times for the public -- see the website or the iPhone app for updates. Educational and corporate groups are very welcome and may be on any day or evening by prior arrangement.

For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+. A TNMOC iPhone App is also now available from the iPhone App Store.

About The London Grid for Learning

The LGfL Trust is a consortium of the London local authorities and 2.500 schools working together to provide extensive and cost effective ICT services, particularly for school broadband services. By working together schools save millions of pounds a year (about £35,000 per primary and £135,000 per secondary school) compared to schools purchasing the same services individually. See more at: http://www.lgfl.net

Media Contacts
Stephen Fleming
Palam Communications
t +44 (0) 1635 299116
e s.fleming@palam.co.uk

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