BBC DG Thompson reiterates commitment to working with UK schools

MUMBAI: The BBC faces a challenge in configuring the potential of digital media to support teachers in the UK in classrooms. Digital technology will, in the next decade, fundamentally change the nature of the relationship between teachers, students, parents and the BBC.

This was one of the key points of BBC DG Mark Thompson's speech which he delivered at the annual conference of specialist schools in the UK.

"What's been striking about my first five months in the job is how much of that change is happening in the educational space and how many of the most inspiring people I've met are working in and with the BBC's educational and learning teams.

"I think of Leigh Park Community School in Havant where I spent a morning a few weeks ago. We have built digital TV and radio studios within the school and are helping to give pupils - not to mention some members of staff and the local community - a real flavour of modern media production. The best of their work is appearing on BBC Local Radio and BBC South Today."

Thompson also mentioned Learning Express which he claims is the BBC's biggest broadband educational experiment so far. Talking further about the BBC's school initiatives he said that today the BBC is broadcasting more hours of schools programming across its channels than ever before - 39 hours of television each week. " We provide a range of schools radio programmes over the internet and over 25,000 pages of dedicated schools web content.

"But now there is digital. Digital is creating the transformational experience of our generation. It is changing fundamentally the nature of media - what media is, what it can do, the way it is made and the expectations of audiences."

While the BBC has enjoyed a close with UK schools the nature of broadcast resources, have traditionally been linear and inflexible - not ideally suited for the classroom. As a result BBC programming has never been at the heart of teacher or student needs. Thompson expressed confidence that this would change but that it would not happen overnight.

"The digital resources we already create for teachers and those that we are developing at the moment are far richer and more flexible than anything that we could create before. The content that we create in the future will be at the heart of the resources that teachers and students naturally turn to."

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