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UK Parliament Education Centre awarded the Sandford Award for Heritage Education 2021

UK Parliament’s Education Centre has been awarded the Sandford Award for Heritage Education, as it prepares to welcome school groups back this autumn.

 

Opened in 2015, the Education Centre provides students with a unique learning experience, with each visit including a tour of the Palace of Westminster – a World Heritage Site. Sessions are fun and interactive and directly integrated with the UK’s four curriculums, tailored to the age and attainment of different age groups.

 

The Sandford Award celebrates and promotes high quality in heritage education, with more than 500 heritage sites across the UK and Ireland receiving the prestigious quality mark. The Awards focus on formal, curriculum-linked learning provision, although recognition is also made of informal learning such as family programmes and community outreach.

 

In awarding the prize, judges for the Sandford Award said:

‘The Parliament Education Centre leads pupils to knowledge of law making and democracy in the United Kingdom and their own place within it, through National curriculum related topics. Either using impressive trips around the magnificent parliamentary site with backup workshops or through detailed and stimulating online sessions, the skilled and professional education team engage with pupils of all ages and key stages. Talking to their own MP or investigating and debating such topics as the suffragettes, pupils learn to question and become involved. The programmes are a must for all young people who live in this country’.

 

This all comes as the Education Centre prepares to re-open its doors to schools from September. Due to unprecedented demand, bookings for the autumn term are now full, however schools are being encouraged to sign up to Parliament’s Education newsletter to hear about spring bookings.

 

School visits will be in line with current government guidelines to ensure the safety of all visitors. Online workshops will also continue to be delivered and can be booked via this link.

 

Amy Baxter, UK Parliament’s Head of Education and Engagement said:

‘I am delighted that the Education Centre has been awarded the Sandford Award for Heritage Education. This is a true testament to the hard work of the Education and Engagement team who have ensured that throughout the pandemic, sessions continued and we could deliver our dynamic programming to thousands of school children. We are looking forward to welcoming school groups back to Parliament and ensuring that young people from around the country get the unique experience of visiting the heart of British politics and learning more about our democracy.

 

Educational Facilities Optimised for Student Wellbeing, Performance and Sustainability

The concept of Smart buildings is being driven by a need for buildings to reduce carbon, reduce costs, and improve occupants’ environment, therefore allowing them to be more productive, prioritising their health and wellbeing. amBX have written a whitepaper on Smart buildings, and how we can expect to see more of them in the future, as our SmartCore technology enables smart buildings with an interoperable control platform. One of the key features is smart lighting control and monitoring, in particular circadian lighting/human-centric lighting.

 

Research published by Vodafone shows that currently, in the UK and EU, buildings are responsible for 36% of overall carbon emissions. There is much that can be done to improve this. Many believe it starts with schools; upgrading and retrofitting, involving students, and educating them about environmentally friendly solutions and how they can have a positive impact now and in the future. Added to the fact that school buildings are rapidly ageing and becoming increasingly inefficient, leading to unnecessary carbon emissions and high utility bills.

 

The Let’s Go Zero campaign states that 60% of the energy used by schools is wasted out-of-hours, and schools in England alone spend £600m per year on energy – the second-largest budget item after staff salaries. By installing Smart Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems that coordinate through the exchange of data to optimise each function’s efficiency also help create smarter buildings. Motion sensors also prevent wasteful cooling, heating and lighting of empty or low utilised spaces. In addition, predictive maintenance through smart technology can eliminate the wasteful replacement and breakdown of a building’s assets.

 

Smart IoT sensors that monitor electricity, gas and water can help Facility Managers identify areas where wastage occurs, and simple changes can be made, which amount to big savings. Combining these sensors with AI and machine learning, presents an opportunity for the building to begin to make these changes and decisions by itself, autonomously saving energy and water. 

 

Therefore, if schools are adopting new smart HVAC systems, it makes sense to also investigate the lighting of the schools. If there is a need to be smarter to reduce costs and emissions, then surely lighting that also benefits students’ health should be considered. In schools, the results of recent research into the effects of applying circadian lighting capabilities and principles show a marked difference in how this type of lighting can deliver compared to conventional lighting set-ups. 

 

Understanding the impact of light on human behaviour has advanced rapidly. It is now possible to use circadian lighting principles easily and cost-effectively. In human beings’ evolution, we have been exposed to artificial light for an extremely short amount of time. However, many of us now spend most of our day under artificial light and until very recently, this lighting has failed to reproduce the light experience for which we are “programmed”. 

 

As well as using lighting to help synchronise the human circadian cycle, it has been found that levels of illuminance are key to cognitive performance. A 2011 study in the Netherlands found that increasing illuminance levels in schools at certain times of day and changing the colour temperature of the lights indicated a positive influence on pupils’ concentration. Researchers found students were more alert and scored higher on their tests when they were in a classroom with 6500K lighting.

 

A further study conducted by Kazan State University in 2015 demonstrated the influence of different lighting types on visual performance. For example, there was a 20% improvement in the performance of the tasks speed during tests where the colour temperature was 5800K in comparison to fluorescent lighting. The number of errors also reduced hugely.

 

SmartCore technology from amBX helps to improve occupant health and wellbeing as it follows the Circadian rhythm, maintaining natural body clocks, by ensuring we receive the right amount, quality, colour, and intensity of light at the right times of the day. The Education sector is one of many currently adopting and embracing smart technology to achieve this and create an environment that allows students to thrive.

 

Bagheri and Hagighi Movahed predicts the global adoption rate of IoE (Internet of Everything) in education will rise from less than 5% in 2013 to 32% by 2022. Critical decisions about the carbon footprint of the built environment must be made if we are to achieve Government net zero carbon targets, and smart technology has a huge role to play in this.

 

University of Birmingham invests in largest ZEISS Digital Classroom in Europe

176 state-of-the-art ZEISS microscopes are partnered with the award winning Labscope teaching software

 

The University of Birmingham cemented its position as a pioneer of cutting-edge education in 2018 with the creation of the largest digital microscope classroom in Europe. The ZEISS Digital Classroom suite is part of the university’s Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) and boasts a networked set of 176 ZEISS microscopes – a combination of the ZEISS Primotech and Stemi 305 models. These state-of-the-art microscopes, in combination with the award-winning Labscope teaching software, have transformed how teaching is done at Birmingham and raised the bar on what teachers and students can achieve together in the lab.

 

Transforming the Student Experience

 

We talked to three members of the CTL’s teaching staff for this case study, and the first thing we learned is that the ZEISS microscopes, with their intuitive design and high-definition built-in  cameras,  have radically transformed the student experience and boosted engagement. “The ZEISS Digital Classroom has profoundly changed the way we teach,” says Mrs Aruna Mistry, Dry Lab Manager for the CTL, who managed the microscope procurement process. “It’s the sheer interactivity of it that has changed everything: all the students can have an individual image on their device, and we teachers can pick up those images and instantly share them on the big screens. Alternatively, the lecturer can display whatever they are looking at on their teaching microscope on the students’ personal screens.”

In addition to looking through the microscope, students also use networked PCs to explore their slides, while the ZEISS Labscope. software enables them to take high-resolution photos and videos  of their samples, make accurate measurements, and much more. Students have embraced the system, says Mistry. “They like the  idea of everything being at their fingertips. The optics are so good, sometimes they just want to come in to look at their thin sections. And being able to take an image if they want to, straight away, because it is all connected… they just love it.”

Maximising teaching time

 

The state-of-the art ZEISS units are sleek, intuitive and “student- proof”, says Mistry: “In practical classes or exams, I can just take the dust cover off and it is ready to go. This changed my life. Before   the ZEISS installation, I’d have to give the equipment a quick service before we could start.”

Dr Alan Hastie, who teaches petrology and geochemistry at the university, is equally enthusiastic about how the linked microscopes of the ZEISS Digital Classroom maximise teaching time: “With the digital set up, with one click on one screen I can tell if 70 students have their microscopes set up correctly. I no longer have to check everyone individually, which can take an age.” Not only is time saved – teaching is accelerated. “I can pull images from individual students’ microscopes and instantly share them with the class to demonstrate very good examples to the other students. It makes teaching a lot easier and more streamlined.”

 

Boosting Exam Results

 

It not only feels like it is working better. The proof is in the pudding. “The ZEISS equipment allowed me to get my students to a satisfactory level faster than I could in previous years. And this was borne out by exam results,” says Hastie. This accelerated teaching is facilitated by ZEISS’s Labscope Teacher software, which puts the lecturer in charge of all the microscopes in the network while they move freely around the lab. Labscope Teacher also lets the lecturer define working groups, set group-specific tasks and implement all sorts of teamwork-boosting practices.

 

Digital Documentation and Feedback

 

No one on the teaching staff in the new CTL is yearning for the old days. Dr James Wheeley, a senior lecturer in sedimentary geology, remembers them all too well. “Before, we used very traditional microscope set ups, where students had to draw what they  looked  at.  One  of  our  top priorities for this new system was the capability to instantly capture, in high resolution, what the students were looking at, so that they could work with these images after the lab and use them for presentations. That was really important to us.”

The ZEISS Digital Classroom ecosystem also gives faculty the flexibility to feed back to students electronically on things they have imaged through the system. “We’ve been able to teach students how to properly present microscope images and annotate them up afterwards in software, which was difficult to do previously,” says Wheeley.

 

Preparing students for industry

Having students learn these modern working practices feeds into a central motivation for equipping the CTL with ZEISS systems in the first place. “The idea behind the CTL was that we are preparing our students for industry; that they acquire the skills they need here, so that when they start their careers they won’t need retraining,” says Mistry. “We wanted the equipment to be state-of-the-art, the lab to be state-of-the-art, the staff to be fully trained into what they are delivering. Buying the right type of microscopes was crucial.”

Wheeley agrees: “Everything the students are working with now is digital. This system allows them to present work to a professional standard, which is what will be required of them in their first jobs after university.”

Being one of the most advanced teaching labs in Europe, and indeed the world, inevitably makes the University of Birmingham particularly attractive to new students. Though, admittedly, this gold-standard status is not always fully appreciated. “Sometimes, new first-year students don’t realise quite how good they have it,” says Hastie. “At other universities, the equipment is – how do I put this diplomatically? – a wee bit antiquated. Our students come in fresh and get to use this fantastic equipment straight off. This is their normal. I’m in the privileged position to know that they have it very good indeed!”

 

The ZEISS Digital Classroom was part of a £45 million investment at the University of Birmingham, so naturally multiple suppliers were consulted. What was it that won over Mistry and her many colleagues? “The decision to buy took nearly two years and we really explored our options – we had workshops and demonstrations with many potential suppliers,” says Mistry. “Ultimately, the ZEISS system is the only one that could deliver what we said we wanted – we couldn’t ask for more. And   the ongoing support from ZEISS has been brilliant. Anything we asked, anything    we needed, they were there.”

 

To learn more about the ZEISS Digital Classroom, visit: www.zeiss.ly/digitalclassrooms

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.

 

Experts offer schools FREE drug & alcohol awareness seminar

 

The UK Addiction Treatment Group is offering all schools, colleges and universities across the country the opportunity to engage pupils in an exciting, FREE awareness seminar on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. 

 

The programme, led by an Enhanced DBS-checked Therapist is completely free to all schools who wish to book it. 

 

UKAT is offering all schools a day to engage with their students, of any age, on the short and long term dangers and implications of substance misuse. 

 

The seminar is incredibly interactive, and offers students the opportunity to ask open and honest questions about drugs and alcohol in a safe and trusted environment – their own school- with an expert who knows how to answer these types of questions. 

Many schools across the country have already welcomed UKAT on site to lead this seminar, some preferring a larger ‘lecture’ style structure whilst others prefer smaller, more intimate group sessions running throughout the day.

 

UKAT tailors the content to match the age of the students in each session, and works closely with the school itself to focus on any particular areas of concern, like gaming, cannabis or eating disorders, for example.

 

The help doesn’t just stop when UKAT leaves. The best part of this programme is that UKAT’s expert team have compiled support guides for students AND for parents, written by therapists. The school adds the guides to their website so that further support and information is always available. 

The free drug and alcohol awareness programme is the perfect education enrichment activity for teachers planning extracurricular activities and engagement opportunities for their students. 

 

To book your school in, just visit – www.ukat.co.uk/education-programme/v93/ or email the team on media@ukat.co.uk 

 

70% of secondary school students admit to future career fear

The Careers after Covid report published today by Launch Your Career, has revealed that 70% of secondary school students do not know or are unsure about what they want to do for a career when they leave school. Three quarters of students (78%) admitted they are worried about making the right choice of career. 

 

The report also reveals that nearly half of secondary school teachers (48%) say their school’s ability to give careers advice to students has worsened since the start of the pandemic. One in five (19%) of secondary school students say they have not received any advice from their school since the first lockdown over a year ago.  

 

Many students (47%) responding to the survey revealed that any advice they had been given had not been personalised to them.  

 

The news comes as students are already coping with disruption to learning, exams and friendships as a result of the pandemic.  

 

Furthermore, Covid-19 has hampered opportunities for work experience and one in four students (28%) revealed they had no practical experience of the working world, not even via a visiting speaker organised by their school. 

 

David Chapman, vice principal of Aston University Engineering Academy (AUEA) said: “After a year of seeing businesses failing, people being furloughed and parents losing jobs, young people are more unsure than ever about their own career opportunities. We need to find new ways to engage them in their future work choices.” 

 

The turmoil brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has also impacted what students want to do after school, with more than half (54%) saying they have now changed their career ideas, making it even more important that they receive good advice to make the right choices. 

 

David Chapman, vice principal of Aston University Engineering Academy (AUEA) said: “We have flipped the careers advice journey on its head and rather than asking ‘what do you want to do?’ we find out more about them as people. With a short personality quiz, we discover each student’s strengths and then research careers they might find fulfilling based on their answers. This starts to open doors for them and helps a young person feel more positive about the future.” 

 

Chris Jeffries, CEO and founder of Dev Clever, the company behind Launch Your Career, said: “Just when good careers guidance is needed most, schools are finding it hard to give quality advice and work experience opportunities. The pressure of the pandemic means they are having to focus instead on plugging curriculum gaps. But young people also need to plan for the future to help them engage in the lessons they are being taught in class today. 

 

“Schools need to look for simple ways to expose students to potential career choices that would suit their personality and engage and excite them in their future. And employers need to be more actively involved so students know what options are available to them once they leave education.” 

 

The research also revealed that three quarters (76%) of secondary school teachers agree students engage more with lessons when technology is used and 34% of students indicate technology could be used to explore career options. 

 

Aston University Engineering Academy is using Launch Your Career’s virtual reality experience to engage students in their career journey. David Chapman from AUEA said: “The virtual reality experience hooks our students into their personalised career journey. It uses gaming techniques they are very familiar with to grab their attention in a way that a normal careers lesson cannot. 

 

“It opens up their eyes to why they come to school each day and shows how the subjects they are learning lead to a real career.” 

  

Other interesting findings from the report include: 

  • 92% of parents have discussed potential career options with their child, however, a third (33%) do not feel equipped to give careers advice.
  • Nearly half (48%) of students want to see which careers would suit their interest and personality.

 

The Careers after Covid report is available at www.launchyourcareer.com/careersaftercovid to download and contains advice and guidance for schools and parents. The free personality career quiz is available to all students at www.launchyourcareer.com.  

 

Launch Your Career is an online and virtual reality experience for young people which provides careers guidance based on a student’s personality. Students use the tool to find out what makes them tick – whether they are an introvert or extrovert, whether they like to plan or are more of a seat of your pants type. Their spirit animal is unlocked based on their answers and they can see careers highlighted that might interest them.   

 

Built on engagement, gamification and fun, Launch Your Career immerses young people in their career journey. With a VR headset, students are absorbed in a quest to find out about jobs that interest them, and what they need to do to secure them. It’s the perfect tool to revitalise careers advice.  

 

Launch Your Career is the brainchild of digital innovation experts, Dev Clever

 

#Careers #classroomVR #LaunchYourCareer #VRinEDU @LaunchYourCareer   

www.launchyourcareer.com  

 

The British Army Showcases the Need for Practical Employability Resources in 2021

The British Army Employability resources give students the support they need in 2021 as they face new obstacles including remote interviews and increasingly competitive positions.

Available for Careers Week 2021, the Employability digital resources for key stage 4 capture everything students should watch out for, from body language to your final statement, as well as highlighting the importance of essential skills they need for the job market, including writing applications and developing interview strategy. The British Army is one of the biggest employers in the UK and with these resources, students can gain a valuable insight into what they look for in a prospective employee.

Employability is set to be one of the biggest concerns for young people this year as the job opportunities become increasingly limited and competitive as a result of the pandemic. These resources offer simple and effective methods for students on how to best prepare themselves for that next big step in their lives. With sample interview questions and scenario briefings that can be used by students both in the classroom or via remote learning.

The resources showcase a range of careers across STEM, Arts and Humanities, from Army Comms Engineer to English Language Teacher, which gives students an idea of the requirements in their chosen profession. The British Army looks at every candidate with a great level of detail and so following their instruction ensures any young person can be fully prepared for a future application.

Major Jennifer Close said: “We know that many first-time applicants are facing obstacles this year and, as one of the biggest employers in the UK, we at the British Army know what to look for in our applications and we’re happy to share our expertise through these Employability resources.”

To learn more about employability, check out the free downloadable resources at: https://apply.army.mod.uk/base/lessons/employability-skills