All aboard for the latest technology on school bus

Celebrating the launch of the newly refurbished Manx Telecomputerbus with Kewaigue School pupils are Voirrey Barron of Manx Telecom, teacher Alex Townsend and Kewaigue teacher Janet Gilmour

Celebrating the launch of the newly refurbished Manx Telecomputerbus with Kewaigue School pupils are Voirrey Barron of Manx Telecom, teacher Alex Townsend and Kewaigue teacher Janet Gilmour

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A bus that’s used by school pupils to learn about information technology has been upgraded.

Since its launch in 1998, the Manx Telecomputer Bus has provided sessions at all the island’s primary schools, delivering many aspects of the growing information and communications technology (ICT) curriculum, enabling children to develop their computer skills.

ICT teacher Alex Townsend has been steering the computer bus project since its inception.

He said: ‘The main aim of the bus is to boost the capacity of our schools in teaching ICT.

‘This includes delivering the current learning priorities of coding and programming, along with other forms of digital media, applied ICT and computer science, as well as promoting online safety to the pupils.

‘The teaching staff benefit as they see the potential of the technology and how it can enhance learning aims. The speed of the new 4G mobile broadband service is exceptional.’

Graham Kinrade, the DEC’s ICT adviser, said: ‘As part of the government’s Vision 2020 ambition to position the island as a worldwide centre of ICT excellence, the bus inspires pupils to learn skills that will enable them to choose to become future innovators in economic sectors.’

The bus is sponsored by Manx Telecom and used by the Department of Education and Children.

The latest refurbishment includes new exterior decoration showing Manx Telecom’s 4G branding. The interior has been fitted with 4G connectivity and morethan 20 new iMac computers loaded with a wide range of education and professional software.

Last year the project, along with Mr Townsend, received worldwide publicity after being chosen by Apple as one of 30 ‘pioneers’ making a ‘profound impact’ with computers, as part of the 30th anniversary of the launch of the first Mac computer.

In April 1977, the Leyland National single decker bus began life operating timetabled bus services across the island.

In 1998, when it was destined for disposal, it was chosen to become the island’s first ever computer bus, and has been operated by the Department of Education and Children, driven by Alex Townsend and sponsored by Manx Telecom ever since.

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