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Kinteract is ‘music to the ears’ for Music in Secondary Schools Trust

 

Edtech platform provides learning continuity to musical programme of excellence

 

Founded in 2013, the Music in Secondary Schools Trust (MiSST) provides funding for classical instruments for secondary schools with a disadvantaged or challenging student intake. The Key Stage 3 curriculum, known as the Andrew Lloyd Webber programme, gives schools the resources needed to produce high level, imaginative performers, composers and critical thinkers for GCSE, A-Level and beyond. With the aim of transforming educational and societal outcomes through the provision of classical music and expert tuition, the trust provides opportunities for children and young adults from all backgrounds to showcase their talents and be part of a programme of excellence that is unrivalled in the UK.

Out of tune technology

Supporting over 6,000 students, MiSST found that using a digital platform to share resources would benefit the learning experience, improve collaboration between pupils and teachers and reduce manual workload. For example, when a student is asked to practice playing a musical instrument, they should be able to access sufficient guidance or the supporting resources to learn outside of the classroom.

Yet, the edtech software it was previously relying upon did not meet these expectations. The common challenge was that the software was complicated to use and out of sync with the requirements of the music curriculum. Secondary school children found it difficult to navigate and struggled to find the specific supporting materials.

With the impacts of the Covid-19 forcing schools to turn to remote learning, the trust needed to find a user-friendly platform that would not only be easy to implement but would also accommodate their immediate needs to provide continuity to schooling. This included the functionality for uploading bespoke resources to be shared with pupils and music departments as well as access to single point of contact to help with any enquires. In the long term, MiSST also required a solution that could grow with the trust over time, offering additional features that could allow more opportunities for children to flourish while improving efficiencies for teachers.

Hitting the right notes

After searching the EdTech market for a solution, MiSST found that Kinteract’s cloud-based intuitive teaching and learning platform would compliment its approach to education, influencing their decision to implement the software across its partnered schools in the height of the pandemic. Due to lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures, the Kinteract team delivered several online training sessions with heads of departments within each school to ensure staff had the confidence to use the product.

With 20 schools subscribing to different virtual learning environments, the trust experienced benefits from the ‘get go’ as Kinteract gave them the opportunity to have a centralised place for all MiSST resources. Applications such as Google Drive were synchronised within the platform, enabling immediate access to learning materials. This, coupled with the ability to upload and share files to the content library has not only saved valuable time and driven efficiencies for both teachers and students, but it has also meant the learning journey for a pupil is uninterrupted; giving them the materials to practice and study in a home or school environment.

Opting for a phased strategic implementation of Kinteract to ensure users are familiar with the software, MiSST will be adopting its other features gradually. The functionalities of the platform go beyond typical edtech and offer a more holistic view of a student’s development. In addition to integrating third party communication tools, it can capture a child’s achievements, milestones, strengths, and competencies; allowing music teachers to set tasks and monitor progression aligned with a pupil’s skill level. Take for example a pupil learning the Saxophone. A teacher may ask them to learn a particular song or work towards the next grading level and set them a program to follow. The pupil could video themselves playing the instrument and upload it to the platform, providing evidence for the teacher to observe and assess.

 

Rachel Landon, CEO at MiSST said: “Kinteract has provided us with an impressive solution to the challenges we were previously experiencing with our content library. Pupils and teachers now have easy access to the material they need at the touch of a button – something that has proven invaluable during the pandemic. Going forwards, we’re excited to use the platform to evidence the students’ hard work, share progress with parents, and bring together the music community’.

Living Streets launches new tool to help children stay active at home


Living Streets launches new tool to help children stay active at home

Immediate release

Living Streets, the UK charity which runs the biggest walk to school project in the country, has today (25 January 2021) launched the new WOW Activity Tracker to help children stay active while schools remain closed to most pupils.

The Tracker allows children to log their daily physical activity, whether that’s a walk with family or skipping at home.
Children who meet the level of activity set by their school will be given a monthly badge award.

The WOW Activity Tracker is based on the charity’s award-winning WOW Travel Tracker, which monitors how pupils travel to school, prompts behaviour change and rewards those who walk, cycle or scoot.

The WOW Activity Tracker is available to primary children at the 2,000 schools taking part in WOW, Living Streets’ year-round walk to school challenge.  Pupils who are still attending school can use the WOW Activity Tracker in the classroom.  

Sport England data released this month showed a 22% increase in the number of children going for a walk last summer. Living Streets has launched the WOW Activity Tracker to encourage children and families to keep walking.

Mary Creagh, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:

“With schools, leisure centres and swimming pools closed, walking is vital to helping keep children mentally and physically well during lockdown. 

“Walking is simple, cheap and free to all. Many of us have rediscovered the joys of walking throughout the pandemic. We hope the WOW Activity Tracker will inspire children to keep walking during lockdown – and beyond.”
 
Notes to editor:

Contact: Kathryn Shaw, Media and Communications Manager, Living Streets / Kathryn.shaw@livingstreets.org.uk / 07545 209865

·     WOW badges are made in the UK from recycled yoghurt pot material. See our recycling pledge;  

·     When running WOW, schools see an average 23 per cent increase in pupils walking to school and a 30 per cent drop in cars driving all the way to the school – reducing congestion outside the school gates, increasing safety and helping in the fight against air pollution;  

·     With WOW, pupils log their daily journeys to school each day on the WOW Travel Tracker tool. Those who walk to school at least once a week for a month earn a WOW badge, with 11 to collect across the academic year.

·     Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, has been running its walk to school campaign for over 20 years and currently runs WOW in schools across England, Scotland and Wales.

We are Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking.

We want to create a nation where walking is the natural choice for everyday, local journeys;  free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illnesses and social isolation. We want to achieve a better walking environment and to inspire people of all generations to enjoy the benefits the simple act of walking brings.

For over 90 years we’ve been a beacon for walking. In our early days our campaigning led to the UK’s first zebra crossings and speed limits. Now our campaigns and local projects deliver real change to overcome barriers to walking and our groundbreaking initiatives such as the world’s biggest Walk to School campaign encourage millions of people to walk.

 

Between May – July 2020, 22% more children walked for leisure. Children’s activity levels down but many embrace new opportunities | Sport England

A Royal Question for a British Astronaut

The National Space Centre, home to the National Space Academy, yesterday welcomed Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex to meet with a small number of students and staff as they begin a very exciting educational year.

The Countess of Wessex joined British astronaut Helen Sharman at the National Space Centre as part of World Space Week to meet a small number of students from the National Space Academy Space Engineering course, which this year has seen a significant growth in applications, leading to a second student group being added for the first time.

The visit included a live Q&A session with Helen, that was transmitted (via space satellites) to a worldwide audience online.

Questions were kicked off by Her Royal Highness, who asked about inspiring the next generation of children.

The National Space Academy

In 2012 the National Space Academy established the UK’s first full-time post-16 course for students in Space Engineering. It is the only course of its kind, unique both in its subject matter and in its combination of BTEC qualifications with traditional A Levels.

More than 80% of its students, the majority having no family history of progression into Higher Education, have gone on to study degree-level University courses in physics or engineering or Higher Apprenticeship programmes with some of Europe’s leading aerospace and engineering companies including Airbus and Rolls Royce.

Several students who have finished their undergraduate and MSc courses have been awarded first-class degrees.

With the success of the course and significant career opportunities within a thriving UK space industry, this year there will be two cohorts of Space Engineering students to meet demand for places.

The Academy is part funded by the National Space Centre, the UK Space Agency and the Lloyds Register Foundation, with additional support from The Ogden Trust and PPG.