Digital media can work wonders in the classroom. On 12 January Espresso for Schools, a project developed in the framework of ESA's multimedia programme, won the Award for Innovation at BETT 2000, one of the most prestigious events in the UK's educational calendar.
The Espresso environment is a one-stop solution integrating a wealth of multimedia resources, such as interactive video-rich materials covering language, science or maths, news, guides to educational TV programmes and selected websites for schools, all organised in a clear and structured way, easy to navigate for teachers and pupils alike. All the material is updated weekly via satellite, and stored on the hard disks of the school servers for off-line use.
The Espresso for Schools project lasted 18 months and was completed in December. It dealt with the integration and pilot operations of a satellite-based platform delivering multimedia learning content to fifty primary schools in the UK, with the aim of helping teachers improve educational standards in the classroom through intelligent, guided use of ICT (information and communication technologies).
The project involved the development of several aspects of the service value chain, from content creation and subject characterisation to delivery via satellite to the classroom desktop.
It was received with enthusiasm by the teachers and children who took part in the trials, proving in the field that satellite communications can be an effective and affordable way of bringing multimedia to schools.
Developed by Espresso Productions Ltd, Espresso is currently being launched as a commercial service in the UK. Looking to the future, the concept is readily exportable to other countries.
The ESA multimedia programme, called ARTES 3, is devoted to improving the competitiveness of European and Canadian industry and operators in the field of broadband multimedia via satellite, through cofinanced projects. The Espresso initiative is an object lesson in how a partnership-based approach can help European companies become established in the challenging world of satellite broadband communications.
The ESA multimedia programme currently covers fourteen application projects in the fields of distance education, telemedicine, intranet and e-commerce. It includes provision for the creation of building blocks for multimedia systems and the development of the next generation of European broadband satellite systems.
For further information, please contact:
Francesco Feliciani, ESA/ESTEC
Tel: +31 71 565 4109, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Bowden, Espresso Productions
Tel: +44 181 237 1200, e-mail: email@example.com
ESA Public Relations Division