Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise revolutionises remote learning with the launch of Rainbow Classroom

New solution seamlessly creates an unparalleled virtual learning environment

 Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, a leading provider of communications, networking and cloud solutions tailored to customers’ industries, today announced the launch of Rainbow™ Classroom – a unique cloud-based virtual classroom engine enriched with real-time collaboration and communication tools.

Effective remote learning requires an intuitive, integrated and secure platform which can be tailored to educators’ specific needs. Rainbow Classroom enables teachers to empower their teaching styles, to meet their students’ needs, through the creation of an all-encompassing virtual learning environment. Teachers are able to encourage students’ academic and social engagement with a host of real-time and secure collaboration tools; such as monitored study groups, whiteboarding, audio, video, instant messaging (IM) functionality as well as file and screen sharing.

Rainbow Classroom also enables the curation of all classroom activities, through its ability to retain all documents, conversations and posts until the end of the term. Rainbow Classroom seamlessly integrates with existing Learning Management Systems (LMS), to enable a familiar virtual learning environment and toolset. Rainbow Classroom is also fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and approved by The Open Web Application Security Project® (OWASP). Because it is hosted on Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s infrastructure, it enjoys the robust level of security applied to all Rainbow products; all communications are encrypted in transit and at rest. With Rainbow Classroom, educators have an innovative solution to enable them to meet the ever-shifting needs of students – and empower their success.

“Home learning is a trend that is here to stay,” comments Moussa Zaghdoud, EVP, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Cloud Communication Business Division. “However, this change requires flexibility among learning establishments; we created Rainbow Classroom to meet that exact need. Rainbow Classroom can be tailored by a school or university to optimize the remote learning experience, while ensuring data security and ease of use for teachers and students alike.

 Rainbow classroom’s inherent versatility enables it to be leveraged in any learning environment. By using Rainbow Classroom, a business, school or university can turn a simple web browser into a sophisticated and powerful learning tool. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is here to support both educators and students in the evolution to a hybrid digital learning environment”.

 

About Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise delivers the customised technology experiences enterprises need to make everything connect.

ALE provides digital-age networking, communications and cloud solutions tailored to ensure customers’ success, with flexible business models in the cloud, on premises, and hybrid. All solutions have built-in security and limited environmental impact.

Over 100 years of innovation have made Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise a trusted advisor to more than 830,000 customers in 100 countries around the world.

The privately-owned company with headquarters in France has over 2900 direct business partners worldwide, achieving an effective global reach with a local focus.

For more information: www.al-enterprise.com

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Synoptic make their Covid management software, ‘Reactivate’, available free of charge to schools

Following two successful pilots at schools in Cambridgeshire and Hampshire, Synoptic, a UK based tech company, is making its Covid management software, ‘Reactivate’, available free of charge to schools in England.

 

Reactivate software helps manage Covid risk in workplaces through an app which allows users to report daily symptom screening and test, vaccine and isolation status; and a management dashboard which provides managers a complete overview of reports and allows them to make informed decisions on absence scheduling, screening, testing and isolating.

 

School leaders in the pilot study said that Reactivate helped them with daily reporting required by the Department for Education, and helped them identify and isolate asymptomatic cases, keeping staff and students safe, helping to manage staff absences, and hugely alleviating the burden of paperwork.

 

Reactivate allows users to connect with each other as well as connect to their external households and wider social circles. It means that staff and pupils associated with a positive case can be immediately and automatically notified via the app or a text message and tests sent to their entire household – without compromising data privacy and security.

 

Synoptic is today making the system available to schools in England free of charge, meaning a saving of around £24,000 for the average secondary school over a six month period compared to business users.

 

Commenting on this launch, Graeme Scott CEO of Synoptic said:

At Synoptic we are driven by our mission to protect lives and help businesses get through the pandemic safely. Having worked with schools to develop a system that makes it easy for them to manage and isolate covid cases while meeting all their reporting requirements, we wanted to make this service available free of charge.

 

“This technology is made in Britain and is sold to businesses around the world to help them manage covid risk. We want to support the next stage of reopening by making it available free to schools, to help make schools as safe as possible so we can all do our part to help the UK reopen”

 

Richard White of Princes Mead School said:

“We started using Reactivate in Dec 2020 and began by testing it out with our staff. Once we were satisfied the technology was beneficial, we rolled it out to one parent per pupil and all of the pupils. The app itself is very user friendly and the dashboard is wonderfully simple; providing the information we need on one screen, and saving endless uploading, reporting and searching on excel.”

 

School leaders interested in using the Reactivate app in their schools should contact Alexandra D’Arcy Clark, Chief Business Development Officer at Synoptic at alexandra.darcyclark@synoptic.software

 

Sony invites customers behind the scenes with its innovative virtual experience event for corporate and education

Sony has released information on a new immersive event, Spark 2021. This interactive, virtual-reality-style event will allow customers to discover and experience Sony’s innovative Pro AV and IT products and solutions for business and higher education in a new and interactive way, from wherever they are.

“It is a really exciting new step for us to be able to offer this kind of truly immersive virtual event experience to our customers,” says Damien Weissenburger, Head of Sony Professional Displays & Solutions. “With the pandemic shifting everything we once knew and understood about how these types of events work, it’s with great pleasure that we can open our virtual doors, allowing us to be even more inclusive and flexible. The future of Sony’s virtual events is bright, and Spark 2021 is evidence of this, promising to excite with exclusive information and updates on our latest product offerings, as well as providing the opportunity to interact with our experts, no matter where they are in the world.”

The event will be live from April 12th – May 7th 2021, with live seminar sessions from the Sony team running until the 21st April discussing the latest technology innovations transforming workplaces, educational institutions, and cultural entertainment settings. By utilising 3D virtual technology, the event enables customers to step into a virtual entrance hall, where they can see Sony’s key products, pick up brochures for their goodie bag, watch product videos and even see some of the products in action in the virtual classroom and home cinema rooms.

There will also be the option for visitors to speak with product specialists via the 1-to-1 meeting booking functionality, as well as for live chats or video calls. Sony is even treating customers to a treasure hunt with a free prize draw where they could be in with the chance of winning a 55” BRAVIA® A8 TV or a set of Sony’s Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones.

To find out more about the event, register, or attend, please click here.

Classroom space: how to maximise its potential

New research into the rising levels of pupil numbers in England suggests that nearly 13,000 more school classrooms will be needed in the coming academic year.

 

With September fast approaching, it’s time to consider how to maximise your school’s space so that you can accommodate the next generation of young learners.

 

Another point to consider is that excessive class numbers can lead to a negative learning environment with students finding it easier to disengage and harder to be heard.

 

So, what is the solution for conquering cramped classrooms? Ultimately, it’s in the way you use your available space. Your need to maximise your rooms capacity in a creative and tailored way that complements your subject and students.

 

I know what you’re thinking, where’s the money going to come from to help the school innovate its space and improve the student learning experience?

 

Don’t worry, with the Crown Commercial Services Framework for Furniture and Associated Services (RM6119, Lot 5) you can source a range of storage solutions that are both high quality and at a reasonable budget.

 

With leading British manufacturers such as Rackline on the approved list for quality, cost-effective storage solutions across the public sector, you can easily access its diverse range of products which can be tailored to suit your unique space.

 

Maximise your classroom’s potential and create a productive learning environment, with Rackline’s top five suggestions for the best school storage solutions:

 

Mobile shelving

An efficient storage system, mobile shelving is a stylish product that is perfectly suited to the learning environment. Optimise your school’s floor space with this convenient and movable solution that’s great for storing heavy loads while reducing the amount of room taken up by 50%.

 

Static shelving

Offering a wide range of static shelving options, Rackline can boost your storage capacity with a fully tailored product that meets your school’s specific needs. While it’s made from solid steel, the shelving is free from sharp edges which ensures you can safely store your items in a busy educational setting.

 

Tray shelving

Shelving systems are very versatile and can be fitted with tray support brackets to maximise storage capacity. Rackline can design and manufacture storage bays to accommodate any size of tray, from gratnells trays for the classroom to larger collection trays that are better suited to storing subject resources for art or science prep labs.

 

Lockers

One of the most commonly seen storage examples in the education sector, lockers are popular for a reason. High quality, durable and secure, Rackline’s lockers deliver a functional personal storage system for both students and staff. Steel welded and riveted, the powder coated lockers come in a range of colours, you can even match them to your school branding.

 

Archive shelving

Ideal for heavy or bulky items, archive storage systems can help you to store items efficiently and neatly. Rackline’s archive shelving is great for organising gym equipment and storage cupboards allowing you to easily access and find what you’re looking for.

 

If you’re ready to maximise the potential of your students and classroom space, contact Rackline on 01782 770 144 or head to www.rackline.com to transform your school’s learning environment.

 

 

Shaftesbury School and Epson collaborate to develop class leading learning environment

Inspiring technology adoption breathes life into future classroom

What happens when imagination and collaboration are brought together by a creative vision? The answer is Shaftesbury School’s future classroom.

Curated by Alex More, Lead Teacher of Innovation in Teaching & Learning, following his frustration with the rigidity of the classroom environment and the linear process of education, it brings learning to life in an interdisciplinary and sensory engaging way.

 

He explains: “Since the industrial revolution children have been taught sitting in lined up desks in front of a teacher writing on a board. This got them ready for a life of being told what to do by their bosses. That is not the case now. The workplace wants presenters and inquisitive team members that are confident to share their ideas, explore options, challenge and be OK with being challenged. The future classroom encourages this freedom to investigate. It allows students to immerse themselves fully and unselfconsciously.”

 

Phase 1 of the project identified a disused space at school and Alex began contacting partners to help guide and support him on bringing together a wide range of ideas. This presented many opportunities for learning for all involved.

 

One of the first elements to be installed was the Epson EB-1485FI projector provided as part of the Epson ambassador’s school project. It is only one of ten schools in the country to have one. The projector works with a with a SMIT visual board with wired in speakers and Mozaik 3D software that seamlessly brings 3D animation to life. With Mozaik students have access to up to 1200 3D scenes plus hundreds of educational videos, tools and games. Digital books and presentations can be enriched with images, drawings and interactive 3D scenes and custom worksheets can be created with the built-in test editor in mozaBook. The software supports touchscreen functionality and its user interface can adapt display size. Teachers can also create presentations or turn their files into interactive digital textbooks.

 

 

There are 13 whiteboards so students can write on the walls, a 360 degree camera allows images to be downloaded and reviewed and a Catchbox microphone connected to Epson speakers allows even the quietest voice in the room to be heard.

 

Alex comments: “The display size of the SMIT visual board is 120 inches, larger than the 70 inches we are used to, which makes things so much more immersive. The results are really transformative. Students can get to grips with 3D modelling and image size and more than one person can interact with the software at once.” 

He continues: “The teachers love it. I have since purchased a one-year Mozaik licence as it was proving so popular the five free downloads per week were being hit on the first day of the week! The students think it is awesome. They love the ability to co-create with the spilt screen as well as the 3D modelling feature. It’s had a huge impact on learning too, specifically cognitive load. The quality of the 3D models is amazing and allows them to dissect items and zoom in and interact with images through Epson’s touch features.”

 

He adds: “I didn’t want a room of technology without a teacher. I wanted to use technology to compliment the teacher and this works amazingly well.”

 

The future classroom is not just driven by the tech. The environment is important too – a plant wall sponsored by Biotecture is absorbing carbon dioxide and a Gratnells Learnometer ensures the best classroom environment by monitoring seven measurements including ambient temperature, levels of fine dust particles and CO2.

 

“40 out of 60 staff are trained to use the room already and 20 use it regularly,” states Alex. “As a HundrED ambassador I can link to classrooms around the world and participate in workshops. We have opened up a corner of our world to the global stage. Our students are even going to be teaching students in Ghana. They are part of an international community.”

 

Phase 2 has just been launched and focuses more on three Is – International, Intergenerational and Interdisciplinary. International looks to develop local and global Science, Technology, English or Maths (STEM) partnerships, Intergenerational will see students working with people over 65 who will tutor them. This allows those who are retired to share their knowledge and those who need support to have access to a wider range of expertise. Interdisciplinary supports learning from a more integrated perspective. Rather than just learning the core subjects, students are encouraged to develop knowledge as part of a larger project.

Explains Alex: “We want the learning to be much broader and inclusive beyond the basic subjects. We also want the future classroom to support more than just the students in the school.  For example, one of the initiatives includes a course for parents. It involves Australian company Curiious which uses Redbox VR to deliver an immersive virtual reality mental health and wellness programme called Wiise. It helps develop ways to manage emotions in the household and we are the first in Europe to trial it.”

 

He concludes: “It is a real privilege to have all these connections to help create a living breathing classroom. It challenges the status quo and opens people’s eyes to what is possible. Everyone is learning all the time as the classroom evolves and it is exciting to see its role within the school and community – local and global – continue to grow.”

 

Tilbury Douglas Construction Secures Two New Education Contracts in the West Midlands

Tilbury Douglas Construction has won two new education contracts in the West Midlands, with work starting later this month.

 

Located in Walsall both schools (The Ladder School and Walsall Studio School)

were awarded by the Department for Education under the EFSA 2017 Medium Band Construction Framework and will be operated by The Mercian Trust.

 

Designed in collaboration with Race Cottam Architects, The Ladder School will be an entirely new build school providing alternative provision for young people in the Walsall area who are at the risk of exclusion from mainstream education. Currently housed in temporary accommodation, the new two and three storey building will offer up to 112 students a radically improved learning environment for Key Stage 4 and post 16 education.

 

Principal of The Ladder School, Mr. Chris Bury said:

 

“I am very excited to see construction work start; the new school has been carefully planned to ensure students have the best possible chances to succeed. As a school community we cannot wait to move into our new facilities, the project will change the life chances for the students we serve.”

 

On an adjacent site, a second project to extend accommodation for Walsall Studio School will simultaneously be constructed. Walsall Studio School is a specialist studio school with a bespoke curriculum designed to engage students on a 4-year professional journey that allows them to thrive in the creative, digital and health industries. The new building will provide dedicated and specialist space to further this work.

 

Principal of Walsall Studio School, Mr. Darren Perry said:

 

“The new build development symbolises our commitment to providing a high-quality performance and a digitally rich learning environment that enables our students to thrive. As a school that champions industry-led learning, I am excited to enhance our unique Studio School approach for future cohorts of students.”


Commenting on the new developments, Simon Butler, Division Director at Tilbury Douglas Construction in the Midlands said:

 

We are delighted to have been awarded two new contracts which represent a significant investment in education provision in the West Midlands. Tilbury Douglas has a strong track record in delivering specialist education projects and we are looking forwards to starting on site.”

 

Works will begin in April 2021, with a completion date of spring 2022.

School improvement goes real-time with innovative tech solution

Now you can have dynamic, real-time monitoring of progress against your school improvement plan, all in one place.

 

 Hub4Leaders has today launched Evaluate-Ed, an online tool that will transform school improvement. Evaluate-Ed makes measuring, tracking and reporting school improvement simple, collaborative and effective.

 

School improvement is at the heart of good practice. But there are so many reports and evaluations, so much paper. And the reports often become outdated as soon as you have written them.

Wouldn’t it be easier if you could have all your progress reports and evaluations in one resource? With Evaluate-Ed, you can.

 

“Teachers and leaders have for too long been subject to an assortment of external evaluations and assessments, both local and national, that require responses. Many of these demands need reports or analysis which are very time consuming and often repetitive. Evaluate-Ed software provides schools with a bespoke central source from which to create their own evaluations, monitor progress effectively, produce and update reports speedily to meet their own school priorities, external expectations or both. Evaluate-Ed is the heart of self-assessment, monitoring, analysis and feedback processes which will impact positively on a school community,” said John Croghan MEd, BA, Cert Ed, school consultant, mentor and governor.

Evaluate-Ed will transform your reporting. All your school improvement planning in one place, online. Secure, yet easy to share, it puts leaders in control of their school’s improvement journey.

How does it work?

You answer a series of questions across multiple categories and provide supporting evidence. The results generate school improvement recommendations and an action plan. Video-based micro-consultations from leading sector experts explain your next steps.

Who is it for?

Evaluate-Ed is for use in individual schools, academies, and multi-academy trusts. Schools use the tool to review and improve practice. MATs use the tool to review, improve, and grow.

 

“This is the most dynamic self-evaluation and improvement tool that has ever been created in the education sector. The software asks you all the challenging questions about every aspect of running a school and tells you what outstanding or good looks like. The software highlights all the outstanding areas of the school and flags up any areas for development. It’s simple to use, very intuitive but extremely powerful in the analysis of your school, academy or trust,” said Howard Jackson, chief executive officer, Hub4Leaders.

Now you can have dynamic, real-time monitoring of progress against your school improvement plan, all in one place.

 

[12th April 2021, Macclesfield, Cheshire] – Hub4Leaders has today launched Evaluate-Ed, an online tool that will transform school improvement. Evaluate-Ed makes measuring, tracking and reporting school improvement simple, collaborative and effective.

 

School improvement is at the heart of good practice. But there are so many reports and evaluations, so much paper. And the reports often become outdated as soon as you have written them.

 

Wouldn’t it be easier if you could have all your progress reports and evaluations in one resource? With Evaluate-Ed, you can.

“Teachers and leaders have for too long been subject to an assortment of external evaluations and assessments, both local and national, that require responses. Many of these demands need reports or analysis which are very time consuming and often repetitive. Evaluate-Ed software provides schools with a bespoke central source from which to create their own evaluations, monitor progress effectively, produce and update reports speedily to meet their own school priorities, external expectations or both. Evaluate-Ed is the heart of self-assessment, monitoring, analysis and feedback processes which will impact positively on a school community,” said John Croghan MEd, BA, Cert Ed, school consultant, mentor and governor.

 

Evaluate-Ed will transform your reporting. All your school improvement planning in one place, online. Secure, yet easy to share, it puts leaders in control of their school’s improvement journey.

 

How does it work?

You answer a series of questions across multiple categories and provide supporting evidence. The results generate school improvement recommendations and an action plan. Video-based micro-consultations from leading sector experts explain your next steps.

Who is it for?

Evaluate-Ed is for use in individual schools, academies, and multi-academy trusts. Schools use the tool to review and improve practice. MATs use the tool to review, improve, and grow.

 

“This is the most dynamic self-evaluation and improvement tool that has ever been created in the education sector. The software asks you all the challenging questions about every aspect of running a school and tells you what outstanding or good looks like. The software highlights all the outstanding areas of the school and flags up any areas for development. It’s simple to use, very intuitive but extremely powerful in the analysis of your school, academy or trust,” said Howard Jackson, chief executive officer, Hub4Leaders.

allmanhall proves its ‘Worth’ and secures significant contract extension

allmanhall, the independently owned food procurement expert, is pleased to announce that its contract with Worth School to provide an operational catering consultancy, with food and catering related purchasing, has been extended.

Worth School engaged allmanhall in 2014 after a benchmark demonstrated that a saving of 13.93% was realisable. Recent reviews by Worth have shown that the expertise of allmanhall has delivered impressive results ever since.

Worth School is a co-educational Roman Catholic boarding and day independent school for pupils from 11 to 18 years of age, in West Sussex. The school has over 600 pupils, of whom 300 are full boarding. They proudly operate a very busy and complex in-house catering service.

Worth School’s objectives were to achieve a streamlining of controls within the catering department with a view to improving service levels and consistency of the school’s foodservice offering, and to make cost savings. Working in partnership with allmanhall has achieved these targets with impressive results.

 

The implementation of allmanhall’s industry-leading catering software platform coupled with trading support from allmanhall, brought financial control and visibility to the team, with administrative efficiencies and cost savings. Supplier tendering and price mitigation identified a further 11.53% improvement, and the financial benefits and savings initiatives delivered by allmanhall contributed to supporting the school’s comprehensive and ground-breaking 2019 refurbishment of their dining facilities.

 

Day-to-day support is provided from a dedicated Client Support Advisor at allmanhall, handling issues such as supplier resolutions so that the in-house team at Worth can focus on catering operations. Support activities and operational consultancy is habitually reviewed then tailored to fit Worth School’s needs. Additional services provided include regular allergen training by allmanhall’s registered dietitian and food innovation days delivered by allmanhall’s development chefs, on topics ranging from fish and seafood to vegetarian and vegan menu ideas.

 

THE SKILLS NETWORK PARTNERS WITH THE YORKSHIRE CRICKET FOUNDATION TO OFFER FREE MENTAL HEALTH COURSES IN YORKSHIRE

 

  • Courses are available in Yorkshire for individuals associated with community clubs, volunteers and others who wish to know more about mental health
  • Learners will have access to three nationally recognised courses

 

The UK’s largest online learning provider, The Skills Network, has joined forces with The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation to offer free mental health awareness courses in the region.

 

The Skills Network, who already has partnerships with the likes of NHS, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, The Castleford Tigers, and now the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, is offering the courses to raise awareness of mental health in both adults and children, providing the knowledge and resources to work or interact with individuals who may be struggling.

 

Individuals associated with community clubs, volunteers and others will have free access to three nationally recognised online mental health courses, which will focus on recognising poor mental health, as well as the signs of self-harm and suicidal thoughts. The fully funded courses will also look at managing and minimising self-harm risk, giving tips on how to support others dealing with grief after suicide.

 

Darren Clarke, Senior Account Manager at The Skills Network said: “The pandemic has affected everyone differently – some have lost family members, others have become unemployed or furloughed, while many are feeling extreme loneliness.

 

“If we can break the stigma by allowing communities to be more informed and aware about the topic, it will become easier to spot the signs and potentially be able to prevent individuals from suffering in silence. By providing access to these free courses, we hope to support local adults who wish to learn more about mental health and gain new certified qualifications, for free.”

Beth Cook, Health and Wellbeing Manager for The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation said: “We have been working with the Skills Network for several years now, promoting courses that align with our delivery at the YCF. Given the current national landscape, we thought there was more we could do to promote awareness of mental health and reduce the associated stigma and saw our partnership with TSN as an ideal way to achieve this.

 

We want to work with as many cricket clubs and community groups across Yorkshire to build a network of ambassadors who want to create a change in how we approach, talk about and help those living with mental health conditions.”

 

The virtual courses, available to individuals over the age of 19 and not in the education sector, last for eight to 12 weeks, allowing them to fit learning around their busy lives.

 

To browse the selection of courses available or to sign up, please visit www.theskillsnetwork.com.

Landmark Year for Key Education Supplier

ESPO has grown from humble beginnings into one of the largest public sector buying organisations in the country, supplying more than 20,000 customers across the UK – including schools, police forces, councils and the NHS and this year ESPO celebrates its 40th birthday.

 

The business employs more than 300 people and supports £2.4billion of public sector spending every year. During the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s helped to distribute vital PPE to front line workers and emergency care packages to vulnerable people.

 

ESPO’s Chief Officer Kristian Smith said: “Going above and beyond for our customers is what we’ve always done and will continue to do. We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 40 years and it’s right that we celebrate it.”

 

ESPO is 100% owned by six local authority members including Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Peterborough City Council. Any operating surplus is returned to the public purse to help fund key services – resulting in a total reinvestment of more than £5m every year.

 

ESPO was set up in 1981 to help its member authorities buy everything they need – from stationery to multi-million pound contracts. Since then, the organisation has developed into a ‘one-stop shop’ offering everyday essentials and specialist services to public sector customers nationwide. The ESPO catalogue lists more than 25,000 different products and is a staple in thousands of schools across the country.

 

From their purpose-built warehouse and head office in Leicester, the ESPO team pick, pack and deliver more than 35,000 items every day helping to keep public sector services running smoothly.

 

ESPO also operates more than 100 framework solutions – recruiting a huge range of trusted suppliers centrally, so that public sector customers don’t have to duplicate this work, providing time and money saving benefits. Over the years the ESPO team have provided everything from energy and food services, to temporary staffing solutions, which has delivered 35million hours of work to the public sector, equivalent to 21,000 fulltime positions.

 

ESPO’s breadth and range has surpassed expectations over its 40 year history and continues to innovate and improve it’s offering to meet the ever changing needs of the public sector.