Fear leads to an erosion of trust

Fears regarding childrens’ safety when using the internet is something that will probably never go away. In the last 10 years we have seen the web transform into something that we probably couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. And as new areas of opportunity open up to users, so too do areas of exploitation.

However, it seems as though managing our fear, and putting into practice sensible safeguards and protocols, moves at a much slower pace than technological advancement.

Last week we reported on the online safety campaign that was launched to educate children on the potential dangers lurking within the internet. Ofsted, this week, appeared to support this course of action (read story here) by saying that children should manage their own risks rather than operate within a ‘locked’ (restricted) system.

However, schools do have in place technology and software that ostensibly monitors pupils’ online activity (read story here). Yet the people complaining the most about this are the teachers, who say that they feel as though they are being monitored, which, in turn, erodes trust.

Managing safety is one thing, but destroying the balance of power in the classroom is another. Teachers can already feel isolated if they don’t have the proper support from the senior members of staff. Adding measures designed to protect children online shouldn’t then affect the teacher’s confidence further. Technology in the classroom is designed to aid education, not destroy it.

Nathan Bushell, editor

Self-management key to pupil safety

Pupils in schools that use ‘managed’ online systems have a better knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe when using new technologies, according to a report published today by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.

‘Managed’ systems are systems that have fewer inaccessible sites than ‘locked’ systems and so require pupils to take more responsibility for their own safety.

Locked systems make many websites inaccessible and although this ensures pupils’ safety in school it does not encourage the pupils to take responsibility for their actions or prepare them for dealing with systems that are not locked.

The report was based on evidence from a small-scale survey carried out between April and July 2009 in 35 maintained schools in England, and was a response to the report of the Byron Review, Safer children in a digital world. Read More...

Becta appoints board members

Schools Secretary Ed Balls today announced the appointment of three new members to the Board of Becta – the government body responsible for ensuring technology is used at its best in the British education system.

The new board members are: Patricia Bacon, Tim Pearson and Mark Rogers.

Patricia Bacon is a qualified teacher and with over 30 years experience in further education, initially as a practitioner and increasingly in leadership roles. Patricia is currently principal of St Helens College, appointed in 2002, and previously deputy principal at the college for 12 years. She was elected president for the Association of Colleges from August 2009 having served as a board member. She is a member of the North West LSC Regional Council and member of the Regional Skills & Employment Board (RDA).

Timothy Pearson was, until 2008, chief executive of RM (Educational IT Company) involved solely in educational technology. RM won many awards during his time as chief executive, in product design, customer service and environmental achievements. He currently holds a not-for-profit director position with Guroo and Highland Property Development. Read More...

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.

Filtered out
Brightfilter, provider of web filtering solutions to the education sector, demonstrated its latest range of products at BETT 2010. Visitors were invited to stand B59 to experience the range of solutions for protecting pupils online, including:

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.

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.

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 .

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ICT Manager

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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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Teachers answer to Big Brother?
Teaching unions are complaining that e-safety software is increasingly being used to keep track of their members, the BBC reported this week. Supporters of the software, however, point to the success it has had in protecting children from cyber-bullying and accessing unsuitable websites.

Unions say thousands of teachers are having their every mouse-click monitored, eroding trust. Read More...

£200m to extend schools’ services
Parents will be targeted in a new campaign launched this week, to help raise awareness of the range of activities, services and advice available through schools, as latest data shows that more than 90% of schools are now offering extended services.

Over 20,000 schools are currently offering access to services for families in their local communities and Read More...

RM wins academies’ contract
Education company RM has been announced preferred bidder for a framework agreement to provide technology to the Harris Federation of South London Schools. Under the three-year framework, RM will become sole supplier of ICT products and services to the federation's academies.

The framework is expected to be worth up to £5m to RM in 2010.

Leicester's secondary school rebuilding programme
Plans have been revealed for the next stage in Leicester's secondary school rebuilding programme.

The £325.4m project has already seen four schools redeveloped.

According to the Leicester Mercury, the next phase can continue once the government releases the cash. Read More...


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