Sony yesterday unveiled its PSP in Education initiative in London.

Sony Computer Entertainment UK’s managing director, Ray Maguire, presented the project, which has been developed for use in primary schools by Relentless Software on behalf of Sony and the DFES (Department for Education and Skills).

The project, organised by ConnectED Services, will see the PlayStation Portable introduced in schools as a learning tool.

Sony began using the PlayStation 2 and EyeToy as a method of communication between students in different schools in 2003. The company is now experimenting with portable devices such as the PSP. Although this handheld is designed for gaming, it can be used in the classroom to download RSS feeds, listen to audio files, view images and watch video footage. The PSP is also physically robust and has a significantly lower price point than other PDAs.

The results of trials carried out in classes at Maplesden Noakes School were positive, with students benefiting in ways such as being able to work at their own pace and rewind audio files to ensure they didn't miss any details. A further trial is planned soon, involving 10 schools in Newcastle.

Relentless Software also demonstrated its educational game: Buzz! The Schools Quiz. Questions cover elements of the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum from all subject areas, and enable teachers to control the pace and length of games.