SmokescreenBy Maureen McTaggart
The Rumour Mill, a vicious new game, swept its way across the White Smoke social network with such speed that the network’s founders believed it might be a front for something more sinister.

Max Winston, who created White Smoke with his mate Cal, said he and his staff were working around the clock to find out who was behind the game. He admitted it was a big job and appealed to youngsters to help them find out what the game’s creators were up to.

Michael RosenMichael Rosen: pic www.jackgoffe.comFor the first time, Havering LA and London Grid for Learning (LGfL) are inviting schools across the UK to create and submit poems that will be judged alongside their counterparts in France, Spain and Finland via video-conferencing on National Poetry Day (October 8).

Poet amd former children’s laureate Michael Rosen (left), together with John Hegley and Paul Cookson, will be the star poets at the one-day "All about Europe" event that organisers say “will allow children to have the opportunity through technology, to meet role models and participate in developing skills in poetry writing, listening and speaking”.

By Gerald Haigh
Schools are urged to be “data-driven” – or, if that seems too uncompromising, “data-enabled”.  As a result, management information systems (MIS) are so packed with grades and numbers (“We’re drowning in data,” to quote one secondary head of ICT) that schools are starting to employ  “data managers” who, to quote a recent job advert, “Lead staff through the target setting process, data analysis, value added data, Panda and Raise Online.”

Suppose, though, that much of that effort turns out to be misdirected – that the real problem isn’t just that there’s too much measurement, but that we’re actually measuring the wrong things. Heresy? Not at all, according to the experts.

The news that Norway was allowing students aged 16-19 to use laptop computers for their examinations and school tests was generally greeted as a step forward towards 21st century learning. What didn’t get the same profile in the BBC news coverage was that the technology that allowed them to do it was supplied from the UK.

There no longer appears to be a technological excuse for those who control GCSEs and A-levels to continue to disadvantage UK exam candidates in examination rooms. Which is exactly what happens when, after years of using word processors to edit and re-edit their work as good practice demands of learners, the ICT is withdrawn and they are forced to revert to writing by hand.

By Maureen McTaggart
Brian DurrantBrian Durrant: 'exemplar city'The London Grid for Learning and its consortium of local authorities is one of the largest education networks in the world. But giving schools the whole gamut of digital technology services is not the complete vision, according to Brian Durrant, LGfL’s chief executive. The ultimate key for London, he says, is school leadership.

“It’s actually about us taking a step back and asking what it would take to make London the world exemplar city for the effective use of new technologies in teaching and learning,” he says. “Also what are the necessary and sufficient conditions to actually bring about the transformation of learning through ICT and a positive impact on attainment?”