IT

Schools are all under a significant obligation to provide certain information on their school websites these days. This is a bit of a problem for lots of schools in itself. The reality is that schools have to compete more and more on every level and having a website that is fresh, modern and regularly updated is key to your success.

Given that the new computing curriculum is coming into effect after the summer, we revisit an article the Code Club’s managing director Laura Kirsop, where she examines the importance of coding at school.

As seen in the February 2014 edition of our magazine.

For the last two years, everyone’s been talking about learning to code. From Google chairman Eric Schmidt, to will.i.am and Barack Obama. But what is coding and why is it important for our kids to learn to do it?

When it comes to animating your pupils, why not use animation? Both kids and adults love animated entertainment, so it makes sense to use animated video in the classroom. Marianna Keen discusses the best virtues of the format.

Animation has revitalised the learning environment in many ways by presenting innovative methods to convey topics and concepts, and these are continually evolving. For a start, it has helped to make education more enjoyable, thus making learning more gratifying and effective. Insights into the use of animation to increase learning potential have also developed. Following technological advancements, making a simple yet effective animation need not be expensive anymore, and you may have noticed that the use of this tool has increased over recent years.

Your average schoolchild is likely to be extremely tech-savvy, but how should their access to online socialisation be handled? Brett Laniosh, an education guru with over 25 years of experience, discusses how chat rooms and forums can enhance a student’s education.

Mention Facebook to most school leaders and you will probably get an “Oh no!” type of reaction. The reality for many schools is that Facebook is nothing but trouble. From bullying to intimidation and concerns about privacy, the problems can be significant. And those issues can affect pupils, school staff and parents. Schools of course have a duty of care to ensure that pupils are aware of the potential problems when using social media. We tell children that they need to be at least 13 to have a profile on Facebook and they shouldn’t post photos online that they wouldn’t want their mom to see. As a school consultant, I am called upon to give advice around this potential minefield. This can include running online safety sessions for parents, pupils and teachers; I urge everyone to take a look at the brilliant materials CEOP have placed on www.thinkyouknow.co.uk.

25 years ago, 33-year-old British scientist Tim Berners-Lee created one of the greatest tools the human race has ever seen. The World Wide Web opens doors for billions of people worldwide and makes the impossible possible - plus, Innovate My School couldn’t exist without Berners-Lee’s invention. Phil Worms, Iomart’s director of Marketing & Corporate Comms, comes to IMS to discuss why the net is so invaluable for education.

Happy Birthday World Wide Web! It is 25 years since a young British computer scientist named Tim Berners-Lee submitted his idea for allowing scientists to share information between educational faculties across the world to his manager at CERN. The idea that his boss described as a “vague, but interesting” started a revolution in learning which continues today. It has changed the way we teach, the way we learn and how we access information and communicate with each other.

Before the World Wide Web entered the classroom, we learned by rote from a teacher who wrote things on the blackboard with white chalk – the traditional ‘talk and chalk’ approach. If we wanted to source or research information, we either made notes, referred to our text books or visited a library. This doesn’t compute for the school child of today. Today’s students are better connected, have millions of sources for reference and are more globally aware than ever. It’s quite incredible how much knowledge can be accessed at the click of mouse or the swipe of a screen.

When you’re in school, you want to defy boundaries, but those boundaries are generally put in place by school staff who know better. Policing how pupils use the internet without stifling their education can be difficult. On top of this, students can easily use proxies to access any site they wish, as Bloxx CEO Charles Sweeney points out.

The education sector has been quick to realise the potential of the Internet as a valuable and collaborative teaching aid. Certainly, the ability to interact with dynamic applications, collaborate with students from around the world and have guest speakers beamed into your classroom via video conferencing has changed education as we know it.

This can only be viewed as a good thing. Broadening children's horizons is key to developing a generation that will keep the UK at the forefront of economic developments, generate new business ideas that create jobs and nurture the talent that leads foreign companies to invest in Britain. But it also brings with it inherent security risks, and schools have a duty of care to protect children from any inappropriate or offensive online content. The ramifications of a five year old being exposed to inappropriate content over the school network has serious ramifications for the school.

Following my response to Sir Michael Wilshaw’s call to ban mobile phones from the classroom, further questions need to be asked about the direction we are taking regarding the way our students communicate and the means they use to do so. Drawing from previous posts and subsequent comments, I’ll set out below why I think schools need to deal with the real reason why smartphones have become ubiquitous in our classrooms: social networking.

The use of social networking is increasing in all areas of society but, although students have been active in social networking for almost a decade now, during this time, schools and teachers have largely ignored their students’ clear desire for peer interaction and communication outside the classroom.

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