Far from the esoteric world of the CeBit IT trade show, Time showed off a school desk PC at the Education Show 2001 at Birmingham's NEC at the end of March.
Called the I-Desk, Time's idea is essentially to build a normal PC into a modular school desk. Multiple desks can be dovetailed together to form chains, which is the way most classes are laid out.
The I-Desk is a computer housed in a removable 'cassette' that locks into the desk frame (pictured). With a TFT flat screen and a compartment for storing the keyboard, this design should solve many of the associated security and health issues. Whether schools will be able to afford it is another matter, of course.
"The system has been evolved in response to the difficulties experienced with existing classroom and information and communications technology computer centre arrangements," said Christine Coward, Time's head education adviser. "Everything is within the desk and there are no wires to play with or monitors to hide behind."
Time says it will be selling the I-Desk from April through Time Education and Intercase UK Limited, its project partner. Typical pricing for a 15-schoolchild network would be around £19,000.