ICTZINE 10th June 2010

Big brother lends a helping hand

There’s an interesting take on technology in schools this week thanks to the Daily Mail. It says that it has found evidence that schools are using technology to create a big brother regime (read story here).

The Daily Mail’s biggest concern is that the children’s biometric details are being stored with gaining permission from the parents – abusing civil liberties in the process.

In fact, the article’s focus is squarely on the issue of invasion of privacy and implies that these records will be kept as a permanent record. Only at the bottom of the article does the journalist acknowledge that the actual fingerprints are not stored by the schools, rather, they are converted into mathematical algorithms which are then used for a variety of purposes.

It’s a shame that the journalist doesn’t want to explore the positive nature of using technology in this way. First of all, it gets over the problem of lost, stolen or ‘washed’ library cards, for example. It is also a more fool-proof way of keeping track of school property. With a bit of imagination, schools could use this technology to monitor the reading habits of pupils so that they are reading material suitable to their courses, and maybe even trigger email alerts for suggested alternative literature.

The article is critical that mundane tasks such as registering for school and keeping track of lunch money are being handled by fingerprint technology. Surely, the Daily Mail would welcome measures that could help reduce truancy and stealing – presuming that pupils’ accounts are kept on a database and funds debited at mealtimes. The 10 minutes a day that the school claws back for teaching time – because the class doesn’t have sit there while the register is being read out – is a bonus in its own right?

It is reassuring that technology in schools isn’t limited to just teaching, but also to the efficient running of schools’ businesses. Acceptance of technology in this manner should then help teachers and pupils embrace technology in the classroom.

Nathan Bushell, editor

BSF’s future is still uncertain

The future of the Building Schools for the Future programme still hangs in the balance after the government refuses comment on the programme’s review.

The Department for Education has been beavering away making cuts across the sector, in a bid to contribute £670m of savings towards the £6.2bn of savings proposed by the new government. However no decision has been made regarding BSF despite the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, being questioned on it in the House of Commons.

Michael Gove was asked what plans he had for BSF on Monday June 7, with Bill Esterson (Labour MP for Sefton Central) asking: “Does the Secretary of State agree that it would also damage the recovery by taking much-needed work away from construction workers and small businesses?”

In his reply, Michael Gove said that he wanted to “do everything possible to ensure that we obtain better value for money from this programme”. Read More...

Becta services to continue

Despite Becta's planned closure, the Department for Education has agreed that Becta should proceed to completion with its current ICT Services Framework One. The framework, which covers Infrastructure/Mobile Connectivity as well as ICT Service Integrators, promotes responsible purchasing of ICT to schools and colleges.

Commenting on the news, Dr Stephen Lucey, executive director Strategic Technologies, Becta said: "It has always been Becta's aim to provide educational institutions with the appropriate support to help them make strategic investment decisions regarding ICT to maximise the benefits and reduce any associated risks. We are therefore delighted that the DfE has given its approval for us to complete work on the new ICT Services Framework One.

"Framework One will support schools and colleges who will now have greater freedom when it comes to determining their ICT needs. Our framework will make the whole process of procuring ICT much simpler and quicker and will give them access to a broad range of approved suppliers. Read More...

PC trade-in scheme launched

Education company RM has announced the launch of a new PC trade-in scheme called ScrapIT, to raise money for ICT projects in Africa, as well as providing UK schools with the most up-to-date education technology.
Read More..

O2 Media Awards reward young communicators

O2 has introduced a new award category in this year’s Media Awards for Yorkshire and Humber. Aimed at 13-25 year olds, the award will recognise the work of young people who are using communication skills to make a difference in their communities.
Read More..

RM’s profits up 20%

RM has announced interim results for the six months to 31 March 2010

Its operational headlines are:
Strong revenue growth in Education Resources, BSF and US.
Read More..

Dell evolves

Dell has launched a number of new services and products, as part of its Connected Classroom learning environment.

“These help provide schools and teachers with the necessary technology and understanding to transform the traditional classroom into an environment in which students can be nurtured and prepared for life in the digital age,” Dell said in a statement. Read More...


Frog MD leaps to award nomination

Gareth Davies, managing director of Halifax-based learning platform provider Frogtrade, has been shortlisted as a regional finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards 2010.
Read More...

Applied learning centre

Fakenham & Wells Times recently reported how Fakenham High School is engineering a deal to take over one of the town's empty factory units as part of a £1m investment in education.
Read More..

Online safety prize

Year two pupils from The Prince of Wales First School, Dorchester have won an online safety competition, Dorset’s ‘View Online’ has reported.
Read More..

Dynamic Learning – anytime, anywhere

Dynamic Learning is an online teaching and learning resource. Combining award-winning quality content with easy-to-use tools, it supports teachers and encourages students to develop, progress and achieve.
Read More..

Award for RM

RM was recently awarded the title of Top IT Employer at the 2010 Top Employers United Kingdom awards, run annually by the CRF Institute.
Read More...

Local strength, global reach

Focus Educational Software, based in Truro, is a BETT Award winning publisher of 22 interactive digital learning resources for primary and secondary education.
Read More...


Free digital presenters for lucky schools

Ten lucky schools recently learned that they had been successful in their application for a free SDP-860 Digital Presenter.
Read More...

RM announces strategic forums

'Inspirational and challenging'. That was the verdict on the Learning Spaces RM created at BETT this year, RM announced recently.
Read More...

New maths practice software from DLK

DLK has just released a new suite of eight Maths software titles called MathaMax.
Read More...

School AV / Digital Media Technician

Our outstanding school is looking for a vibrant person to support both children and adults with moving forward in digital communication.

The ideal candidate would display a passion for ICT and the ability to motivate others in this area with particular emphasis on:
- Managing and developing communication within and from the school including MLE (Managed Learning Environment), website and display screen
- Using film/photography, including editing, display, supporting pupils and staff
- Troubleshooting on a daily basis ensuring effective and efficient use of technology across all aspects of school life.

Call 0208 502 4947
or email: info@edurecruitment.co.uk for more information

School ICT technician

Our Client, an ICT support organisation dedicated to supporting Schools ICT systems and Networks is currently expanding and looking for additional members of staff either contract or permanent with skills and experience of dealing with Schools Networks, SIMS, CC3 / 4 and possibly experience of installations and support of Whiteboards.

We look forward to hearing from you if you are located in the South / South West London area. We also have roles similar to this throughout the UK, call for more information.

Call 0208 502 4947
or email: info@edurecruitment.co.uk for more information


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, minor repairs and maintenance of peripherals.

Applicants MUST have previous experience supporting ICT within an education establishment and possess an understanding of Windows hardware and software, networking, educational software and knowledge of RM CC3 / CC4 is highly desirable.

Call 0208 502 4947
or email: info@edurecruitment.co.uk for more information


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iGCSE in ICT open to all

The Government has lifted restrictions that stopped state schools offering iGCSE qualifications in key subjects, including ICT. It has also announced its intention to include iGCSE results in school performance tables as soon as possible.

The announcement means that from September, state-funded schools will be free to teach a wide range of qualifications that will put them on a level playing field with independent schools which have offered them for some time. Read More..

Worcestershire BSF shortlist announced

Balfour Beatty, Catalyst Lend Lease and Carillion’s Inspired Spaces consortium have been shortlisted for the £125m Worcestershire Building Schools for the Future contract.

The contract will involve work on seven schools in Wyre Forest as part of the £55bn BSF programme. Read More..



Pupils fingerprinted to borrow library books

The Daily Mail reported this week that one in three secondary schools is “forcing children to swipe their fingerprints just to register in class or take out library books”.

The newspaper used the Freedom of Information Act to show how technology was being used to monitor pupils and carry out “basic administration”. “Thirty per cent of high schools are taking fingerprints simply to speed up basic administration such as borrowing books, registering in the mornings and buying canteen lunches,” the paper said. Read More..



CPDs promote effective use of ICT

The Western Mail has reported that a scheme which helps teachers develop their knowledge and skills has had a positive impact in the classroom, according to Wales’s education watchdog.

An assessment of the Continuous Professional Development project, administered by the General Teaching Council for Wales, was commissioned by the Assembly Government and conducted by Estyn.

The inspectorate found that in most cases, professional development projects have helped raise pupils’ achievements and have contributed to the wider development of schools. Read More...




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