A pilot programme to train teaching staff to incorporate multi-media technology into curriculums looks likely following a recent visit to the territory by an eminent computer scientist. Dr David Dwyer, who oversees learning, schools and technology for the Apple computer company, visited Hong Kong as part of an Asian tour taking in Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore and held talks with university officers. The project would show teachers and lecturers how to integrate technology in the classroom and hence provide more vocational instruction for students. It would be based on Apple Classroom for Tomorrow (ACOT), a research and development project which examines the dynamics of classrooms in which teachers and students have close access to technology. Dr Dwyer said: 'In this programme, each teacher may bring two students with them and they learn to design a curriculum with the use of technologies - such as laser disc players, digital cameras and scanners - to enhance students' learning. 'The model programme will see the advent of Intranet [internal networks on Internet], Internet, multi-media technology, and mobility - that is, using portable electronic devices to interact with students.' Dr Dwyer said it was likely the programme would initially be launched in two or three institutes. However, no decision has yet been reached on which would be involved. He said he had met University of Hong Kong staff but no plans had been confirmed. 'We are looking for an educational institute which already has a programme on multi-media,' he said. 'We will evaluate Hong Kong's position in the education field. It has a good education system and resources, but after 1997 Chinese is likely to be the main language and that would be a problem.' Dr Dwyer has headed the ACOT project for the past nine years and has supervised its introduction to numerous public schools throughout the United States. Researchers from leading US institutes such as Stanford and the University of California in Berkeley, also are involved with ACOT. 'ACOT found out that students developed additional skills when they have easy access to technologies,' Dr Dwyer said. 'These skills include a better ability to collaborate as a team, to find and evaluate information and to communicate effectively with multi-media devices. 'They also have better motivation, more ambitious goals and better problem-solving skills. Even though it's difficult to assess these skills, they are more related to solving real-world problems.' Dr Dwyer said, however, that Apple would not simply clone the existing ACOT programme in Asia. Instead, the US computer giant would help universities and education ministries develop programmes to suit the region. Apple recently donated $1 million worth of computer equipment to Hong Kong's Ho Koon Nature Education and Astronomical Centre in Tsuen Wan. The company has set up numerous 'sites' in high schools, universities and research agencies - using Macintosh computers, laser disc players, video cameras, scanners, voice-recorders, compact disc players, modems and on-line communication services. These facilities allow students to tackle projects requiring problem-solving skills - for example, the simulated reconstruction of a city using multi-media tools like three-dimensional models, robotic models and video.