Posts

Micro:bit Educational Foundation partners with Code.org to Bring Power of Physical Computing to Educators Teaching the CS Fundamentals Curriculum  

The two non-profit organisations have joined forces to empower teachers using Code.org with free micro:bit physical computing resources, helping bring code lessons to life   

 

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation, the education non-profit on a mission to inspire all children to achieve their best digital future, today announces a partnership with Code.org, a US-based education innovation non-profit, to offer teachers computing resources to complement use of the handheld micro:bit physical computing device as an extension to the Code.org CS Fundamentals curriculum.   

 

With over 70 million students and two million teachers subscribed to Code.org, this partnership will expand the reach of micro:bit’s physical computing resources to students around the world, helping both organisations achieve their shared goal of improving digital literacy and delivering richer teacher materials and tailored support to empower computer science educators in schools.   

 

Elementary school students using Code.org curriculum will now have access to new lessons which will show them how to bring code to life with a partner handheld computing device, the BBC micro:bit. Bringing a physical element to computing education is proven to greatly enhance how children – especially girls - learn how to program. Using the micro:bit helps make connections between the code entered on screen to real life, improving motivation to learn and building confidence with tech as their conceptual understanding grows.   

 

Micro:bit Educational Foundation works closely with schools, educators and some of the world’s biggest tech companies like Arm and Microsoft to help implement computing education at a young age and improve diversity in computer science. Its micro:bit programmable device is already used in over a third of UK schools and there are over 7 million in use internationally, supporting both block-based beginner coding and more advanced text-based skills.   

“Physical computing is a great way to engage students in computer science, and I’m excited that Code.org is expanding its offerings in this maker education space. We’re delighted to partner with to provide physical computing extensions to our existing courses, says Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi of the partnership.  

 

Growing a diverse pipeline of tech talent who contribute to the creation of better technology in the world begins in the classroom. We are invested in excellence in computer science education for younger students and are excited by the size of the impact we can create together with Code.org to bring the benefits of physical computing to young learners.Commented Gareth Stockdale, CEO at the Micro:bit Educational Foundation.  

 

Interested educators can learn more about the Micro:bit Educational Foundation and Code.org on their respective websites. The new micro:bit physical computing resources for CS Fundamentals are now live.  

 

 

About Micro:bit Educational Foundation   

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation founded in the UK in 2016, with the aim of inspiring every child to create their best digital future.  

 

We do this by:  

  • Developing hardware and software that inspires young people to get excited about technology and the opportunities it presents for them  
  • Creating free, user-friendly educational resources to support teachers in delivering engaging and creative lessons  
  • Working with like-minded partners to deliver high-impact educational programmes across the globe.  

 

 

About Code.org  

 

Code.org® is an education innovation nonprofit dedicated to the vision that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science as part of their core K-12 education.  

 

The leading provider of K-12 computer science curriculum in the largest school districts in the United States, Code.org also organizes the annual Hour of Code campaign, which has engaged more than 15% of all students in the world.  

Education strikes: concerns grow for skills availability

Following the news that teachers will go on strike in February and March, Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), comments:

 

“The general unrest we’ve seen spread across the public sector meant that this news wasn’t a surprise for many. While there will, of course, be concerns around the impact strikes will have on pupils across the country, the more pressing issue is the skills shortages that the sector has been facing.

 

“The education sector has struggled with resources for some time and the pandemic only exacerbated the issues. Professionals have faced mental health difficulties and burnout since Covid-19, juggling already significant workloads alongside the move to virtual teaching. Issues around supply teachers have only added to the problems the sector is contending with. Staff illnesses – which have become a more prevalent challenge in the post-Covid era- have put further pressures on temporary resources which were already in short supply across the education arena. This has led to an increase in staffing costs at a time when schools can ill-afford the additional expense.

 

“There needs to be a fundamental rethink around how the education sector’s staffing challenges are addressed, including more sustainable and cost-effective access to supply teachers which will only help improve the financial situation across the sector and, in turn, help solve some of the salary concerns that the TUC has raised.

 

“On a longer-term basis, though, the education arena needs a well-overdue boost of talent to help remove the work burden that is driving so many professionals to not only strike, but also exit the sector altogether.”

 

Amazon launches the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge to help young people bridge the skills gap, as research shows demand for jobs that require computer science, AI or machine learning skills are expected to increase by 40% over the next five years

 


Amori, Hannah, Maya, Deborah and Erika,l all in Year 8, from Prendergast Ladywell School pictured at Amazon’s Jobs Fair of the Future event, marking the launch of the ‘Alexa Young Innovator Challenge’, an AI-inspired educational programme for secondary school pupils, at their offices in London. New research reveals that computer science and AI related roles could contribute £71 billion a year to the UK economy. Photo credit: Matt Crossick/PA Wire.

 

London, 8 November 2022 – Amazon has launched the inaugural Alexa Young Innovator Challenge, an educational programme for secondary school students aged 13 – 18 to create an Alexa Skill to promote social good in their community. Designed to inspire young people about the potential of AI, teachers and educators will be able to access free curriculum-linked lesson plans and materials to engage students, while supporting the development of AI learning in UK classrooms. By taking part, schools will have the chance to win prizes, including £2,500 worth of tech products for the winner and a £2,500 donation to their school. The 20 runners up will also receive an Amazon gift card to the value of £250, redeemable on Amazon.co.uk and £500 will be donated to their school.

 

New research – commissioned by Amazon from YouGov – found that currently, 79% of STEM teachers have limited access to AI resources and 64% to computer science resources in general, highlighting the real difficulties schools face when trying to engage students in this vital field. Of the 72% of secondary school teachers surveyed who agree that schools should be making an active effort to increase education and resources around AI and computer science, three quarters (75%) say that without this, there will be long-term skill gaps.

 

YouGov’s research showed strong support for boosting AI learning in UK schools among secondary school teachers, students and parents, with 65% of secondary school teachers agreeing that AI should be part of their school’s syllabus, and 87% of the UK STEM teachers surveyed believing access to free AI and computer science learning resources linked with the national curriculum would help students better engage in computer science. 69% of all secondary school teachers believe that education in computer science better prepares students for future careers in all sectors.

 

By taking part in the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge, students will be able to explore the possibilities of using AI to help solve societal issues ranging from climate change and healthcare, to poverty and homelessness. Winners will be selected in two age categories, together with 20 runners-up, by judges including Technology Director at Amazon and UK Ambassador for Amazon Future Engineer, Lauren Kisser; YouTuber and computing graduate Tobi Brown, who is a member of The Sidemen; TV presenter and STEM education advocate, Carol Vorderman MBE; computer scientist and entrepreneur Professor Sue Black; and maths and computing prodigy, and Stemettes founder, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon.

 

Chris Hillidge, Director of STEM at The Challenge Academy Trust said: “This competition is an amazing opportunity for students to engage with coding in a real-world context and use ‘tech for good’. Coding in a real world context is a valuable learning opportunity for young people and the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge gives young people to influence the world around them in a positive way.”

 

AI is ‘science fiction’ to one in three secondary school children

 

Teaching AI in secondary schools will also help the almost half (46%) of secondary school children surveyed who said they would like to know more about careers using computer science and AI. One third (33%) of secondary school children surveyed said they have only heard of AI in science fiction movies and literature.

 

To help remedy this, Amazon is also offering virtual Class Chats with schools across the UK, where Amazon leaders and current apprentices will share insights from their education, career journey, and discuss the future potential of AI with teachers and students. This comes as research reveals that 82% of secondary school teachers believe their students would be more interested in AI and computer science if they had the opportunity to speak to industry leaders in these sectors.

 

Youtuber Tobi Brown and Amazon’s Lauren Kisser pictured with students from Prendergast Ladywell School at Amazon’s Jobs Fair of the Future event, marking the launch of the ‘Alexa Young Innovator Challenge’, an AI-inspired educational programme for secondary school pupils, at their offices in London. New research reveals that computer science and AI related roles could contribute £71 billion a year to the UK economy. Image courtesy of Matt Crossick/PA Wire.

 

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon said of her involvement:Supporting women in accessing resources and information to help them consider careers in STEM has always been my number one priority. The tech revolution never stops and we know that AI is going to be a vital part of the future of the industry so it’s great to see an initiative like the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge identifying this and looking to help inspire the kids of today, who will be our future scientists and technologists. I am passionate about the role of creativity and imagination in technology and development, and I think showing kids what tomorrow’s world of work could look like does exactly this.”

 

The launch of the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge reinforces Amazon’s commitment to support the education and skills development of learners from all backgrounds. It forms part of Amazon Future Engineer – Amazon’s comprehensive childhood-to-career programme that inspires, educates and enables children and young adults to realise their potential in computer science through bursary schemes, teacher training, and online tutorials. Since launching in 2019, Amazon Future Engineer has reached over 280,000 students across the UK.

 

AI is the world’s fastest growing technology[i] and the UK is striving to be among the world’s leaders in this field, with 56% of businesses planning to increase investment in AI technologies within the next three years,[ii]” said Lauren Kisser, Technology Director at Amazon and UK Ambassador for Amazon Future Engineer. “Through the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge, we hope to not only build confidence in students’ ability to understand and control this incredible technology but also inspire young minds, regardless of their background, to realise their potential as creators, thinkers and builders of the future; using AI to create innovative solutions to real world problems.”

 

For further information about the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge visit https://www.amazonfutureengineer.co.uk/ayic

 

[i] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-ten-year-plan-to-make-britain-a-global-ai-superpower

[ii] Amazon Future Engineer, September 2022, Capital Economics

 

Capital Economics methodology
This research has been commissioned by Amazon from Capital Economics, an independent macroeconomics research consultancy. The views expressed remain those of Capital Economics and are not necessarily shared by Amazon. While every effort has been made to ensure that the data quoted and used for the research behind this document is reliable, there is no guarantee that it is correct, and Capital Economics Limited and its subsidiaries can accept no liability whatsoever in respect of any errors or omissions. This document is a piece of economic research and is not intended to constitute investment advice, nor to solicit dealing in securities or investments.

 

Based on official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Capital Economics has used a broad definition of ‘computer science related’ jobs to estimate the number of computer science related jobs in the UK economy and their contribution to economic output. A range of data and projections on demographics, the labour market, economic growth and adoption of technology have been used to generate estimates of future demand for computer science roles.

 

YouGov parents, secondary school teachers and secondary school pupils survey

All UK parent, UK secondary school teachers and UK secondary school pupils figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2031 teachers (1,792 secondary school teachers and 239 headteachers), 1,079 teenagers aged 13-18, and 1,002 parents of children aged 18 and under. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd – 21st September 2022.  The survey was carried out online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Remembrance Day 2022 with diverse voices from the British Army

London, 25 October 2022: Ahead of this year’s Remembrance Day celebrations on 11 November, the British Army has developed new, free resources that introduce students to the ways different groups commemorate Remembrance, highlighting diverse voices and experiences. The resources have been designed to encourage students to further explore the vital, unsung role of women as well as members of the LGBTQ+, Sikh and black communities. 

The resources have been created for students aged 11-16 across all four nations. They present schools with a fresh and engaging approach to Remembrance Day. Students will learn what Remembrance is, why we come together to commemorate it and the diverse ways that we commemorate Remembrance. Individuals will also develop key skills and knowledge on the topics of similarities and differences. 

This year’s resources have been designed to encourage students to think about the parades and memorials they will have seen – perhaps a theatre production too. The cenotaph is traditionally associated with Remembrance Day, but students will be encouraged to find out more about The Women of World War II Memorial. It remembers the seven million women who served, either in the armed forces or on the Home Front. And at the Imperial War Museum, visitors can see the Memorial to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities who lost their lives to conflicts in the name of Britain’s Empire and Commonwealth. 

Students will be asked to think about the different varieties of poppies that are worn to mark Remembrance and their individual significance. Did you know that the Khadi poppy honours the contribution of Indian soldiers to Britain during World War I? And did you know that the purple poppy commemorates the animals that have been victims of war? 

Students can further explore subjects touched upon in the Remembrance resources. They will learn about the remarkable contribution of diverse voices standing shoulder to shoulder with Army personnel past and present, including women and members of the black and LGBTQ+ communities. It also includes a Sikh Service pack produced in association with the Defense Network and historian, Gurinder Singh Mann. It allows students to understand the varied contributions of Sikh soldiers throughout the history of the British Army. 

Julian James, a design technology teacher in Wales, said: “For too long, assemblies celebrating Remembrance Day have always followed the same outdated format. To mark this year’s poignant event, the British Army is providing schools with a fresh approach to presenting such important, historical information. Its resources feature music, thought-provoking images and stimulate questioning. The Army’s lesson resources are undoubtedly a new way of keeping the tradition of Remembrance Day going, while deepening students’ knowledge of its meaning and relevance to their lives.” 

Major Jennifer Close added: “Remembrance isn’t just about why we remember and who we remember, it’s also about how we remember. Through our work with schools across the UK, we have revisited just what Remembrance Day means to students. We have worked with teachers and Army personnel to create resources that will spark discussion in the classroom – and beyond. The events around the world are a constant reminder that Remembrance plays a part in all our lives.  We hope that in the run-up to Remembrance Day, our resources will help students shine a new light on their past and their future.” 

Kooth partners with GLUU to help support the mental health of whole school communities

 

Kooth has partnered with GLUU to provide schools with askOLA, the online tutoring and support platform, with invaluable digital mental health support. 

 

Kooth will ensure students aged 10+, all teachers, teaching support staff and on-site staff have a safe, confidential and welcoming place to seek non-judgemental mental health support. The collaboration is the first of its kind, enabling education establishments to purchase online learning resources and wellbeing together in one accessible and flexible package. 

 

askOLA is a responsive, online tutoring and support platform that provides homework help, writing feedback, and study support on-demand, during and beyond school hours. It selected Kooth for its holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing, and its ability to look after the whole school community.

 

Kooth’s innovative digital mental health and wellbeing platform has been designed to offer choice and encourage users to engage and seek help on their own terms. As such, it offers access to a variety of support options including online counselling and wellbeing, via its Kooth.com (aged 10+) and Qwell.io (aged 18+) services 

 

Services are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week – this includes one-to-one text based sessions with experienced counsellors and wellbeing practitioners. Running from midday to 10pm on weekdays and from 6pm to 10pm on the weekend, appointments can be booked in advance or accessed via a drop-in text-based chat. They are available without waiting lists or thresholds to meet, and a referral from a medical professional is not needed. In addition, Kooth provides an easily accessible, fully safeguarded and pre-moderated community with a library of peer and professional created content.  

 

It doesn’t end there, Kooth’s Flourish Mental Health Check runs alongside the award-winning anonymous digital mental health platform. A benchmark tool, unlike others, the Flourish Mental Health Check is based on the ‘whole self’. As such it recognises that home life and past experiences play an important part in people’s wellbeing at work. 

 

The anonymous insights are garnered from the teachers, teaching support staff and on-site staff only, not the students. The Kooth Work Flourish Mental Health Check will help the schools signed up to the askOLA platform to identify priority issues when it comes to the mental health and wellbeing of all those working at the school – both teaching and support roles.

 

This will help them to invest in the right initiatives, as well as developing and implementing new policies, practices and support programmes, that meet the needs of the school as an employer. This will aid in the creation of a mentally healthy workplace where everyone can flourish and no one is left behind. 

 

Dr Lynne Green, Chief Clinical Office at Kooth, commented: 

 

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with GLUU and its askOLA platform to help ensure that anonymous, safe and accessible positive mental health and emotional wellbeing is available to whole school communities. Now more than ever, it’s important to ensure that both students, teachers and the onsite support teams have a choice of safe and confidential options that match with their individual needs, as well as being accessible in a way they feel comfortable with. Digital mental health services such as Kooth do that, and can help to reduce the stigma often associated with mental health.  However big or small a student or teacher believes a mental health concern or issue is, Kooth Work is onhand to help them, when and where needed.”

 

Christine Major, CEO at GLUU explained:

 

“askOLA was developed to add capacity to schools to reduce teacher workload and support the wellbeing and attainment of the whole school community. Teachers need more time to help pupils to thrive, and askOLA gives them another pair of hands by helping to support learning and wellbeing in and outside of the classroom. It means that students can access subject-specialist coaches on-demand to help overcome issues with their learning, or they can be connected to Kooth for support with their mental health. We also provide all school staff with access to mental health support through Qwell.

 

She added: “Partnering with Kooth was a logical choice as our values are closely aligned, as like us they believe that mental health support should be accessible to everyone”

 

Kooth is the only digital mental health provider to hold a UK-wide accreditation from the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). It is available to school’s with the askOLA platform immediately, once registered, they can access support via any internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet. 

 

School support staff face violent attacks from pupils, with some receiving death threats, new research finds

Teaching assistants have reported being kicked, punched and spat at by pupils in mainstream primary and secondary schools, new research by the University of Roehampton released on Monday 17th October finds. 

 

The analysis is the first to look at the violence and aggression faced by teaching and classroom assistants in England, Scotland and Wales. Extensive data already exists into pupil-on-pupil violence and aggression towards teachers and senior managers. 

 

University of Roehampton criminologist Dr Amanda Holt led the qualitative research that involved in-depth interviews with 16 teaching and classroom assistants. 

 

All described being the target of student aggression in a range of ways, including being hit in the face, punched, kicked and bitten. Researchers found that in several cases staff reported receiving death threats from pupils.  

 

Physical injuries included cuts, a black eye, a dislocated thumb, a broken finger and ripped ligaments. Staff also reported a range of psychological problems, including stress, anxiety and depression. Two workers were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

The report also noted that the response of schools to attacks was sometimes inadequate. Teaching assistants felt the message from their employers was that it was their job to manage pupil violence. This, combined with their low status, normalised violence against them.

 

The report includes guidance on the steps schools should take to better protect teaching assistants in future. UNISON helped recruit the support staff who took part in the research and is rolling out the new advice on dealing with violent behaviour. 

 

Lead University of Roehampton academic, Dr Amanda Holt said: “For the first time there’s an understanding of the ferocity of attacks on teaching assistants and their devastating physical and mental toll. 

 

“This knowledge will help schools better understand and improve their response to violent behaviour by pupils. Setting out the steps every school should take to protect staff and support them in the aftermath of an attack is an important first step. 

 

“The shocking experiences described by staff who took part in the research reflect a much wider problem highlighted in an earlier survey by UNISON. This found that 53% of teaching assistants had experienced physical violence from students in the previous year*. 

 

“This raises big questions about the expectation of schools, and in some cases insistence, that teaching assistants should be the first line of defence against pupils who display violent or aggressive behaviour.

 

“With the profession dominated by women, forcing them to become classroom enforcers could do long-term harm. This, combined with the role’s lack of professional status, risks creating an environment where violence becomes normal, particularly towards women. As pupils become adults this worrying development could have serious ramifications for society.” 

 

UNISON head of education Mike Short said: “Teaching assistants are the backbone of every school, but their wholly unjustified, low professional status is stopping some schools from seeing their true value and vulnerability. 

 

“Schools seem to have forgotten that without teaching assistants risking their health, and that of their families, during the pandemic, schools would have been closed to vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers. 

 

“Improving the reporting process around attacks, providing staff with medical and psychological support and ensuring they don’t have to continue working with the young person who’s just assaulted them must be adopted as a matter of urgency. This would also be helpful to pupils given the stress and disruption to learning that violent behaviour can cause. 

 

“Low pay and high stress are already fuelling an exodus of teaching assistants. Expecting them to put up with attacks and assaults will force more out of the door, and that’s bad for pupils and schools alike.”  

 

SPORT ENGLAND PROGRAMME FINDINGS REVEAL HOW TO CREATE AN INCLUSIVE PE ENVIRONMENT FOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS

 

Sport England, in association with Sheffield Hallam University, Youth Sport Trust, Activity Alliance and Association for Physical Education, has shared key insights taken from its Secondary Teacher Training (STT) programme. The research explores how secondary schools can adopt inclusive practices and incorporate student voice to provide a better PE, school sport and physical activity (PESSPA) environment for students.  

Inclusivity, increased participation and student voice were the dominating topics brought to life through pupil-focused research. It found that giving young people, especially those who are less active, the chance to shape their PE lessons created a happier environment. How getting to know and understand students’ motivations and barriers can help encourage enjoyment and engagement, and that the least active students don’t recognise opportunities to be active at school, as easily as their active peers.  

To showcase the findings, Sport England has created five infographics detailing key outputs from the STT programme to be shared far and wide across the teaching community. Teachers can find tips which answer questions about why PE matters and why PE makes a happy school, as well as insight on how to make PE great and accessible for all students.  

In addition, Sport England has also developed 10 short films which feature case studies of teachers and students positively impacted by the programme. The films highlight the easy-to-adopt ways secondary school teachers have implemented new approaches having completed the STT programme. The films focus on themes such as why an inclusive approach is key to increasing participation, why a changing approach to PE makes students think differently, and easy ways to incorporate student voice. 

The research also talks about the importance of activity in schools, with a view to the benefits it has on the mental health of young people. According to Sport England: 

  • More active students report an average happiness score of seven out of 10 (compared to just five out of 10 for less active students).  
  • Almost three-quarters of students (69 per cent) agreed that being active helps them build resilience.  
  • More than half (62 per cent) agreed that it helps them make healthier life choices.  
  • More than half (59 per cent) said it improves their mental wellbeing. 
  • Nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) said it improves their mood. 
  •  

The STT programme was created in 2018 to support secondary schools with access to professional development opportunities that support teachers in placing pupils’ enjoyment at the heart of PESSPA participation. The research was conducted throughout the £13.5 million Lottery Funded programme that impacted more than 2,500 secondary schools across England.  

To view the full suite of infographics and videos that can help secondary teachers to make PESSPA a more inclusive and enjoyable experience with top tips for their students, head to https://bit.ly/3fUZEeO 

What Every Teacher Needs To Know – Jade Pearce

 

What Every Teacher Needs to Know is a must-have guide for both primary and secondary teachers that summarises key research papers, offers evidence-informed teaching and learning strategies, and explains how to disseminate this information across departments and schools.

There is a growing thirst for evidence-informed teaching in the UK and beyond, in order to help ensure that schools have the biggest impact on student learning. In a concise, accessible manner, this book distils key educational research into clear, precise guidance that can be used immediately. It is ideal for any busy teacher or school leader looking to transform student outcomes through a research-informed approach.

What Every Teacher Needs to Know is essential reading for research leads, heads of department, and teaching and learning leads. It offers:

– summaries of 20 prominent research papers on effective teaching and learning
– key takeaways for classroom practice
– evidence-informed teaching and learning strategies
– examples across a variety of phases and subjects
– insightful case studies from practising teachers 

READ AN EXTRACT

‘What Every Teacher Needs to Know is a stunning book, oozing rich research, that will provide you with the knowledge to support your teaching and leadership. Highly recommended!’

Michael Chiles, Assistant Principal and author of The Feedback Pendulum, @m_chiles

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Jade Pearce is an assistant headteacher for teaching and learning in a secondary school in Staffordshire. She is an evidence lead in education for the Research Schools Network and a member of the EEF ‘Expert Voices Group’. She is also a member of the ‘Raising the Attainment of Disadvantaged Youngsters’ (RADY) group. Jade participates in conferences and discussions on podcasts and has featured in case studies in numerous publications, including Michael Chiles’s book The Feedback Pendulum. As an Evidence Lead in Education (ELE) for Staffordshire Research School. She regularly writes articles for the journal of the Economics, Business and Enterprise Association. Follow Jade on Twitter @PearceMrs

 

 

Discovery Education Announces Latest Enhancements to Award-Winning Discovery Education Espresso Service

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022— Discovery Education—the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place—today announced a host of new enhancements to its award-winning Espresso service. These improvements make it easier for educators to find, build and deliver compelling lessons that capture pupils’ attention and drive deeper engagement no matter the subject. 

 

Among the latest enhancements made to Discovery Education Espresso for back-to-school are: 

 

More ready-to-use tools to assess pupil outcomes and address learning gaps.

 

Educators can refine instruction to keep pupils motivated with the classroom engagement tool, Quiz. Quiz gives multiple ways to promote active learning in the classroom and track progress in real time. 


Real-time tracking of pupil progress with My Classrooms, an intuitive new way to navigate between tracking pupil progress and assignments. The redesigned interface will help teachers better understand where pupils are and how to differentiate learning to meet their unique needs. 

 

A new time-saving educator experience enhances the use of high-quality instructional resources.

Discovery Education understands that one of a teacher’s most valuable resources is time. Espresso’s search features have been more finely tuned to help educators find just the right piece of digital content they need to capitalise on the teachable moment.  

 

A brand-new Explore page empowers educators to easily browse Espresso’s unique treasury of digital resources by subject, then offers suggestions based on their grade levels and topics of interest. 

 

Enhanced ability to easily adapt ready-to-go lessons and activities.

 

Studio—Discovery Education’s creative lesson-building and presentation tool included with Espresso—empowers educators to quickly modify a ready-to-use activity, create a lesson from a template using proven education strategies, or construct a new digital lesson from scratch. 

 

In addition to improving the overall workflows of Studio, educators are now able to:

  • Quickly preview Studio lessons or activities from the pupil perspective.
  • Use images as buttons for pupil navigation through activities.      
  • Enliven lessons with fun fonts and animated buttons. 

 

A new pupil interface builds agency, inspires learning and promotes time on task.

Discovery Education has updated Espresso’s pupil interface with a refreshing new look and improved overall experience that builds pupil agency, encourages learning and promotes time on task. New features of the improved pupil interface include:

 

  • Personalisation options for pupils to customise the look and feel of their home page. 
  • A refreshed Assignments section that makes it easier for pupils to prioritise, launch and complete assignments. 
  • A brand-new Explore page that offers pupils the opportunity to follow their interests, with content recommendations based on searches, and what is timely, relevant, and new at Discovery Education.

These updates to the Discovery Education Espresso service build upon the high-quality curriculum content that educators across the UK have been using in their classrooms for more than twenty years, ensuring that the Espresso service continues to evolve to meet the needs of today’s classrooms. 

“Continuous improvement is one of Discovery Education’s core values,” said Discovery Education’s Managing Director, UK and International, Howard Lewis. “The newest updates and features added to  Espresso support educators’ efforts to engage and inspire pupil learning wherever and whenever it is taking place. By providing teachers access to timely, relevant content and useful teaching tools all in one place, Discovery Education is making it even easier for teachers to find or create the engaging lessons we know will stoke the natural curiosity in all learners.”

 

For more information about Discovery Education’s award-winning digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter and LinkedIn

 

BRIGHTON SCHOOL LEADS THE FUTURE OF MOTION CAPTURE

Technology suite enables next generation of visual effects artists


A Brighton school is leading the UK with the most sophisticated Motion Capture suite of educational facilities in the country. The Institute for Contemporary Theatre (ICTheatre) is one of the UK’s most advanced educational institutions for theatre, film and the arts. The newly installed motion capture suite allows students to create realistic holograms of performers.

 

Motion Capture has received global acclaim with the launch of ABBA Voyage. Abba performed in motion capture suits for five weeks and used more than 160 cameras that scanned their movements and their facial expressions. The motion capture technology works by creating reference points on the body which can then be used by visual effects artists to create avatars.

 

ICTheatre runs regular Motion Capture workshops for students at its campus in Portslade.

 

ICTheatre Patron Julian Stoneman managed/produced Billy Elliot, Rock of Ages and has won Laurence Olivier, Tony and WhatsOnStage Awards. He was also instrumental in bringing ABBA’s Mamma Mia the musical to the stage. He said; “It is more important than ever to be future forward and equip young people to work in the broad business of theatre and film. With an emphasis on the film industry, ICTheatre’s Motion Capture Suite is a powerful resource in creating the next generation of visual effects artists who are going to pioneer Motion Capture in the future. We are at the start of an incredibly exciting time with this technology which is going to revolutionise some elements of live performance and expand the possibilities of what we have imagined before.”

Mia Bird, Founder and Creative Director of ICTheatre said; “Our students start to work in front of the camera from week one, they spend time learning in our Motion Capture Suite, they engage with a range of vocal and physical styles, they have voice-over classes, work on their own podcasts, do applied and immersive theatre. All this is not offered at the expense of rigorous training, they still have a thorough training in the core elements, however we need to make sure that our students graduate with skills that will find them employment. We run regular workshops and taster sessions so that young people can come in and experiment with motion capture and get a unique insight into how it works.”

 

ICTheatre empowers people who want to work in the vast world of theatre & film. Throughout her years of being a performing arts training specialist, Mia Bird observed that gifted graduates were ill equipped with life and mental resilience skills needed to find their own way to build a fulfilling career in the industry and that sufficient industry connections had not been made throughout their training.

 

Through regular industry advisory panels with leading experts, ICTheatre (previously known as BRICTT) is built on excellent traditions of training but its courses are developed to stimulate fresh skills that speak to the industry as it is today. Created by the industry for the industry, ICTheatre equips students with entrepreneurial skills, mental resilience strategies, and the confidence to value what they have to offer and to promote themselves. Industry professionals regularly lead classes. Recent examples include Franny Rafferty and Ed Burnside, Associate Directors of SIX and MATILDA, who directed the BA3 musicals for our recent graduates.

 

For more information, please contact Helen Trevorrow or Vicky Hague on 0794 000 9138 or email helen@greenrow.co.uk

 

  • Ends –