Creating a cyberspace playground at Runnymede Public School

By Ian McMillan, The Villager, Toronto, December l995

The dodo disappeared from the world in the 17th century but has been discovered again at Runnymede Public School - in cyberspace. Dodo Land in Cyberspace is an electronic magazine introduced to the school by one of its creators and British Columbia resident, Della Burford. Burford was in Toronto recently showing Runnymede Public School children the program. The school is the first in Toronto subscribing to the program.

Burford and Dale Bertrand decided to create Dodo Land in Cyberspace while participating in the Swiftsure Arcade, an internet project underwritten by the British Columbia and Federal governments to showcase creative activites including writing and visual art.
Together they put their web site together using a book they wrote and illustrated 18 years ago, Journey to Dodo Land. "It's a tremendous vehicle for communication. They (children) can take my stories and make them a fantasy place," said Burford.

The internet program consists of four activity pods for children to explore.
The Night Bubble activity pod is fast becoming popular with many children. More than 120 pieces of art alone were created for it at Runnymede Public School. Burford said she will have a difficult time selecting pieces of art for the electronic magazine. From those pictures children from all over Canada will go in and create stories around them. "This is a tremendous vehicle for communication. It allows children here (at Runnymede) to share their work with childen from around the world." said Burford. Runnymede student Annelise told the Villager the program is easy to use and "it's fun."

In addition to Dodo Land in Cyberspace the site is represented as a Dodo Land conference on the Top Kids bulletin board in Vancouver. They have five hundred subscribers and 40 schools using their bulletin board. "We're really developing it as we get feedback," said Burford." "It teaches kids about the environment and creativity and allows them to talk to children in other parts of the world." Burford also showed Dodo Land in Cyberspace to Swansea Public School before returning to British Columbia.

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Created: 01/02/96 Updated: 1/20/98