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Press release

  • 16 April 2007

HOMEWORK is a hit with parents, teachers and pupils

The HOMEWORK system appeals to parents, children and teachers alike

The HOMEWORK system appeals to parents, children and teachers alike

A new interactive learning system that helps parents keep in touch with what their children are doing at school is proving to be a great success with pupils, parents and teachers.

The research - based at the IDEAS laboratory in the School of Science and Technology at the University of Sussex and the London Knowledge Lab and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - involved the development of the HOMEWORK system.

HOMEWORK is an interactive learning tool that enables children between the ages of five and seven to learn and practice Key Stage 1 mathematics using a range of multimedia technologies - both in the classroom and at home with their families.

The researchers found that using HOMEWORK:

  • improved communication between parents, teachers and learners;
  • provided continuity between home and school learning;
  • made numeracy learning more engaging for many learners;
  • increased participation and enjoyment in homework (by parents as well as pupils);
  • and may have increased the effectiveness of time spent learning.

HOMEWORK integrates educational software with broadcast-quality video from the Channel Four educational TV series The Number Crew. Children work in a teacher-led group using an interactive whiteboard, either on their own or in small groups using tablet PCs. The teacher can use his or her own tablet PC to plan lessons, manage the class, allocate work and monitor each child's progress. Parents can see what their children have been doing at school, are able to offer help and feel more involved with the classroom.

Teachers were enthusiastic about using the HOMEWORK system, as long as it was robust and well integrated with the rest of the school's activities. For the children, using HOMEWORK meant they spent more time on their learning, displayed greater concentration and engagement and enjoyed the choice of activities and computer game-style 'rewards'. Parents enjoyed using the tablet PCs with their children, they were better able to talk with their children about school work and were able to better understand what, and how, their children were learning at school.

Commenting on the study, Professor Rosemary Luckin, who led the research team, says: "Children benefited from having their own personal tablet for learning about maths at home and in the classroom. Teachers appreciated being able to offer learners exciting multimedia activities and non-paper based homework. Parents enjoyed working with their children using the technology at home and being able to see what their child had been doing at school. All-in-all a great success and a model for other such schemes."

Notes for editors

  • The research was led by Professor Rosemary Luckin, based at The London Knowledge Lab and Sussex University's IDEAS laboratory in the School of Science and Technology, working with commercial partners (Open Mind Productions and Channel 4 Learning) and Little Horsted and Westdene Primary Schools, Sussex.
  • The HOMEWORK project involved working with teachers, parents and children to develop an initial system vision into a series of increasingly sophisticated prototypes. Each prototype was evaluated with the stakeholders, revised in light of the data collected during these evaluations and then re-evaluated. At each stage the functionality of the prototype was increased, leading to a final evaluation involving use of the prototype HOMEWORK system for a month with a class of primary school learners, their teacher and families.
  • The HOMEWORK project is part of the People @ the Centre of Communication and Information Technologies (PACCIT) programme. PACCIT aims to develop a much greater understanding of the psychological, social and organisational characteristics of individuals and groups as they relate to, and interact with, information technologies, and to feed this knowledge back into the evaluation and design of more effective IT systems and products.
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It supports independent, high-quality research relevant to business, the public sector and voluntary organisations. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2007-08 is £181 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institutes. More at  ESRC Press Office: Alexandra Saxon Tel: 01793 413032, e-mail: Annika Howard Tel: 01793 413119, e-mail:

University of Sussex Press office: Maggie Clune or Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 678 888 or email

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