Trip of a lifetime

Was it a genuine concern for the proper use of tax payers’ money that prompted some newspapers to report on a group of teachers from Swindon [read story here] who managed to secure £32,000 of government funding for a three-week training exercise in Australia, or jealousy?

I picked this story up on two websites – the Daily Mail and Daily Express. Given the type of stories that usually excite them and their readers, it is no surprise that they focussed on the “absurdly wasteful” use of taxpayers’ money.

At first read, it does rather seem as though £32,000 spent sending 10 people to Australia to see how they use Apple Macs to educate pupils, whose first language is not English, is out of proportion. It reminded me of last week’s Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson travelled to Sydney just to see if the glove compartment on a new BMW opened “upside down”.

A jaunt to Australia does indeed sound excessive, but there is a bigger picture.

As a school governor myself, I know the strict limitations placed on budgets, and the ongoing efforts made by schools to provide an up-to-date and relevant ICT education. In this country, we also have added challenge of catering for children from a variety of backgrounds.

We know from the ongoing moral panic surrounding online bullying the type of criticism a school could face if nothing was done to properly educate the nation’s children. So we should applaud these Swindon headteachers for putting government cash to good use.

Furthermore, the £3,200-a-head trip doesn’t stop there – the knowledge gained would then be channelled into their respective schools, and they will then invest in the necessary areas.

That it also got them a three-week trip to Australia? I’m sure that schools in Brisbane and Sydney offered the best example of this use of computer, but learning should also be fun, shouldn’t it?

Nathan Bushell, editor

Controlling your digital reputation

The Independent Schools Council (ISC) has published information to help people erase their digital histories.

The ISC’s website highlights the apparent ease with which pupils, former pupils and parents are able to post defamatory material about the school or staff, and the difficulty in having this material removed from a website.

The advice page – found here [Hyperlink] – lists what you need to know, some of the key sites by pupils, and practical advice on getting material removed form websites.

ISC points out that videos, pictures, articles and comments can be published on the internet instantaneously, and there is little effective regulation or restriction on what can be published. These can include clips of lessons, and schools are not able to edit what is posted on a site.

Webites used by pupils include: YouTube, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, and Rate your Teacher (where pupils can write comments about their teachers and give them a rating). Read More...

ICT enhances creativity

Teachers in Europe believe that creativity is fundamentally important at school and that ICT can help enhance it.

The European Commission has presented the results of the first-ever survey on creativity and innovation in schools. The results show that 94% of European teachers believe creativity is a fundamental competence to be developed at school, and 88% are convinced that everyone can be creative.

In order to achieve that, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are considered very important among teachers (80%): computers, educational software, videos, online collaborative tools, virtual learning environments, interactive whiteboards, and free online material and courses.

These results were presented at the Closing Conference of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation in Stockholm, 16-17 December 2009.

An overwhelming majority of teachers believe that creativity can be applied to every domain of knowledge and to every school subject (95.5%). Read More...

The Right Gear for the Net
will be promoting its wireless networking on stand M16 at BETT next week.

The company will be showcasing its award-winning ProSafe, ReadyNAS and ProSecure education solutions and providing advice on how to successfully select and implement cost-effective ICT systems.

Redstor launches Protector
Redstor, a managed services and IT solutions company, has announced the launch of its new backup and security service, Redstor Protector.

Specially designed for the education market this service secures and protects confidential and sensitive

Ambitious ideas
e-skills UK, the Sector Skills Council for Business and Information Technology recently launched a new programme.

Smart learning at BETT
Designed to engage and motivate learners from Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 3 in Phonics, ICT, Literacy, PSHE & Citizenship and English, Smart Learning’s resources are tailored to meet the needs of each independent learner.

Real-time school data management
Hyperspheric Solutions has launched Stars 4 Schools — School Tracking, Assessment and Reporting System – at BETT 2010. Locally launched in July 2009, Stars 4 Schools enables the flow of data from mark sheets to students’ reports and whole-school statistics.
The ease of embedded software
De-LTA is the new software from Empowering Confidence, which allows teachers to create re-usable learning objects from video material.

The company claims that 40% of students have a visual learning preference, which is usually satisfied by videos.

Flexi-neck Visualiser launched
AVerMedia has released a new, high specification, autofocus flexi-neck Visualiser for Education.

These will be launched at the BETT 2010 Exhibition. The new CP range consists of three models, CP135, CP155 and CP355, which replace the Read More...

Software update
Crick Software will release a new feature in its WriteOnline software, in 2010.

WriteOnline is an online word processor for education that provides support features for learners of all abilities from upper primary pupils to students in further and higher education.

Projected learning
Epson has launched its first range of ultra-short-throw projectors designed to meet the growing demand for easy-to-use ICT equipment in classrooms.

The company said the new models are ideal for use with standard or interactive

Putting education on the map

ESRI has launched ‘GIS for Schools’, a new programme offering improved access to GIS (Geographic Information Systems) in the classroom.

Designed to help students learn more effectively, the CSR (Corporate Social

Online assessments for dyslexia

GL Assessment has launched an online version of its Dyslexia Screener, an assessment designed to help teachers identify pupils with dyslexic tendencies.

On the move
Quest has partnered with LapSafe to provide a convenient storage system for school.

Quest supplies the Fizzbook Spin, a mini tablet netbook designed, the company

School Business Manager
for a busy school in Swindon. The ideal candidate would have worked within a school but not essential transferable skills welcome. You will be CCAB qualified and would have knowledge and skills in the following: Finance and Budget management, IT and SIMS
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ICT Manager
required for Secondary School based in Surrey to support the entire Schools network infrastructure, servers and workstations. Manage the Schools ICT staff, including training and appraisal. Provide advice on networking, purchasing and any relevant contractors. Develop, implement and monitor the
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Education ICT Support Service is currently looking for a Field Based ICT Engineer.
You will be working alongside Schools in maintaining and developing ICT in line with the Becta Frame Work. You will be responsible for visiting Schools and carrying out hardware, software installations, basic administration, health checks, fault trouble shooting,
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Training down under
A group of primary school headteachers excited some corners of the national press recently, when it was reported that they spent £32,000 on a three-week training course in Australia.

Both the Daily Mail and Daily Express reported that eight headteachers from Wiltshire went on a four-day training course before visiting 12 schools in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. They were accompanied by a computer technician and deputy head. Read More...

Building schools for Leicestershire
Leicestershire County Council has been invited to bid for up to £80 million of BSF funding for Loughborough, Quorn and Barrow. “For the schools in this area this offers a tremendous opportunity to create innovative learning environments, providing the very latest facilities, ICT and technology,” the council said. “This will inspire all that use them.”

The Government has made it clear that BSF must deliver significant improvements in pupil achievement Read More...

BSF sails into view
Portsmouth businesses found out more about the city’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme at a conference that took place last month.

Two private sector partners are being procured to deliver Portsmouth's £200 million BSF project – one to design, build and maintain 12 city schools, and one to deliver ICT. These consortia will be responsible for establishing their own supply chains.

Over 200 delegates attended the ‘BSF Means Business' conference on December 15 when representatives Read More...

ICT central to £multi-million college
A new £12million sixth form college in Southend is on target to open to students next year, and will demonstrate the effect of ICT on further education.

The 7,000m2 college, in Southchurch Boulevard, Southend, is designed to broaden the opportunities for Southend youngsters aged over 16 with a range of vocational courses. It will feature open-plan student spaces, spacious classrooms and modern furnishings and equipment. Students can study one and two-year courses in business studies, ICT and construction trades. Read More...

Sixth formers win local award
Sixth formers from a Hampshire college triumphed in a Dragons' Den-style competition to design their own website.

The students, from St Vincent College, Gosport, beat teams from Portsmouth and Southampton to take the Learning and Skills Improvement Service's 2009 challenge.

In the final stage of a two-part competition they had to produce a website to promote and encourage next year's information and technology students. Teacher Nick Sims told the local paper: “Our students worked incredibly hard to produce an outstanding website which was professionally and maturely presented. Read More...

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