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How best to keep an open door between parents and teachers? Michelle Johnson, former vice principal and now of Parent Teacher Online, discusses her move to a digital liaison system.

I remember the shock. I was lying in the bath when my headteacher rang me, I answered the call… while in the bath for some odd reason! He asked me to take over the strategic role of leading ICT in the Academy. I immediately answered “Yes, of course”, then the shock kicked in. I had agreed to lead something which at that point in time I no longer had any passion or interest for.

Given that children are in their parents’ or guardians’ care for most of the day, it’s important for schools to maintain a good rapport. TechnoTeachers Julie M Wood and Nicole Ponsford discuss how technology can be ideal for this.

Imagine this scenario: You wear a wristwatch-like device to track the number of miles you walk; you monitor each day’s progress and sync the data to your smartphone and computer. You watch your favourite TV shows on your tablet, whenever you can catch a few minutes. You keep up with your friends near and far using Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

How can schools go about making sure that they spend their money on the right screens? Hitachi have the ideal solution for this; the Interactive Flat Panel Display.


Hitachi Digital Media are continuing their collaboration with UK schools by introducing their Interactive Flat Panel Displays (IFPD) to classrooms. With their latest device, the HIT-FHD6514/6516, Hitachi are fitting schools with 65” interactive screens that allow up to six users at any one time, there’s even for the device to include a built-in PC.

The more technology that is introduced into education, the more discussions are had regarding accessibility and usage. Edtech expert Nicole Ponsford takes a look at how the Digital Divide and issues surrounding screen-time can overlap.

What is the Digital Divide? Wikipedia describes it as: “an economic and social inequality according to categories of persons in a given population in their access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT).” Or you could say that the social-economic or demographic differences in access to technology is creating a gap in what skills people have and therefore what opportunities they may have in the future. What we know in schools is ‘the gap’ in attainment and progress.

Demand for entrepreneurialism and digital nous is growing day-by-day in the British job market. Nominet Trust and The Duke of York yesterday received major corporate backing for their ‘inspiring Digital Enterprise Award’, which aims to train over a million young people in these fields over the next five years.

An innovative education scheme has received major support from several new corporate partners. iDEA, from Nominet Trust and HRH The Duke of York, yesterday announced that they’d be teaming up with giants such as Barclays, Microsoft, and O2. iDEA’s mission is to train 1 million young people in digital and enterprise skills over the next 5 years.

As a teacher, I pride myself on thinking outside the box. Rather than going down the traditional route, I often think of more creative ways to teach lessons.

Two years ago, I had a class of 34 children, 21 of whom were boys - who fidget. As a result of this, I decided to do a learning style questionnaire. The figures amazed me; 60% of the class came up with a dominant kinaesthetic learning preference.

The need for hands-on learning opportunities was immense. So, I collaborated with another Year 6 teacher and designed a unit about the Aztecs, as part of our creative curriculum. The only difference was that I used our school blog, which I oversaw, as the starting point for the unit.

Tom Stoppard has recently spoken of his fear for the future of the printed page. In this age of digital media, does the old fashioned medium of dead trees have a future?

Perhaps it's just me, but I find it difficult and tiring to read off the screen. It's only when I print my documents off that I see all the typos and errors! I was a science teacher until quite recently and as far as I'm concerned, there's no danger of on-line text books taking over from real, hands on, dog eared text books. I have many years’ experience of using both media in my classes:

Google Wave logoImagine a world without email.

The content of the first email may have been forgettable, but when Ray Tomlinson first fizzed that message over the ARPANET between two side-by-side computers in a Cambridge laboratory, communication changed forever. That was in 1971. Since then email has remained, despite decades of technological innovations, the staple tool for communication between computers.

By rights it should be a redundant relic, rusting beneath the surging tides of technological evolution. Instead, email is more integral to our lives than ever. It is hard to imagine the most consummate maestro of instant messaging, inveterate IRC idler or turgid Twitterer considering, even for a moment, that anything short of the grim reaper himself could render his trusty email account unnecessary.

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