Innovative ICT research... Futurelab move… BullyingUK to close?... Microsoft freebies... Timetabling for Africa... Jisc Collection stays... Ewan Macintosh to Bahrain... Learning Without Frontiers...
London Knowledge Lab is planning an international research project looking at the innovative uses of technology in schools. Based at the Institute of Education and directed by senior lecturer Neil Selwyn (pictured), the project will run until June 30, 2011.
Basic information about the project – including plans for global teacher workshops and conferences – can be found in the Lab's job advertisement for a research officer (salary £29,854-£35,647). Interested? You’ll have to hurry because applications close on August 31.
London Knowledge Lab
Bristol-based ICT research charity Futurelab is heading to London this autumn. A brief announcement by chief executive Stephen Breslin (pictured) on the Futurelab website says that the relocation is part of a strategy to work “more flexibly” and to “ensure we can achieve a balance of funding from both charitable and commercial sources”.
Plans include the creation of a trading subsidiary to oversee the commercialisation of some of the products and services currently being developed. The Bristol office will remain open until August 2011.
Government funding cuts could hit BullyingUK’s capability to help the hundreds and thousands of young people and their families who contact them every year for help dealing with bullying issues in schools and on websites like Facebook and Bebo. It faces possible closure on September 1.
John Carnell, the charity’s founder and CEO, is urging schools and companies to hold fund-raising events to help find the £50,000 he needs to keep going. “Central government has recently declined to fund BullyingUK in the light of the budget cuts made by the new Government,” he says. “A donation of £2 allows us to provide 20 young people or their family members with high-quality, legally sound advice to help them get bullying resolved quickly and using every option the education system has open to them”.
Microsoft has released free education add-ons for schools, designed to overhaul and extend PowerPoint, OneNote and the mathematics functionality of Office as part of its Interactive Classroom initiative.
The connector between PowerPoint and OneNote means teachers can allow students to collaborate on presentations by adding their own content or share notes with one another, ask questions and make comments. Meanwhile the mathematics plug-in provides 2D and 3D plotting tools for teachers wanting an engaging and innovative way to illustrate complex mathematical concepts. The add-ins work with Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 and can be downloaded here.
Capita Children’s Services and the Timetable Aid charity will provide 2,500 secondary schools across Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia with free access to its previous version of SIMS Nova-T 4 timetable software.
The mini management information system (MIS) software, which will be phased out in the UK to make way for a new version, is ideal for schools that have not used a MIS before, says Phil Neal (pictured), managing director of SIMS at Capita. “It is also designed to run on low spec computers which is perfect for Africa where computers in schools are often less powerful than our own equivalents,” he adds.
The JISC Collections for School service will continue to provide schools with heavily discounted subscriptions to a number of curriculum-relevant online resources despite loss of funding due to the closure of Becta.
It is to remain a not-for-profit initiative but will add 15 per cent to all subscriptions. Organisers say this is necessary to cover services such as events, training sessions and workshops, developing and co-ordinating buying groups and setting up free trials. The added bonus is schools now get access to the bigger JISC Collections.
Discounts are up to 80 per cent and the Collection includes resources for art, citizenship, English, geography, history, literacy, maths, modern languages, music, RE, PE, and science.
Social media consultant and educator Ewan McIntosh and Zenna Atkins (former chair of Ofsted, now boss of GEMS Education) will lead discussions on the “classroom of the future” at the free Education Project 2010 conference, October 8-10, in Bahrain.
“We learn by sharing and talking, not by staying in classrooms with the door shut,” says Ewan McIntosh, a former teacher, Learning and Teaching Scotland adviser and consultant with 4iP. “We have to get out in the world and that does not always mean field trips; now it is out in the blogosphere.
Everyone involved with a child's learning needs to understand the ways they are engaged. In today's world, that means being open to the possibilities of game-based learning – such as using Wii Fit and Guitar Hero – as launch pads into subjects such as maths, physics and geography."
Ewan McIntosh’s blog
The sixth year of Handheld Learning is approaching and the call for research papers in mobile learning technologies has gone out. The popular conference is now part of a larger Learning Without Frontiers event, January 9-11, at The Brewery, London. Speakers include Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia the web-based collaborative encyclopedia, Lord David Puttnam and controller of BBC Learning Saul Nasse.
“Naturally, given the disruptive nature of the gathering anything could happen and probably will," says event organiser Graham Brown-Martin (pictured). "There are social networking sessions planned throughout the event during the days and in the evenings but don't let that stop you creating your own breakouts. We welcome community initiatives and where possible will assist with fully equipped spaces.”
Delegates who register for the conference before September 30 will receive a free Apple iPad.