ICTZINE 22nd April 2010

Electing technology

Of course, there is only one news story at the moment, and that is the General Election, which takes place in about a fortnight’s time.

At this point I could examine and summarise manifestos to see which party will introduce policies that will most benefit the technology in education sector, but I won’t. For a start I don’t want to become a party political broadcast, and your decision on which party to vote for has many other things to take into consideration – for example, my vote isn’t based on the parties’ media policies.

However, I’ve been struck by the integration of technology into the election coverage and canvassing. Regarding the latter: MPs are tweeting their campaign messages; the parties are compiling lists of email addresses; and at one point, one of the parties was buying up Google ‘adwords’, so that its web address would feature prominently alongside election-related searches – but this appears to have ceased. Could you have imagined this even one general election ago?

Amusingly, the three main leaders have decided to embrace that most ancient of modern technological devices – the television – to air a series of debates, and (perhaps not surprisingly, given the importance television still has in our society) it had a profound effect on how the electorate viewed the main parties.

While I hope that by the next general election I’ll be able to vote for my party of choice via an iPhone app, I have managed to find an application that keeps me up to date with how the parties are shaping up in my constituency. To be honest, I don’t know how much I can trust it, which is why I occasionally dive into the BBC website that can keep you up to date with the election wherever you are – and their computer graphics have moved on significantly from the ‘swingometer’ that Peter Snow used to dance around when we were younger.

In relation to education, this technological revolution provides a powerful resource in the classroom. For example: the nitty gritty of politics can be examined in-depth simply by using a PC; classroom discussions and debates can be supported by data and television footage at the click of a button; and data extracted from the various polls can provide excellent raw material for lessons. I imagine that this could have a profound effect on making students politically aware, to prepare them for when they eligible to vote.

And I thought the swingometer was pretty cool! (Click here for a brief history of the swingometer.)

Nathan Bushell, editor

BSF expands

Cumbria County Council was has been given the go-ahead to join the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls said that 361.5m would be invested across the county to rebuild or refurbish secondary schools. The total is indicative funding and includes 35.5m for ICT.

It means Cumbria council leaders can now start planning in detail to fast-track their most urgent building projects or deprived areas, far earlier than originally planned, with capital investment released from 2012-13. Read More...

Home Access programme grows

The government has appointed four additional approved suppliers for the Home Access programme. They are:

DA Computers
NS Optimum
Stone Computers

Launched in January 2010, the Home Access programme is managed by Becta. Home Access aims to ensure that more children in state-maintained education in England have access to technology at home to support learning.

Stephen Crowne, Becta chief executive said: "Gaining access to a computer and the internet at home will be a huge step forward for many children and families across England. By working with suppliers to provide quality services, we are confident that we can deliver a programme that meets the needs of learners today."

Evidence shows effective use of technology boosts a child's achievement and the Home Access programme strives to make England one of the first countries in the world to ensure every young person has access to a computer and internet at home. 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.

RM is taking the idea out on the road this spring. Under the banner, RM Strategic Forums – A Vision for Future Learning, RM is replacing its old and well-known conference programme with new engaging and hands-on events. Read More...

New maths practice software from DLK
DLK has just released a new suite of eight Maths software titles called MathaMax.

MathaMax complements its successful MathsWork suite, and the company is offering all schools in the UK one free title from the suite with a full site licence. Just send them an email to sales@dlk.co.uk asking for one. Read More...

Shared-resource computing

Shared-resource computing is an initiative that aims to bring technology into the lives of more and more students. Software developer NetSupport has teamed up with several technology suppliers to promote this cost-effective computing model.

The desire to provide as many students as possible with access to a computer at school is unquestioned but,

New catalogue from Phoenix Software

 Phoenix Software has put its experience of meeting the needs of schools into a new catalogue.

To make it as easy as possible to make the right purchasing decisions for your school, Phoenix Software’s new catalogue is refreshed at the beginning of each school term and presents products from all the big manufacturers and some of the smaller ones. 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

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).

TES 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. 

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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Extra funding for 16-18-year-olds
Before the dissolution of parliament, the government announced that every region in England will receive funding increases for education for 16 to 18 year olds.

Ed Balls announced that all nine regions in England will receive increased allocations to fund 55,000 more 16-18-year-olds in school sixth forms and colleges in the 2010/11 academic year than this. Read More...

Smart phones meet the classroom
The Independent Schools Council has offered advice on ‘smart’ phones in the classroom. In summarising its stance on smart phones, the ISC’s ICT Strategy Group asks: Why is an aeroplane like a classroom? Because on entering you must switch off all useful electronic devices. Read More...

Partnership to make the internet more accessible

SpaceKraft, part of the RM Group, has forged a partnership and reseller agreement with PointerWare Innovations.

PointerWare is the developer of software designed specifically for seniors and special needs populations who find traditional computer systems challenging. SpaceKraft is a supplier of a range of sensory products to address the demands made on sensory products in a multi-sensory environment. 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.

Focus learning resources are used by 70% of secondary schools in the UK and the company has a growing presence in primary schools.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.

The successful applicants were chosen by a panel of judges headed by Dave Smith, Chair of The Visualiser Forum from a large number of schools and other education establishments who participated in the Samsung 2010 "Focus on Learning" Grant. 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.

The awards are aimed at providing an insight into what it is like working for "the smartest, most forward-thinking IT organisations in the country". The decision is based on in-depth and independent company profiles from leading journalists and comprehensive research conducted by CRF.Read More...


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