TESCO SCHOOLNET 2000 – Intuitive Media – Ultralab (1990-2006) – DFES

As we head into 2005, I thought I’d have a look back and I stumbled across information that predates me at Ultralab (1990-2006), but still something I was a part of, in a very different way. Between the years of 1995 – 2000, while studying full time at APU I was also working part time for Tesco. During that period, I worked on the staff reception, announced the cheep banana’s over the tannoy and went on to run the checkouts in the evenings and weekends.

During my time at Tesco, I remember groups of schools turning up at our branch to use some funky looking computers supplied by Apple in the staff training room.

So why am I rambling on about this? Computers were not wired up very well to the internet in 1999/2000….not many schools were online, and Tesco SchoolNet 2000 was an online project, allowing schools to come into a Tesco store and use the equipment to take part in the worlds biggest online project….the Guinness World Record Award proves it! Over 520,000 children have taken part. Over 17,400 UK schools registered for the project.

Tesco SchoolNet 2000 still exists online, with Ultralab (1990-2006)‘s big friend Intuitive Media who do very similar things to Ultralab (1990-2006) (we’re academic, they are corporate).

Tesco SchoolNet 2000 is now known as SchoolNet Global.

Ultralab (1990-2006) and Tesco went on to design the ‘Learning Zone’ in the Millennium Dome.

During my first week at Ultralab (1990-2006) I headed up to the Dome with Professor Stephen Heppell for the first ever SEEVEAZ/Ultralab (1990-2006) Summer School It was at the Millennium Dome that I first met Shirley Pickford an Ultranaut who was working at the dome doing ‘SchoolNet Stuff’.

So, I left a company who were funding SchoolNet, to join one of the organisations that made it happen.

Here is extract information from The Story of SchoolNet….


The SchoolNet Global project has grown from the long and valuable collaboration between Intuitive Media and Ultralab (1990-2006). Both organizations are driven to place the full power of technology in the hands of children and teachers and have led the development of participative learning on the Web.

Ultralab (1990-2006) is based at Anglia Polytechnic University, and is dedicated to research into teaching, learning and technology. Professor Stephen Heppell, Director, is advisor to many governments and a world leader in developing the use of technology in education.

Intuitive Media, led by founding directors Bob Hart and Carole Fletcher, is dedicated to promoting the creative uses of ICT in education at all levels – from infancy to maturity. The company has a long track record of leading educational projects and developing highly imaginative ICT-based educational tools. They work closely with Ultralab (1990-2006) developing the SchoolNet Global project.

Here is a chronology of the participative online projects in which the SchoolNet Global team have been involved:

1991 – Apple Global Education
The first major online collaborative global curriculum project, funded by Apple Computer, and originally led by Dave Allan, the project was further developed by Ultralab (1990-2006) and Intuitive Media. The project initially used e-mail, then AppleLink and then eWorld, to bring together child and academic authors from over 200 institutions in 30 countries around the world, to work collaboratively on curriculum investigations.

1997 – Schools Online
A DTI-Funded Ultralab (1990-2006) project. A group of schools and universities were encouraged to build their own HTML pages based around curriculum projects, and communicate through e-mail and web “stickies”.

1998 – Tesco SchoolNet 2000
The Millennium project, initially sponsored by Tesco and developed by Intuitive Media and Ultralab (1990-2006), which enabled child authors in 18,000 UK schools to publish their collaborative curriculum investigations online. Since 2000, the project has been funded by Intuitive Media. The direct precursor to SchoolNet Global.

1998 – Scoop
Online community system for schools, created by Oracle and Ultralab (1990-2006). Precursor to Think.com.

1999 – Compaq Quality in Education
Intuitive Media developed the Quality in Education website for Compaq. At its heart was Intuitive Media’s powerful content management tool – a technical breakthrough allowing staff to edit a complete website, with no programing.

2000 – Millennium Schools
In response to demands from SchoolNet member schools, Intuitive Media upgraded its content engine and provided schools with a tool to build their own completely editable websites. One thousand schools have joined the project.

2000 – Think.com
Sophisticated online community system, based on Scoop, developed by Oracle with guidance from Ultralab (1990-2006). It is now used to host the GridClub Clubs.

2001 – GridClub
Multiple media online project for UK 7-11 year olds. Funded by DfES and developed by Intuitive Media, Channel 4 Learning and Oracle. Includes a rich resource of educational games on the GridClub.com website, supported by Channel 4’s What If? educational TV series. The online Children’s Clubs are hosted in Think.com and developed and run by Intuitive Media and led by James Blomfield who brings his SchoolNet 2000 experience to make the project a great success.

2002 – SchoolNet Global
Building on the online resource base and established community of SchoolNet 2000, the technical innovations of Quality in Education and Millennium Schools, and learning from the experience of all the above projects, Intuitive Media and Ultralab (1990-2006) opened up the SchoolNet Global project to schools around the world.

April 2002 – England
The UK Department for Education and Skills contracted Intuitive Media to provide the SchoolNet Global service for all schools in England.

July 2002 – New website
The SchoolNet Global website front-end is rebuilt with Intuitive Media’s new content engine, take2theweb, ready for its new global role.

2002 – The Millennium Schools merger
Intuitive Media’s school website building tool is brought into SchoolNet to provide a fully comprehensive service for schools and children.

January 2003 – Going global
The project is launched to teachers from around the world at the BETT show in London, the European SchoolNet conference in Brussels and British Council events in Moscow and St Petersburg.

March 2003 – Members in over 20 countries
Just two months after its international launch, we have project members from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda and USA.

Published by

Matthew Eaves

Matthew Eaves is Director at Creative Learning Systems Ltd

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