DISCOVERY EDUCATION ANNOUNCED AS EDUCATION RESOURCES AWARDS FINALIST

Digital learning provider is shortlisted in 3 categories for prestigious 2020 industry prize

Discovery Education, the leading digital content provider for schools in the UK and globally, has been announced as a finalist at this year’s prestigious Education Resources Awards.

Organised by The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) and Brilliant Marketing Solutions and now in its 20th year, The Education Resources Awards are a flagship industry event celebrating success and innovation among the UK’s key education suppliers.

Discovery Education is proud to be nominated in three categories:

  1. Free Educational Resources

Developed in partnership with Nike, Active Kids Do Better helps teachers to inject short bursts of activity into the school day in a bid to get children moving and improve health. Launched in 2018, the programme is now used by over 12,000 pupils. Schools taking part have seen pupils’ concentration and attainment grow, with some receiving visits from Nike athletes including Bianca Williams and Joe Clarke to congratulate them on their success.

  • Primary Resource Or Equipment Including IT

Award-winning Discovery Education Coding is one of the UK’s leading primary computing resources, used in over 2,700 schools across the country. A new and updated version of the popular service was launched to schools recently. Fully refreshed for 2020, Discovery Education Coding 2.0 includes new features to enhance pupils’ coding experience, ignite their creativity and take their coding to the next level. A fresh new interface, exciting code blocks, and a more intuitive workflow help pupils to build the programming skills they need for the future.

  • Education Exporter of the Year

Discovery Education’s international operations have grown exponentially in the past three years. In Egypt, Discovery Education resources are available to over 20 million students and 1.3 million teachers in 55,000 schools. And, over the space of a few short years, more than 170,000 teachers have been trained in Egypt’s new curriculum through Discovery Education’s Professional Development programme.

In Sweden 437,000 students use our learning resources. While in Chile in excess of 100,000 students are learning with Discovery Education Techbook and more than 3,000 teachers use Techbook for their classroom instruction. In a recent competition that Discovery Education ran for an MOE in a MENA county to pilot Coding, more than 18,000 students participated.

Kelli Campbell, President, International at Discovery Education said:

“We’re delighted to be shortlisted for a prestigious ERA award, one of the highest accolades in the education industry. As a trusted partner for schools we help teachers to open doorways to learning, engaging pupils with exciting digital content and getting them ready for tomorrow. We’re proud to be listed alongside our fellow nominees and look forward to the ceremony.”

Discovery Education is the global leader in curriculum-matched digital resources and professional development for teachers everywhere. Together we’re re-imagining learning, harnessing the power of technology to bring the real world into the classroom and ignite pupils’ curiosity.

Discovery Education’s digital resources are trusted by thousands of UK primary schools.  We’re the makers behind the award-winning digital learning service Discovery Education Espresso, Discovery Education Coding and Discovery Education STEM Connect.

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary First in UK to be Awarded National EdTech Accreditation

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, in Ross on Wye Herefordshire, is the first school in the UK to be awarded the ‘Kinteract Innovator Award’for commitment to innovation in education technology

The award recognises the school’s ability to use advanced digital tools to effectively record a child’s achievements, individually monitor and evaluate learning and provide feedback to parents.  As a result, there has been a knock-on effect of also reducing teacher workload. 

Shehzad Najib, CEO of Kinteract said, “Despite the investment going into EdTech only 3% of the market is currently digitised. Kinteract wanted to officially recognise schools which have integrated technology within their assessment process, and taken steps to share their experience with other schools, with a special ‘Innovator’ status.  We are delighted to present St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School with the first award in the country.”

According to Deputy Head Alison Murray, “Using Kinteract as our assessment system has allowed us to measure the implementation and impact of the curriculum we are teaching at St Joseph’s. The Kinteract app allows our Nursery and Primary school staff to immediately record observations of individual pupils and groups of pupils across all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, the National Curriculum and Catholic Education Services Age Related Standards in Religious Education.

“The app also allows parents to view the progress their child is making rather than only seeing work during parent consultations. Parents are able to respond to these observations, giving them a greater link to their child’s education.

“Recorded observations support staff when making summative assessments. The reporting system allows senior management to monitor attainment and progress from Nursery to Year 6 by year group and by groups of pupils, identifying positive results and any areas that require improvement”.

Year five and six teacher Rhys Gunter commented, “Using Kinteract has been great to track and assess a child’s progression in class. It has saved me a lot of time when uploading national curriculum objectives a child has met by grouping children together. The graphs produced, after assessment data has been uploaded, are clear and show where the class are at for meeting objectives”. 

The award will be presented to St Joseph’s at an event at the school on 5th March 2020.

Online learning using AI offers innovative solution to coronavirus school closures

As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK rises, around 15 schools have already been shut down to prevent spreading the virus any further. While the government continues to assess whether widespread school closures are necessary to limit the outbreak, schools are looking to how they can adapt to provide long distance learning to allow pupils to continue their education outside the classroom. UK-based startup Atom Learning are one of the companies providing solutions for schools through the use of AI technology, and are currently supporting dozens of schools unable to open in the UAE and across Asia. With one UK prep school already using the system to provide long-distance learning while closed, the award-winning education tech company is gearing up to support three hundred schools that are existing users in the face of mass closures. Launched one year ago, the Key Stage 2 online learning platform allows teachers to run realtime adaptive lessons and set homework, making it an effective solution to ensure that students are able to continue with their studies in the event of school closures. Free of charge to schools, the platform is already used by almost 50% of UK prep schools and several multi-academy trusts who have embraced technology as a way of providing customised learning resources within and beyond the classroom. Schools with limited tech capabilities may struggle to provide adequate long-distance learning support, meaning children run the risk of falling behind if they are unable to access educational resources in person. Other schools which have already established the use of online learning systems are in a better position to manage potential issues such as coronavirus with greater flexibility and less disruption to learning. Atom Learning has braced for a potential rapid growth in signups as the demand for education tech solutions becomes imminent, with the capability to onboard tens of schools onto the platform per day. At any rate, the challenges posed by potential school closures will provide insight into whether online platforms can provide an effective substitute for in-classroom teaching, and assess the role of education technology as a useful tool in paving the way for more long-distance learning. Jake O’Keeffe, Co-founder of Atom Learning, said: “Atom Learning’s free-of-charge school platform has already been supporting a number of schools to ensure that students’ education is not adversely impacted. We hope this is an PRESS RELEASE opportunity to show how innovation within the education sector can deliver creative solutions to help maintain high standards of learning during this potentially disruptive time.”

FutureLearn Campus launched to mobilise partners towards digitised future of education

09 March 2020, London, UK: FutureLearn.com, the leading social learning platform, is announcing the launch of FutureLearn Campus, a new offering which will allow its partners which include 25% of the world’s top universities to give millions of their current students and staff unlimited access to the online short courses they deliver through the FutureLearn platform.

With an international student population of over 485,000 in the UK alone, and more students than ever before accessing higher education offerings online, the need for greater flexibility and accessibility within higher education institutions is more urgent than ever(*1). 

FutureLearn enables universities to deliver structured distance learning to students on any device wherever in the world they are. It provides students with a connected social experience and is extremely effective at encouraging their interactions with peers, educators and support staff. 

Short courses can be delivered open, enabling students to join a global community or to private cohorts with additional features, including high-touch support. Students and staff can sign in using their university account to join the university’s short courses with free access to premium features.

Through FutureLearn Campus, universities can open up their virtual doors to today’s globalised, digitally-driven student base, and deliver lifelong learning opportunities to staff, all while responding to the rapidly changing education landscape. 

The first partner to sign up to FutureLearn Campus is the University of Michigan, ranked 21st in the world and with 42,982 FTE students (*2). “Both FutureLearn and the University of Michigan are committed to delivering high-quality education and transforming access to learning,” said James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan. “In addition to engaging learners around the world, our partnership with FutureLearn also allows us to provide new learning experiences to our campus community as they seek to deepen knowledge, obtain new skills, and explore new areas of interest.”

Justin Cooke, Chief Content and Partnerships Officer at FutureLearn also commented: “At FutureLearn, we believe that high quality education should be as accessible and flexible as possible. In an increasingly digitalised society, FutureLearn Campus will provide universities with the tools they need to share their content with students and staff all over the world while bridging that gap between their online and in-person offerings.” Justin continued, “Of course, at the moment, due to the coronavirus outbreak, we know online learning is high on universities’ agendas as they do their best to support their staff and students to continue their teaching and studies as normal. We’re working closely with a lot of our partners to support them to do this and we hope FutureLearn Campus is a help at this time.”

Why Teach? New podcast series available now to inspire teacher recruits in Scotland

–          The Original Influencers take to the digital platform to share their inspiring experiences

The Scottish Government has created a new podcast series introducing a selection of teachers who share their experiences about the classroom.

Aimed at aspiring teachers, and to encourage more young people studying to consider if they have got what it takes to inspire the next generation of teachers, the podcasts create a platform that appeals to the target audience.

Called “Why Teach?”, the series of five episodes, addresses that very question with the help of teachers currently working throughout Scotland. All with inspirational anecdotal stories to share, topics covered include why they chose teaching as a career; whether they teach at the primary or secondary level; what route into the classroom they took and whether they went straight into teaching or started in a different career.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said “Deputy First Minister John Swinney said, “Our series of podcasts share individual stories about the positive and motivating influence teachers make to children and young people’s lives.  We hope these valuable insights from the classroom will inspire the next generation of teachers.

“We are working to ensure teaching remains an attractive and rewarding career that provides more opportunities for development and progression and I would urge students and career changers to consider a highly rewarding career in teaching.”

The podcasts are available to listen now on Apple, Spotify, Android, Amazon Alexa and Google Home or search for Why Teach? On your preferred podcast.

·           Planet Radio (Bauer Media): https://planetradio.co.uk/podcasts/why-teach/

·           Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5S2z5xLu509zqebHxaade9?si=zJSpZKL7QTadvdxbr9fUDg

·           Apple/iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/why-teach/id1495167485

·           Google Podcasts (Android): https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3MucG9kcGxheXN0dWRpby5jb20vMTI4My54bWw%3D

·           TuneIn (which goes live onto Amazon Alexa): https://tunein.com/podcasts/Education-Podcasts/Why-Teach-p1287869/

If you’re an undergraduate student considering your career pathway, why not get into teaching? For more information check out teachinginscotland.scot 

The UK’s leading educational policy event returns for its first show of a new decade

Building on the recent political changes and reacting to a new Government with a new agenda, The Schools & Academies Show returns to London ExCeL for its first show of a new decade.

Taking place across two days, on 29th – 30th April, and the only show strategically supported by the Department of Education and the Education & Skills Funding Agency, the show is perfectly timed at a pivotal moment post general election to provide visitors with an unrivalled opportunity to engage with a range of high-level speakers, meet-face-to-face with industry-leading suppliers, and take away practical advice and best-practice from policy makers, education pioneers and inspirational peers.

To help keep visitors up-to-date and knowledgeable in the face of an ever-changing educational landscape, the Schools & Academies Show will host 8 agenda themed theatres, each specialising on key areas shaping today’s education systems. This year’s theatres include:

1.            Main Stage

2.            School improvement Summit

3.            MAT Summit

4.            SEND Theatre

5.            Business & Finance Theatre

6.            Tech Theatre

7.            Wellbeing Demo Area

8.            Leader’s Town Hall

Each session is hosted by a renowned industry speaker, providing innovative research, case studies and ready to implement takeaway tips and techniques. New for 2020, every session will finish with 3 practical learning outcomes from the speaker or chair, aiming to provide visitors with valuable ideas and lessons which they can implement in their school.

As a sign of the show’s continual growth over the last 9 years, the London show will be welcoming Sir Ranulph Fiennes, one of our times greatest explorers as its first Celebrity Guest Speaker. Sir Ranulph Fiennes will be headlining the Main Stage on day 2, speaking on ‘Being a Resilient Leader’. Click here for the full speakers list.

Against the tough economic backdrop British schools face today, the show will fill the ExCel halls with over 200 of the UK’s finest education suppliers, creating a platform and opportunities for educational institutions to source solutions at cost effective prices.

Chris Callaghan, Event Director from the Schools & Academies Show said “The consensus from our visitors and exhibitors is that each year the calibre of content and speakers coming out of the seminar theatres is outstanding. We aim to provide the highest quality of content that provides school leaders with vital updates and information that helps them to run their school and provide improved pupil outcomes.”

Making a welcome return to the London show, after being absent from the Birmingham show in November is the Government Education Village, a feature produced in conjunction with the Department of Education and the Education & Skills Funding Agency. In light of the election result and Brexit, this feature provides a timely opportunity to discuss new polices, reforms and other potential changes looming over the education sector with those shaping and making policies.

Alongside returning favourites, the 2020 edition will also be introducing ‘An interview with..’ feature, where we sit down with a key industry personnel and dive deep into their predictions for the future of our industry. We kick start this off at our London 2020 where we will be interviewing Amanda Spielman HMCI of Ofsted.

Our new feature area, the Leader’s Town Hall will be a ‘Question Time’ style theatre providing visitors and speakers the opportunity to debate the biggest topics within the education sector. You will have the perfect opportunity to have your say on the biggest topics in the sector whilst hearing from experts and policy makers on party manifesto pledges, new policies and funding announcements.

We’re excited to release the first three episodes of the ‘Schools & Academies Show Podcast’ which will provide education professionals with the latest policy updates and insights concerning schools in the UK. Have a listen to them here: https://bit.ly/31SrXiE

Registration for The Schools & Academies Show London 2020 is completely free for those working in schools, multi-academy trusts, charities and local and central government. Register today by clicking here and be the first to receive the latest insights, initiatives and guidance on the changes shaping the ever-evolving education sector.

Schools and Academies London

The Schools & Academies Show provides a unique platform for senior leaders from Schools, Academies and MATs to access free CPD accredited seminars and hear the latest policy updates across the sector. The event will be returning to the ExCeL in London on the 29-30 April 2020!

Supported by the Department for Education, this the must-attend event for senior leadership teams this year. By securing your free ticket, you’ll be able to discover practical advice and innovative solutions to help overcome the biggest challenges facing your school.

Why attend the Schools & Academies Show this April?

  • Meet 200 education suppliers, innovators and solution providers
  • Network with over 4,000 school and MAT leaders and over 120 speakers.
  • Government Education Villagesupported by the DFE and ESFA to provide you with practical advice and policy updates.
  • The newly launched MAT Matchmaking Area; sponsored by ParentPay, will provide visitors with a dedicated area on the exhibition floor to take part in in-depth roundtable discussions around the biggest topics affecting MATs across the UK
  • New feature Charity Villagewill provide registered charities with an opportunity to take part in the exhibition floor and network with all the Head Teachers, School Business Managers, Governors, Finance Directors, Deputy Heads and wider education leaders who attend the show. Click here for more information.
  • New Feature in the wellness areawill showcase a range of classes, mini-presentations, demonstrations and talks aimed at senior school and education leaders with the purpose of tackling the growing mental health crisis within the education sector.
  • New feature area, the Leader’s Town Hall, will be a ‘Question Time’ style theatre providing visitors and speakers the opportunity to debate the biggest topics within the education sector.

Attracting over 4,000 attendees, the event offers fantastic networking opportunities for professionals at UK schools and academies. What’s more, The Schools & Academies Show is free to attend! 

Register for our upcoming Schools & Academies Show, taking place on 29th & 30th April 2020 at Excel, London. Click here to register for free.  

Micro:bit Educational Foundation and Nominet launch micro:bit classroom

…part of a new free educational platform to help teachers teach computing with purpose…

  • With funding from Nominet, the Micro:bit Educational Foundation has released a free comprehensive educational platform to empower every teacher to deliver creative digital projects and computing lessons
  • The platform includes micro:bit classroom, a unique tool that makes managing and reviewing students’ code for the micro:bit quick and easy – set up takes just two minutes for MakeCode and python
  • The new educational platform and micro:bit classroom is designed to democratise access to technology and broaden access to computing education
  • With 1 million BBC micro:bit devices already in UK schools since 2016, the platform can help   teachers to embed computational thinking and real-world applications of technology in their teaching quickly and creatively.

This week the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, with funding from its founding partner Nominet, has launched a new free online educational platform including micro:bit classroom, a unique tool for schools, as well as comprehensive educational resources to aid planning, share ideas and save teachers’ time. The new platform aims to empower all UK teachers – from computing aficionados to first-time coders – to bring foundational computing concepts, computational thinking skills and aspirations into lessons via the BBC micro:bit.

The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer, it uses tech industry standard hardware with a range of features including an LED display, motion, temperature and light sensors and a compass. It has wireless communication using radio and Bluetooth which can be programmed to send and receive data between devices. The micro:bit is programmed using free software editors – the block based and text language of MakeCode and the text-based python language to introduce students to programming and the relationship between software and hardware design.

Four years ago one million BBC micro:bit devices were delivered to every UK secondary school and since then the micro:bit has gone global, with devices embraced by world-leading education systems including Canada, Finland, Denmark, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The micro:bit is also being used as a strategic device for educational programmes investing in the acceleration of critical 21st century skills as demonstrated by the Western Balkan countries, and many South American countries including Chile, Uruguay, Colombia and Brazil.

The launch is part of the Foundation’s ambitious plans to democratise technology and broaden young people’s access to successful digital futures, beginning with computing education using the BBC micro:bit. It is committed to introducing every UK child to the creative possibilities of coding and the applications of technology to their real-world experience, so they become designers and creators, not just consumers of technology.

The benefits

Time-saving features are built into the new platform – the BBC micro:bit basics can be learned by any teacher in just an hour and micro:bit classroom makes it possible to set-up programming lessons in less than 2 minutes.

Furthermore, the new micro:bit classroom product allows teachers to view student work live and in one place, as well as stop and resume lessons at any point. Lessons are also easily downloadable to record students’ work, and there is no need to remember usernames or passwords because no registration is required. No student data is stored outside the school’s own secure storage. The tool is uniquely designed to maintain student privacy. A host of new lesson resources, plans and projects linked to the curriculum gives teachers everything they need to help them deliver an entire term of inspiring content with ease.

Uniquely, as a physical computing device, the BBC micro:bit enables students to see and experience how their code directly interacts with real-world hardware, away from the computer screen. With no need for expensive equipment, the affordable device and free educational platform is designed for teachers and students to develop their knowledge of computing and to innovate and create their own ideas when working with technology.

Gareth Stockdale, CEO of the Micro:bit Educational Foundation says:

“The BBC micro:bit makes coding tangible and creative, getting results quickly and broadening creative horizons.

“There are now over a million micro:bits in UK schools and libraries. The help of our founding partner Nominet in developing the new classroom tool and lessons means we can empower teachers to help children of all backgrounds be better prepared to face, and have a part in shaping, their own digital futures.”

Adam Leach, Managing Director of New Ventures at Nominet and Director of the Micro:bit Educational Foundation says:

“We all rely on teachers to help inspire our children to learn important new skills. Funding this project means we are helping busy teachers, including those who don’t have a technology background, to bring coding into the classroom. We know that when time is short, teachers appreciate being able to access and set up micro:bit lessons in less than 2 minutes.

“Our role at the heart of the UK’s internet infrastructure puts us in a unique position to be able to fund and support initiatives like micro:bit classroom. Doing so as part of our public benefit programme will go some way to help future-proof the UK’s digital workforce and economy, to ensure a vibrant digital future for all.”

Dean Wild, a teacher at Churchill Community College in Newcastle said: “Using the BBC micro:bit has been so engaging for them [pupils], that they have really wanted to learn more. It’s also helped them to grasp more complex computing projects, stretching their minds and making them think… they wouldn’t have had the same experience without the BBC micro:bit.”

The new learning resources and micro:bit classroom are freely available at: https://microbit.org.

The launch is the culmination of a two-year digital transformation project funded by Nominet to evolve the micro:bit platform so it serves teachers, pupils and the micro:bit community today and into the future.  The funding of £500,000 is part of Nominet’s public benefit commitment to enable all young people to acquire digital skills and thrive in the future digital economy.

Bradford school revamps reading areas in time for World Book Day

Primary Academy in Queensbury provides new inclusive areas for children to learn

Shibden Head Primary Academy has overhauled its pupils reading areas ahead of World Book Day which is set to take place on Thursday 5 March 2020.

The new facilities have been designed to include comfortable, inviting spaces for children to spend time solo reading as well as with other pupils to encourage them to work together and to inspire children to read more at home. This has also seen the introduction of new books for children to enjoy.

During World Book Day pupils at the school will be encouraged to come to dress as their favourite book characters and create a ‘book in a jar’ or a ‘book in a box’.

Children will also be able to purchase books at a Book Fair which will be running during the week commencing Monday 9 March.

Head of Shibden Head Primary Academy, Sarah Thornton said: “Nationally, 27% of pupils leave primary school unable to read at their expected level for their age.

“This is why at Shibden Head we are putting a full school focus on the importance of reading and how it can be a fun hobby for our pupils to engage with. Connecting with them at a school level will mean they will be encouraged to read more at home too.”

Michelle Harrison, Assistant Head and English Leader at Shibden Primary Academy, added: “With technology playing a bigger role in youngsters lives it can sometimes be difficult to get children to engage with books.

“That is why we have gone back to basics and made spaces where children can access the books a fun place to be, helping them excite one another about what stories they can unfold.”

Shibden Head Primary Academy operates as part of Focus Trust – a charitable multi-academy trust which is based in the North West of England with a vision of providing an engaging and challenging learning environment where the children are happy.

BRITISH SCIENCE WEEK: AWARD-WINNING BLOGGER LAUNCHES FREE RESOURCES FOR PARENTS AND SCHOOLS

’31 Days of Learning’ event will raise money for charity Reverence for Life

A digital campaign to provide parents and teachers with free learning resources is being launched ahead of British Science Week – 6-15 March 2020.

31 Days of Learning will give schools and families free access to a range of fun learning activities, bringing the wonder of science and creative subjects into classrooms and homes.

Hosted by the UK’s No.1 Parenting Blog Kiddycharts.com, this special digital event will provide parents and teachers with exciting experiments, crafts, projects and games to bring STEM and STEAM learning to life. From making rainbow slime to growing fruit and vegetables, the activities will help children to get hands-on with science, and to see the links between art and STEM subjects.

Launching on 1st March, a new activity will be made available on the KiddyCharts website each day throughout the month. Covering Science, Maths, Languages, Literacy and Art, the free resources will also include activities to boost awareness around mental and physical health. One project encourages children to create a journal helping them to recognise their emotions, while another looks at healthy eating.

Ranked as the leading UK Parenting Blog by Rise Global, Kiddycharts.com is the only UK Blog that is a registered social enterprise, with most profit going to charity. All proceeds from the 31 Days of Learning campaign will go to Reverence for Life, a charity that supports local UK and International charities in their work to help homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable people and children affected by HIV/AIDS.

Helen Neale, KiddyChart’s creator said:

“31 Days of Learning will give parents and teachers access to fantastic free resources just in time for British Science Week. We’ve recruited some of the UK’s best-known bloggers to help us, and each day they’ll provide an exciting new activity for kids – helping them to learn about the world around us while raising money for a really important cause.”

Teachers and parents are encouraged to visit www.kiddycharts.com from 1st March to start downloading the free resources. The content will also be available via Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #31DaysOfLearning.