What’s at the heart of education?

Newsnight was fun last night (Wednesday March 10). It seems as though education will play a central part in the run up to the general election, although the sight of the education minister quarreling with his two shadow counterparts, while Jeremy Paxman (representing an overstuffed BBC) failed to control them was doused in irony.

The exam culture was heavily criticised by a panel facing the ministers; they believed that the focus on achieving high grades was stifling other areas of education. As a result, one teacher claimed, pupils are getting weary with the curriculum, less academically bright students were being ignored, and respect for teachers was dwindling.

The same teacher, however, praised the government for putting more resources into schools – such as IT equipment.

Apart from the bickering (which will encourage many voters to stay at home on polling day, I’m sure), the discussion eventually turned to more philosophical approaches to teaching – ie, what are we preparing our children for? Is it to prepare the next generation for the workplace (if so, shouldn’t industry be more involved in the education process?), or is it to give children the confidence and self worth to follow their dreams and desires (as proposed by author Michael Morpurgo)?

Central to the entire debate was the notion of effective teaching, and teachers – like every other worker – need the right tools to complete the job. from the humble slate and chalk to touchscreen smart computers, technology in the classroom has always been vital. Not only does it assist with learning, but it gives teachers new ideas to teach more effectively.

Here’s one example I saw recently when speaking to a teacher with a specialism in PE. She had spent some of her budget on a couple of small handheld cameras, which she found had a range of uses. Firstly she was able to effectively monitor PE lessons in other classes (which is otherwise difficult to prove), and secondly, the pupils were able to film each other and improve their technique by studying themselves in the classroom. This wasn’t technology for technology’s sake, this was about improving teaching techniques with the tools available.

Regardless of the next initiative proposed by whichever party comes into power this year, the pursuit of effective teaching will remain a constant. And technology sits at the heart of this.

Nathan Bushell, editor

Children disappointed but not downbeat about school ICT

A new study recently published by the Institute of Education reveals pupils' concerns over 'low-tech' primary schools, but suggests that only minor improvements are needed.

According to the study, the current generation of high-tech primary school pupils feel increasingly disappointed by the low-tech nature of their schools. However, despite demands from many industry professionals to rebuild and restructure schools to suit upcoming cohorts of ‘digital natives’ the vast majority of children reckon that only minor changes would be required to make their schools' use of technology more engaging and exciting.

The year long study of over 600 pupils in primary schools across England asked children how they would prefer technology to be used in their learning.

"While we expected children to be making radical demands for virtual classes or robot teachers, the majority simply wanted the occasional chance to bring their own devices into school,” says Dr Neil Selwyn from the University of London's Institute of Education. Read More...

Is your head in the cloud?

The Independent Schools Council (ISC) has written a guide to explain how ‘cloud computing’ works.

Written by the ISC’s ICT Strategy Group, the guide explains how the traditional method of using servers physically located in a school is being challenged by the rise of computing in ‘the cloud’. Something which many large companies have been doing for years.

With a lower specification computer, good bandwidth and a browser, the user can go onto the internet, access and manage:

Cloud Infrastructure. Servers, networks and related hardware held in data centres worldwide. Part, or all, of the school’s technical infrastructure can be hosted in a data centre.
Cloud Platform. The infrastructure applications/operating platforms eg Microsoft Azure. The data centre infrastructure can run the operating platform for the school.
Cloud Applications. The school can manage its own software using the data centre and it can also use available free or paid for applications eg Google mail and docs, Office online. Read More...

Making ICT management easy
The Manor Community College in Cambridge chose the Citrix Provisioning Server to manage the IT provision across the school.

The college is a mixed community school in Cambridge with 140 students. Read More...

Mobile messaging connects parents and pupils
London-based Breakthru Marketing has created a new platform that marries technology, classroom activity, and parental participation – a communication platform that connects parents and pupils with teachers via mobile text messaging (SMS).

iboards stimulate pupils’ learning
TES Resources is working to raise standards in education through hosting free teaching resources and sharing best practice online. One such resource is the TES iboard.

TES iboard activities are highly visual, open-ended, interactive resources, all available free online at www.tes.co.uk/tes-iboard

Subscription-free support
Netop is offering Netop OnDemand for a free 30-day trial.

Netop OnDemand provides an instant, expert support when the user needs it, regardless of location, firewalls or networks. 

Licence Dashboard – a case study
Longcroft School first welcomed young people in September 1949. In the intervening years the school has gone from strength-to-strength, including the achievement of performing arts specialist college status in 2001.

Inclusive education
RM, as part of the Skanska RM consortium, has been chosen as the preferred ICT partner for the Essex BSF programme, one of the largest in the country.

Inclusive Technology and SpaceKraft, both part of the RM Group, worked with the consortia and the schools to ensure that Essex will have the most forward thinking

Pebble to cause ripples

Interactive Education will be showcasing its new hand-held learning response system at the Education Show, stand N55, NEC Birmingham from 4th-6th March 2010.

The new handset is called Pebble as it has a streamlined design which is easy to grip, so is ideal for early years and special educational needs students.

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.

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

Ambitious ideas

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

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.

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

notgoingtouni's mission is to help today’s young people make informed career decisions and realise there are great opportunities outside of the traditional university route. We feature apprenticeships, training providers, distance learning, A level schemes, employer funded degree’s, course listings, advice, jobs and more.










BSF reaches 50th deal
The Building Schools for the Future programme has reached a significant milestone with the 50th deal signed between a local authority and its private sector partner to rebuild and refurbish schools, bringing the total value of contracts signed to over £5 billion.

Hull City Council's BSF scheme is the 50th to reach financial close – the 20th contract signed during this financial year – and also the 30th Local Education Partnership (LEP) to be established Read More...

Six more BSF projects share £420m
Six more local authorities across England have been given the green light to join the national Building Schools for the Future programme to rebuild or refurbish secondary schools in their area.

The six are: Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Gateshead, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Sutton. Each of these will embark on their BSF schemes by summer 2010. Read More...

Becta publishes OJEU notice for procurement frameworks
Becta has announced the publication of the OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union)notice for the first of two new procurement frameworks, focussing on the provision of effective learner centric ICT services for educational institutions.

These new arrangements which have been developed following extensive research with educational stakeholders have been designed specifically to:
help to ease the burden on institutional leaders

Digital winners announced
Becta has announced the winners of the annual Next Generation Learning Awards.

Now in their second year, the awards identify and reward organisations throughout the UK that use technology in outstanding or innovative ways for the benefit of learners, communities and local employers. The winners of this year's Next Generation Learning Awards beat off fierce competition from across the UK to be Read More..

Besa members excel at the Education Resources Awards 2010
Besa members celebrated winning 13 out of the 15 resources at the recent Education Resources Awards, which recognise excellence and innovation in education.

In its twelfth year, the Education Resources Awards are organised by Besa and Affinity Media.

Ray Barker of Besa said: “What makes these Awards different is that they focus on resources, services Read More...

Anytime, anywhere network access
The latest enhancement to RM’s CC4 network, CC4 Anywhere, gives learners and staff anytime, anywhere access to their network via almost any Internet-enabled device.

Community Connect 4 has revolutionised computer management for over 1500 UK schools and colleges, the company has claimed. From classroom control to Internet access, wireless to passwords, security to software updates, CC4 automates, simplifies and organises a school's network resources. Read More...

Web filtering from Brightfilter
BoundaryServer is a web filtering service that provides a high level of online protection to small primary schools and other institutions right up to local authorities.

It sits at the gateway between the school network and the internet to filter content that passes through, protecting pupils from inappropriate material and safeguarding the network from harmful infections. Read More...

Keeping in touch
Schoolcomms is a school communication service. 

Designed for schools and integrated with SIMS, Schoolcomms provides fast and reliable email and text messaging – offering low cost, real-time communication with parents and carers, teachers, students and governors. 

Improves home-school contact and increases parental engagement
Saves time when following-up first day/unexplained absence
Saves money when sending information and newsletters


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