Becta's public defence of its extraordinary awards judgement that The Three Little Cowboy Builders book and CD-Rom is offensive to Muslims and builders is contradicted by one of its very own websites. Curriculum Online describes the same product as "engaging", and "with narration and supporting resources to inspire children to become authors and create their own pop-up books". No mention is made of any offensiveness.

In a BBC online story by Sean Coughlan, which ay one point was the second most-read story on the BBC website yesterday (January 23), Becta chose to stand by its judges' ruling, and claimed that its awards partners felt the same way. Yet Curriculum Online, the online service run by Becta and developed at great expense by the government to advise teachers on suitable products to purchase for their classrooms, gives the following glowing description, reproduced here verbatim:

"The Three Little Cowboy Builders I-Fly POP-UP Book uses ICT to develop key literacy and design technology skills. Engaging interactive animated POP-UP book with narration and supporting resources to inspire children to become authors and create their own POP-UP books... [more below]

Curriculum Online review is at:

http://tinyurl.com/yrkbk4

"The Three Little Cowboy Builders I-Fly POP-UP Book contains: Animated 3D POP-UP Book A unique virtual POP-UP book with animation and narration. There is a lesson or two to be learnt in this darkly humorous version of The Three Little Pigs??? go to school make the grade, take advice and learn a trade, or...? Story Creator Use Shoo Fly's new STORY CREATOR software to interact with backgrounds, characters and objects from the animated book to design, write and illustrate new stories. Print out and make into books.

"Easy to use, designed for use on Interactive Whiteboards and individually on PCs and Apple Macs. Activity Bank Print out pages from the Animated POP-UP Book and build a real book with moving mechanisms. Use individual characters as puppets to support creative development. Resource Bank Characters, objects and backgrounds from the animated book can be used to create new stories and onscreen activities. Print out and use to support creative development. Key Features - Uses ICT to develop key literacy skills. - Children can use design technology skills to build their own POP-UP books. - A software solution to develop a creative curriculum. - Ideas for cross-curricular links. - Animation and sound engages children of all abilities."

The Curriculum Online review gives the Shoo-fly publication date as January 10, 2007.

The BBC story is at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7204635.stm[/b]


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