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Calling all young explorers!

Children get chance to visit a wind farm, dairy farm and factory without leaving the classroom  

  

  • Nestlé has developed an interactive virtual school trips platform for children aged 7-12.  
  • The three trips are presented by well-known children’s TV presenter, Rhys Stephenson.   
  • The online sessions, created with Nestlé’s partners Community Windpower and First Milk, are available from today – tl/KS2VirtualTrips  

 

With school trips off the timetable for many children during the last two school years, Nestlé UK & Ireland has created a series of virtual tours for children to show them around a wind farm, dairy farm and a coffee factory, at no cost.   

  

Aimed at children aged 7-12 years old, the school trips platform is a free resource available for schools and parents, featuring a series of interactive videos with quizzes and games.    

The guided tours, hosted by children’s TV presenter Rhys Stephenson, give children the chance to see the inner workings of a wind farm – which powers electricity for all three sites, inside a cow milking parlour – and how the milk crumb can be used to make frothy coffees and hot chocolate in the factory, and how the coffee is roasted from bean to cup. All without leaving their classroom or home.  

  

Presenter Rhys explains in a child-friendly and engaging way, how the sites are all connected through Nestlé to bring people food and drink. He also explains how the locations are set up to work collaboratively to improve sustainability practices, such as reducing carbon emissions and preserving local habitats – all of which was found, in a recent survey by Phunky Foods, to be very interesting to children.  

  

The videos feature three sites in the UK:   

 

The interactive sessions, about 15-20 minutes long, are delivered through a self-guided touring platform that can be projected into a school classroom, or as an individual on a computer, laptop, or tablet. The videos are designed for the children to feel that they are having direct interaction with Rhys and the contributors, through activities, interactive quizzes, interviews with the experts and thought-provoking questions centred around the sites, sustainability, and biodiversity. As the children progress through the platform, they can collect stickers, producing a certificate at the end.  

   

Schools from across all corners of the UK and Ireland can have this experience at no cost, increasing access and sharing invaluable knowledge.     

  

Dr Jennie Cockroft, Director of Nutrition at Phunky Foods, said:     

  

“At PhunkyFoods we work with primary school children up and down the country every day, and I know how much kids have missed out on during this school year as a result of the pandemic.  

  

“School trips are a really important part of learning, and it’s great to see that Nestlé is offering a series of virtual excursions for children across the UK & Ireland. As well as providing stimulus and stoking their sense of adventure, the platform gives kids the opportunity to learn more about where their food comes from and encourages interesting conversations about sustainability and biodiversity.”   

 

Nestlé UK&I Director of Corporate Affairs, Cristina Macina, said:   

   

“Climate change and the future of our planet is something that we are all passionate about and this is a great way to share some of those challenges, in a fun way, with our future generations.

 

“After the last eighteen months, we are delighted to be able to give children the chance to visit places they normally wouldn’t be able to. As a parent of a primary school aged child myself, I know that the interactivity of the platform makes it lots of fun, with games and quizzes throughout each learning episode. My son has really enjoyed visiting the wind farm, factory and in particular, the dairy farm. His favourite part was learning about how the calves are born on the farm and the farmer Rachel helps look after them when they’re young. I’d encourage any teacher or parent to take a look at the videos as it could be fun and interesting for them too.” 

 

Developed in collaboration with partners, Community Wind Power and First Milk, the three online, educational school trips are for use in primary schools and will be available from the end of the summer term and beyond.     

    

To access the virtual school trips, click here

Kajeet Digital Inclusion Grant 2021 Winners Announced

Kajeet UK Ltd is pleased to announce the 5 selected grant recipients of the 2021 Digital Inclusion Grant.

Grant recipients 2021 “For their dedication and ongoing work to close the digital divide within education”

The Digital Inclusion Grant promotes merit in technical education by recognising schools who are putting an extra focus on digital inclusivity projects to work towards digital equality at their schools.

Hew Rees Physics subject lead at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Llangynwyd commented:

“We’re delighted at YGG Llangynwyd to have been successful in winning this grant. A reliable internet connection brings our most disadvantaged learners a huge step closer to their more privileged peers.“

Broadband internet is no longer a luxury, but an essential onramp to education, jobs and access to essential services. 9% of students in the UK lack internet access at home, yet nearly all homework requires online access, and students with internet access at home are 6-8% more likely to graduate from high school.

The lockdowns during the pandemic have highlighted this issue in a much stronger light. Two of the grant winners commented on the impact the pandemic has had on their student performance.

Colin Nicholson Associate Vice Principal at Shirley High School:

“ The National Lockdowns when schools were partially closed, really highlighted the disparity between learners who had digital technology to engage with remote learning and those without. Inevitably, the Kajeet devices will enable learners to engage with both remote learning, independent learning and to demonstrate resilience. This will develop the character of the child and help them become excellent global citizens in a digital age.”

Debasis Maitra, Teacher of applied science at Capital City Academy

“I wanted to promote digital inclusivity at Capital City Academy, specifically to the students who have suffered due to school closure because of COVID-19 lockdown measures. I am really grateful to Kajeet UK for this grant as this will assist our students here at Capital City Academy with reliable Internet Connectivity which will support their Online Learning.”

Grant recipients serve as inspirational leaders within the UK educational system for their work to bridge the digital divide amongst students and level the playing field.

The winning schools will receive unlimited filtered connectivity for their students for a period of 6 months to support their work towards promoting digital inclusivity at their schools.

Comments were also made by the Kings Langley School from head teacher David Fisher

“This is going to allow our young people to continue to develop their digital competencies and to improve their lives.”

Also Michelle Gale – Health and Social Care teacher at John Leggott College commented on the grant win

“John Leggott College are thrilled to have been awarded this grant. It will help our learners engage in their education by providing free connectivity. A perfect opportunity to enhance the college’s digital inclusion strategy in the community”

Keep pupils active this summer with Public Health England and Disney’s 10 Minute Shake Ups

Research suggests that keeping active with regular exercise links to positive effects on pupils’ wellbeing

Evidence suggests that regular physical activity can have a positive impact on pupils’ mental wellbeing1. Increasing activity, both at home and in school, has been shown to make pupils feel better, help improve their performance at school, and develop important skills. Yet over the past year, we’ve seen evidence to suggest children are in need of more support when it comes to their levels of physical activity.

Public Health England have once again teamed up with Disney and for the first time Marvel’s The Avengers, for their latest 10 Minute Shake Up campaign, to encourage the nation’s children to get more active over the summer. Using the power of storytelling, children will be inspired by some of their favourite characters from Disney including Marvel’s The Avengers – Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Panther and Captain Marvel, Disney’s Frozen and Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story on how to get moving. The programme, which is a key initiative as part of Disney’s ongoing healthy living commitments, will help teachers to empower their pupils to achieve recommended activity levels.

Public Health England, alongside Disney, have developed a bank of new 10 Minute Shake Up resources for 2021. Aimed at pupils aged 4 to 11 the new fun, free and curriculum-linked activities are made up of 10-minute bursts of active fun that pupils can easily fit into the school day and at home. The interactive Shake Ups, adapted in line with COVID-19 restrictions, are freely available to download from the Public Health England School Zone

COVID-19 has caused a major disruption to the daily habits of pupils, both in and out of the classroom, with recent research from Sport England revealing that less than half are meeting the daily recommended level of physical activity.2 The study highlights that only 44.9% of children and young people were reported to be taking part in physical activity for an average of 60 minutes each day, as recommended by the Chief Medical Officer – down from 46.8% the previous year. The drop in activity, predominantly seen in boys, could be related to the removal of organised sports.

Schools have always worked hard to foster positive attitudes towards physical activity. However, research has shown that pupils return to school in September less fit than when they broke up in July,3 showing there is a need to engage them in physical activity beyond the school gates. The new 10 Minute Shake Up activities are the perfect way for teachers to help parents get children moving over the summer. 

Nearly two thirds (64%) of children say they would be inspired to be more physically active if they saw their favourite characters being active.4 By getting pupils, schools, families and carers involved, these flexible Shake Up activities ensure that young people can build long-term active habits.

Dr Helen Duncan, National Lead for Children, Young People and Families, Public Health England says: 

With students navigating a lot of change from the stresses caused by the pandemic, encouraging children to get active with 10 Minute Shake Up’s every day in school will help them reach their recommended level of activity, increasing physical and mental wellbeing in and out of the classroom. By making physical activity enjoyable for children, they will feel more positive towards getting active and confident to try new activities or sports.”

Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Executive Director of Children and Young People says: 

The pandemic has caused widespread disruption to children’s activity levels and helping them recover must now be an absolute priority. With the help of our nation’s brilliant teachers in raising awareness of these resources, the 10 Minute Shake Ups will provide children with activities that they can enjoy with their family and friends over the summer break.”

Encouragement from schools is the biggest motivator in choosing a career in tech, with girls more likely to be influenced by role models

14% of students were encouraged to pursue a tech career by their parents, 11% were motivated by an industry role model

 

With many students now approaching their graduation at the end of the school term, recent research has found that the most significant motivator for career direction among 18-24-year-olds is being encouraged by their school or college.

 

The report, by global emerging talent and reskill provider, mthree, found that more than a third of students (37%) attribute their career decisions, such as pursuing a career in technology, to encouragement from their school or college/sixth form (30%).

 

Interestingly, the majority of reasons that were cited for pursuing a career in technology were the same for both males and females. These included being pushed towards a career in tech by their parents (14%) and because they had completed a degree in a related subject (9% of males and 10% of females).

 

However, the research did find that whilst only 8% of males felt encouraged to pursue a career in tech by their friends, over 13% of females gave this as their primary motivation. Similarly, whilst 9% of males were inspired by a high-profile person, or role model within the sector, 13% of females stated that this was their biggest motivator. This suggests that social influence and having recognisable role models is particularly significant to young girls. With women making up just 19% of the technology industry across the UK,  there is a real need for more positive representations of women in technology in the media that can encourage further female uptake of careers in the sector.

 

Becs Roycroft, senior director at mthree, commented: “Whilst it’s great to see the significant role that educational establishments have in encouraging students to pursue a career in technology, it also highlights how students with potential could be missed, if schools do not advocate career paths such as that of tech.

 

“The technology industry is thriving, however, when you consider the diversity problem tech and many other sectors are currently experiencing, addressing the gender imbalance by looking at young people’s motivations for when they chose a career, can go some way to resolving the problem. Our research findings are a further reminder of how, to attract women to pursue careers in the sector, recognisable role models and positive representations of women in the industry, are essential.

“Schools and businesses can take active steps to promote careers in the sector as well as advocating technology jobs as a viable career path for female candidates.

 

“Introducing role models to young girls whilst at school, arranging for inspirational leaders in the field to come in and to discuss their role, can encourage students, and girls, in particular, to see the wide breadth of opportunity that the sector can offer.

 

“Similarly, for businesses, having a greater presence at recruitment fairs and university open days can be a keyway to not only introduce those to the sector, but also as a great opportunity to identify candidates that may have the necessary skills.”

 

“By demonstrating the extensive opportunities within technology and understanding young people’s motivations when considering a career, the technology sector can welcome more suitable candidates that have the relevant skills, to thrive within the industry.”

 

The majority of teachers and educators do not believe science education is fit for the future

Furthermore, fewer than half of the respondents (46 per cent) who took part in The Evolution of Science Education survey by Oxford University Press believe that the science curriculum in their country prepares children for the challenges our world will face in the future.

 

Only 31 per cent of teachers surveyed believe that science education in their country is fit for the future, according to a report published by Oxford University Press, the world’s largest university press.

 

The Evolution of Science Education includes insights from 398 teachers in *22 countries and regions—with most respondents from the United Kingdom (44%) and India (19%). While there are local nuances, there are also notable consistencies in key areas such as the science curriculum’s relevance in the future and how well it prepares pupils to navigate and address challenges the world will face, such as climate change and the evolving role of technology.

 

The research was undertaken alongside OUP’s active involvement in developing the science framework for the Programme for International Assessment (PISA) 2025.

 

Teachers were asked to recommend ways in which science curricula might evolve in order to remain relevant to today’s world, and that of tomorrow. Their recommendations included:

  • Science education should continue to prioritize practical skills through experimentation in the classroom.
  • Content needs to be up-to-date and prepare learners for the future.
  • There is a need for a greater connection between the science that is being taught in the classroom and what is happening in the world outside.
  • Teachers requested a rebalancing of exams – away from the current focus on knowledge, towards assessing the application of science.

 

COVID-19 has undoubtedly had an impact on science teaching in the last year, particularly restricting practical experimentation in the classroom, but the paper highlights numerous other issues that have been brought to light by the pandemic and need to be resolved.

 

Teachers surveyed believe the core purpose of science education should be inspiring learners to engage with science, teaching underpinning scientific concepts, teaching skills to enable effective experimentation, and helping learners to achieve a range of desirable outcomes through science.

 

To ensure science education evolves and remains relevant in the future, teachers believe there should be more focus on climate change as well as tackling fake news, and adapting faster to technological and societal change.

 

Dave Leach, Global Assessment Director, Oxford University Press said, “When we were first appointed as the developer of the PISA 20245 science framework in late 2019 we could never have predicted the chaos that the pandemic would bring. We wanted to elevate the voices of those teachers, to start a global conversation about how we enable learners to benefit from the lessons of the past 15 months, how we equip them for the challenges that lie ahead of us.”

 

Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said, “I always enjoy hearing teacher’s views on the future of education and welcome this report. The scientific challenges of the past year with the pandemic and the ever-growing signs of climate change mean that there has never been a more important time to focus on science, empowering students to thrive in a changing world. I look forward to continuing this conversation about the future of science education, particularly when we release the new PISA 2025 science framework next year.”

The report will be available here from Wednesday 14th July.

Classroom space: Why it’s the right time to think about organisation.

Since the start of the pandemic, the education sector has seen a dramatic change to teaching with local authorities advising schools and colleges on COVID guidelines. And with the educational financial year coming to an end in July, now is the time to start planning for the new academic year, as advised by Jeff Hibbert, Sales Director at Rackline Storage Systems.

 

With restrictions due to be eased from July 19th, it’s crucial for schools, colleges, and libraries to reevaluate their teaching and study environments whilst still being able to practice ‘COVID safe’ for the new academic year in September.

 

The layout, design and environment of a classroom, library or research lab has an impact on distractions, discomfort, and hygiene. It’s important for items and teaching equipment to be disinfected and stored away from any potential risks that could contribute to the spread of a virus. It’s also key to ensure your teaching or studying environment allows for plenty of space to ensure the practice of social distancing.

 

Classrooms and other educational areas need to have clear surfaces and ensure that all equipment is stowed away to increase efficiency, so pupils and students aren’t in a restricted space. The right storage solutions for your organisation also will support your admin team to run efficiently and effectively whilst ensuring data protection and safeguarding is adhered to. Rackline’s shelving and storage will be designed to meet the requirements of your facility and adapted to overcome and challenges you may have.

 

With guidance from reputable storage solutions manufacturers, you will make the most efficient use out of classroom organisation. At Rackline we always focus on project management from concept to reality, which means, in a busy driven sector such as education, we handle planning, designs and any regulations to ensure you can continue to teach.

 

The end of the educational financial year is drawing close and the approaching annual summer holidays means now is the ideal time to prepare for the new academic year. Rest assured your teaching or study environment will be future proof from any sudden changes in government restrictions.

 

We work with a range of educational bodies including the University of Aberdeen and University of Glasgow to provide the right storage solutions.

We’ve listed our featured storage solutions for the education sector:

Gratnell tray storage

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 and science.

 

Mobile shelving

Electronic mobile storage is another product that is perfectly suited to the learning environment. You can optimise floor space with this convenient and movable solution that’s great for storing heavy loads. Rackline’s stylish and secure storage system can be tailored with programmable controls, such as PIN access for staff, time access control and automatic lighting, ideal for securing confidential or valuable items.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

For more information, contact Rackline on 01782 770 144 or head to www.rackline.com to transform your school’s learning environment.

Estonian EdTech Respiray’s wearable air purifier device helps protect teachers from bacteria and viruses

Estonian EdTech Respiray’s wearable air purifier enables teachers and educators to remain protected from viruses and bacteria in school classrooms. This level of UV-C protection means schools can remain open during potential rises in COVID-19 infections.

Estonian EdTech Respiray’s wearable air purifier device helps protect teachers from bacteria and viruses

Countries worldwide responded to teaching during the pandemic via remote learning. Still, despite the herculean and heroic efforts performed by schools and their teachers, distance learning proved challenging and inadequate for 21st-century schooling.

Indrek Reimand at the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research commented that the Ministry is delighted to endorse innovation, and turned to its famed tech sector to innovate and provide a solution to the challenge. One such company that is innovating in the Estonian EdTech sector was Respiray.

“Respiray provides a fantastic example of how the collaboration between engineers, scientists, designers and entrepreneurs drives creative solutions for complex issues. The mixture of instrumental vehicles include vaccines, medicines, social distancing and air purifiers, that are engineered by Respiray’s product development team.”

Respiray was born in spring 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. It began when the company believed that office workers, schoolteachers, and retail staff could upgrade the ordinary face mask for the 21st century using UV technology. Respiray’s engineer believed that as UV-C LED technology has been proven to be highly effective against viruses, it could build a next-generation wearable air purifier.

Respiray’s team began working on a high-tech face mask alternative that eliminates the need to cover a face or restrict breathing. Central to this concept was that people could protect themselves while still talking and showing their facial expressions as normal – crucial when communicating and teaching with students.

Picture credit_ Rocca Al Mare school teacher Maris (1)

Bursary boost for female tech students

Women interested in studying computer science have been able to apply for a bursary worth £12,000 – the first of its kind ever offered at Nottingham Trent University.

 

The bursary was set up by leading B2B technology solutions provider Jigsaw24 to create a new opportunity for a female student from a lower-income household. 

 

The company hopes to counter gender imbalances in the IT industry, with recent research highlighting that while 49% of UK workers are female, only 19% of those in technology are women.

 

Running from September 2021, the new scholarship covers Nottingham Trent University’s BSc Computer Science FT/SW, BSc Computer Science (Games Technology) FT/SW, and BSc Software Engineering FT/SW undergraduate courses.

 

The cash bursary provides £3,000 per year over four years of study (including a placement year) and will be funded entirely by Jigsaw24.

 

Roger Whittle, CEO at Nottingham-based Jigsaw24, said: “Women play valuable roles in our company and in technology more widely, yet representation remains low, especially in technical, sales and leadership positions.

 

“The IT industry is for everyone, and people of all backgrounds should have the chance to break into it.

 

“We know that sponsoring a single student is not going to solve the inequalities in our industry, but introducing this unique bursary is a positive step in the right direction.”

Kayleigh Glasper, Head of Philanthropy at Nottingham Trent University, said: “We are delighted to have created this bursary with Jigsaw24, to support a talented female undergraduate studying in the field of computer science. This provides an exciting opportunity and we are very grateful to Jigsaw24 for their generosity.”

 

To be considered for the Jigsaw24 Bursary in Computer Science, those interested needed to be female, a UK applicant for fee-paying purposes, have a household income of less than £25,000 per annum, and have been offered a place to enrol on a relevant Nottingham Trent University course in September 2021. 

 

The investment by Jigsaw24 reflects its unique approach to corporate and social responsibility, by concentrating its investments and empowering employees to carve the firm’s own way and help make a bigger difference.

 

For more information about the Jigsaw24 Bursary in Computer Science, visit the Nottingham Trent University website.

 

For more information about Jigsaw24 or to view the company’s current vacancies, visit Jigsaw24 website or careers page.

 

Schools must not rely on children being vaccinated to curb Covid infections

The ‘theatre’ of technological solutions can provide further reassurance and reminders to staff and pupils to maintain high hygiene levels

 

As the government looks at scrapping the rules around groups of pupils having to self-isolate if a single member of their bubble tests positive for coronavirus, schools must go further to mitigate the risk of infection spread, according to hygiene experts.

 

Jarek Salek, head of engineering and technical operations at Uvisan, said: “While there are ambitions to vaccinate all secondary school-aged children before they return to the classroom in September, schools and other educational establishments should implement further and more stringent hygiene measures, to continue to curb infection risk.

 

“With Covid-related absence from schools at its highest rate since schools reopened in March 2021 and concerns expressed by educational staff around their own wellbeing, it is clear that we are not yet out of the woods, and targeting virus transmissions in schools and universities should be a priority.

 

“On top of the vaccination programme, which continues its roll out to younger members of society, schools and universities must implement visible and frequent disinfection measures to remind staff and pupils to be aware of the continued need for the highest hygiene standards. The ‘theatre’ of technological solutions can provide further reassurance and reminders to staff and pupils to maintain high cleanliness levels at all times.

 

“As well as reintroducing masks in the classroom, schools and universities should be progressing with rigorous disinfection processes, which allow them to continue to use shared equipment and resources, in order to retain the same level and quality of learning. For example, using UV-C disinfection cabinets to decontaminate small, handheld items such as tablets, headphones and VR headsets, provides an efficient means of disinfection, killing 99.9% of bacteria in five minutes, as well as saving teaching staff’s time manually wiping down all surfaces of the shared equipment.

 

“Entire classrooms, halls and bathrooms can be made safer using ambient UV-C lamps or air purification systems which will reduce the spread of Covid, as well as future-proofing facilities from future contagious illness outbreaks.”

 

Uvisan’s UV-C cabinets use medical-grade lamps on a cleaning cycle that kills 99.99% of bacteria in five minutes. UV-C has been scientifically proven to kill bacteria, spores, viruses, protozoans, moulds and yeast, protecting tech users from general illness, as well as coronavirus. The cabinets are currently in use in schools and universities in the UK, with many more organisations planning to incorporate the futuristic technology into their disinfection management plans ahead of the September return to school and university.

 

The UV-C cabinets can store a range of other appliances and equipment, including phones, laptops, tablets, toys and games, VR headsets, peripherals and accessories, plus Uvisan is 100% recyclable, with no waste going to landfill. Cabinets are lockable, meaning valuables can be safely stored inside.

 

For more information, visit www.uvisan.com.