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The use of ‘3G’ mobile telephony in 2003 lead to the computerbus being shortlisted for a number of UK national awards. In July 2003, it was runner up in two such events, the eWell-Being award presented at the Mayor of London’s new building on London’s south bank, and later joint runner up in the New Statesman New Media Awards presented by The Hon Charles Clarke MP - then Education Minister, in London. The texts of the original Press Releases are reproduced below...

It was also nominated as a contender for Isle of Man Newspapers and British Airways CitiExpress Pride in Mann award.




The Manx Telecomputer Bus, supported by the Isle of Man Department of Education, was commended in the eWell-Being Awards for delivering benefits to society through wireless technology.

Developed by Sustain IT and supported by BT, the awards are the UK's first accolade to identify and promote the environmental, economic and social benefits of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Entered in the Wireless category, sponsored by Vodafone, the mobile classroom has 21 computers on board, and internet access provided by a mobile 3G phone. The travelling learning facility tours primary schools the length and breadth of the Isle of Man, providing school children with access to IT in a fun and memorable environment. The bus also provides access to IT workstations for field trips.

Since hitting the road in September 1998, the bus has visited all of the island's 35 primary schools, has made 550 visits and has reached 20,000 children.

Judges for the category said: "This fantastic project shows the potential of wireless technology to deliver location independent learning. It also adds an element of excitement and originality to IT training in schools."

Professor Peter James, director of SustainIT said: "The eWell-Being Awards winners and commended projects represent the UK's most innovative examples of technology being used to benefit society and the environment. Now in their second year, we were delighted to see over 130 entries in this year's awards and look forward to hearing about even more innovative projects in 2004."

Adrian Hosford, director of social policy at BT said: "Supporting the eWell-Being Awards is an important part of our commitment to digital inclusion, and we wholeheartedly congratulate this year's winning and commended entries. Their innovative use of technology for social and environmental good are an inspiration to all organisations."

SustainIT is an initiative of UK CEED, a not-for-profit research centre. It conducts research on, and provides best practice examples of, synergies between ICT and sustainable development. The UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development (UK CEED) is an independent charitable foundation working with government, business and the voluntary sector to promote environmental best practice. It undertakes high quality and innovative environmental research, policy development, demonstration projects and education and engagement activities. For more information visit www.sustainit.org and www.ukceed.org.


The Manx Telecomputer Bus came joint second and was commended in the Contribution to Civic Society category at this year's New Statesman New Media Awards London July 16th 2003

The New Statesman, Britain's leading political magazine, commended the Manx Telecomputer Bus in their New Media Awards in the Contribution to Civic Society category. Since 1999, these awards have promoted projects that embrace new technology, fresh thinking and creative management in the UK.

The key themes of this year's awards were "innovation, accessibility and efficiency". They intended to award those who have really achieved something good for society.

"We hear a great deal about how the internet and such like will improve our lives," says Peter Wilby, editor of the New Statesman. "This project aims to look at how far the digital revolution has really brought us."

According to the nomination in the Civic Society Section:

"Information technology teacher Alex Townsend has successfully brought computer technology education directly to primary school students on the Isle of Man for over five years using his Computer Bus. Inside the bus, rows of seats have been replaced with rows of Apple Power Mac computers, creating a computer lab on wheels for children who would otherwise not be able to access such technology. He recently used the 3G technology on his mobile phone as a server for the computers to increase the computers' connection speed. Although his efforts are limited to schools on the Isle of Man, his work serves as an excellent example of the capabilities of new mobile phone technology."

Megan Hayes

©2008 Isle of Man Department of Education All Rights Reserved