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The evolution and future of Edtech: A chat with Aaron Webb, Sr Product Marketing Manager at Jamf

How has the pandemic impacted the way we view edtech?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the way that edtech is viewed within the education system. In the last two years, we have seen technology brought to the forefront, as schools have adopted platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom in order to enable teachers to provide learning to children of all ages. There has also been an increase in device purchases or repurposing of existing devices in order to provide students with access to these platforms. While some schools have relied on student having access to their own device at home in order to keep teaching as best they could, others already had devices in the hands of students and the systems in place adapted in a different way. What started as reactive for most and a forced move to use technology has become a learning curve where all schools, even if they already had an established 1:1 programme or already used Teams or Google to reset. Technology in education has many benefits and schools have seen that, from accessibility and providing differentiated resources to cutting the amount of paper used. They have realised what can be done outside the walls of the classroom and they saw the importance of having a structure in place to flip to online learning whenever required. However, during the pandemic, there was little time to implement a strategy or enable staff with the new tools and skills. Some schools still had key worker children on site while teaching remotely so had to juggle both face to face and online learning. We are now in a period where schools are focused on students who are back in the classroom but they are also able to review the workflows they were using both prior and during the pandemic. Many schools are reflecting on those free offerings to blend with other paid-for solutions, for example using Google Classroom as a free offering but moving to Showbie for digital assessment and feedback. Apple devices are being used to blend Google tools with the Apple ecosystem and the need for both teaching training and IT management of devices has grown rapidly. There is also more focus on security, with devices being issued without the knowledge, skills or tools to secure them, and an increase in cyber attacks on schools and universities means protecting students, devices and the networks are now a huge requirement in education. The pandemic has certainly fast-tracked the digitisation of education considerably and will continue to shape the future of learning, professional development with tools and platforms to support.

 

What is Jamf and how are you making a difference in the education sector?

Jamf is the leading Apple enterprise management solution of scale that remotely connects, manages and protects Apple users, devices and services. Our flagship education solution, Jamf School, recently surpassed 5 million devices and provides simple education-focused tools and value-added workflows, not only for the IT admin to manage and secure Apple devices but Teacher, Student and Parent apps to empower student success. Jamf provides a holistic management solution for schools of all sizes that manages every aspect of Apple devices through to provisioning devices right from purchase, through to the deployment with zero touch for IT which gives the ultimate buy in for staff and students who unbox their brand new device, power on and see all their apps and setting configured based on their sign in. With our security solutions and management offers, we can help schools monitor and prevent malware threats, and provide safe online learning environments, all without invading user privacy. We support the use of our devices and tools with training and robust help for IT admins but also free online professional development for the Jamf Teacher app with our Jamf Educator platform. Teachers can learn, try and apply in a simulation environment before rolling out across the school. We celebrate their success with a Jamf educator badge to share on social media and as part of their professional development but also invite them to join our dedicated education hub within Jamf Nation, our online community of IT professionals.

 

What differentiates Jamf from other edtech solutions?

Jamf empowers student success. We know that many stakeholders play a huge part in this and we have tools and solutions to support those key personas. IT, teachers, the students themselves and parents and carers. Each tool and workflow enhances engagement between teachers, students and parents while simplifying IT workflows. It is a unique proposition that presents a variety of capabilities that allow for management of devices by a number of different stakeholders and participants regardless of IT knowledge and skills. Each of these is adapted and created specifically for its role in this journey. Jamf has carefully considered what is required for each participant and developed a capability to support their function.

 

These solutions become even more powerful with our integrations and solution partners. Our integrations with Microsoft and Google mean schools can choose Apple and use the systems they know and love to form a powerful combination that suits their needs. By choosing Apple they can still use their Google or Microsoft systems but blend the Apple ecosystem for a better together approach.

 

We extend that experience even further with solution partners through our Jamf Marketplace. There is a wealth of solutions and integrations that allow schools to use systems they already have or are looking to adopt with Jamf, whether that be IT solution or teaching and learning specific apps such as Showbie, Explain Everything or digital signage solutions for their Apple TV fleet such as Carousel or Trilby TV.

 

How is Jamf combating some of the main security concerns in the edtech space?

The technological landscape is constantly evolving, and it is imperative that learning institutions take the necessary measures to combat the latest threats and security risks to prevent any potential problems. The use of technology in the classroom can be invaluable but steps need to be taken to protect both children and teachers alike, while also respecting and conserving their privacy.

 

Our solutions offer an easy way to remove concerns around security and harness a safe learning environment. Jamf has a robust and comprehensive knowledge base of the potential threats and has solutions that work to mitigate them, giving teachers and students the tools for success while keeping them safe from harm.

 

Jamf have announced their latest tool to keep users safe while they work. Jamf Safe Internet will be available for macOS, iPadOS and iOS this summer, combining content filtering and network threat prevention features that block unsafe content and malicious attacks so students can learn safely anywhere. This protection also includes software to stop malware and phishing attacks in their tracks. Jamf Safe Internet uses a vast content-filtering database and lightweight technology, so the learning experience of the user is not hampered and continues to provide the best Apple experience teachers and students know and love, while avoiding an invasion of student’s privacy. This is yet another layer of protection in place in addition to the existing safeguards in place throughout the Jamf’s Education solutions.

 

What do you think about the future of edtech?

Edtech, at its core, looks to empower teachers, parents and students, both inside and outside the classroom, to use technology as a tool to simplify and progress learning methods and make education as effective as possible. We know that the pandemic has accelerated its progress, but I think we are still yet to see the best to come. Technology is constantly evolving and developing, and the possible applications are vast. However, there are still areas that need to adapt. Exams and assessment were impacted during the pandemic. Schools need to rethink how students are assessed and consider digital assessments – edtech can definitely play a huge part in it.

“Whilst some providers have been counted in, nobody has been counted out”: NASBTT responds to ITT accreditation process outcome

The Department for Education (DfE) has today notified providers who applied to Round 1 of the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) accreditation process of the outcome.

 

Figures released show that 80 providers spanning school and university-based ITT have been accredited.

 

In response, Emma Hollis, Executive Director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), said:

 

“Whilst we are obviously disappointed by the headline figure that only 80 providers have been successful in Round 1, it is important to stress that we are only part-way through the process and as such no provider has been counted out.

 

Providers who have not yet been accredited are able to re-apply in Round 2 (which opens on 23rd May, deadline 27th June) and, importantly, have been given feedback from DfE which will support their resubmission. They will only have to submit responses to the question or questions they did not pass, so can invest time over the next two months developing their applications in the specified areas. Needless to say, we are committed to supporting all NASBTT members through the accreditation process, and would encourage all providers who have not yet been accredited to continue with their applications into Round 2.

 

We would also encourage all those who are resubmitting or planning to apply for the first time in Round 2 to attend our forthcoming online networking events on trainee curriculum (8th and 9th June), mentoring (13th June), partnerships (14th June) and brokering new partnerships (15th June), which are free to NASBTT members. These will bring ITT providers together to discuss their approaches to each of these elements of the application, and to share ideas and thinking to support one another in the accreditation process.

 

We remain confident, based on assurances that we have been given from DfE (who we are in constant dialogue with), that there is no pattern or preference emerging in the accreditation process for size and scale of provider – a fear expressed by many.

 

We are also confident that the government at large will want to avoid a potentially catastrophic risk to the teacher supply chain – and quality and availability of provision – which would come from losing significant numbers of providers from the market and further undermining teacher supply at a time when ITT applications are back to, or indeed below, pre-pandemic levels.”

 

Who is safeguarding the safeguarders? Study reveals school safeguarding staff are STILL suffering distress – yet are less likely than ever to seek support

                     30% of DSLs (Designated Safeguarding Leads) in schools admit suffering distress or upset as a result of carrying out their roles

                     DSL safeguarding distress similar to 2020 pandemic levels

                     Yet there is a 25% decline in DSLs seeking support compared with two years ago

New research released today for Mental Health Awareness Week, has revealed two years on from the pandemic starting, teachers and staff responsible for safeguarding are STILL suffering high levels of distress as a result of carrying out their role. However, they are less likely than ever to seek personal support to help address the issue.  

According to the data, released by Smoothwall, a leading digital safeguarding technology provider, nearly a third (30%) of those responsible for safeguarding in a school have experienced or seen something that has caused personal distress, such as upsetting images or content.

DSLs within private schools (20%) fare significantly better than those in state schools (31%). However, the levels of distress experienced by those responsible for safeguarding as a whole remains largely in line with comparative data from 2020 (33%).

Despite levels remaining high, there has been a significant decline in the number of DSLs seeking professional support, such as counselling, or personal help from colleagues or peers. In fact, when compared with two years ago, DSLs are 25% less likely to seek support of any kind, posing the question: who is safeguarding those with a responsibility to safeguard?

Safeguarding can be an extremely challenging role with seemingly ‘invisible’ issues such as students accessing harmful online material often flying under the radar and being difficult to spot. The research underlines this with 1-in-10 DSLs admitting they feel unable to spot mental health issues amongst children in their care.

Kat Howard, safeguarding expert at Smoothwall, said: “Those staff with a safeguarding responsibility are absolutely committed to providing the very best care and support for their students, and the fear of missing a vulnerable child can cause significant stress in itself. However, the experience of witnessing atrocious content, sexual imagery, online student chats with potential perpetrators and more through their day-to-day roles is not pleasant and over time can affect their wellbeing and mental health too.

 “Safeguarding issues are also widespread. Our own digital monitoring data shows that every 12 minutes, a child was found to have been involved in a serious sexual incident, and every 22 minutes, a child was involved in a serious cyberbullying, or violent incident.

“As such, it’s critically important we provide those with a responsibility for safeguarding, not only the right tools and technology to be able to do their job more efficiently and spot issues before they escalate, but also to recognise and provide the appropriate emotional and mental health support for those carrying out this crucially important job.”

Against this context, an active monitoring solution can provide DSLs with valuable support and reassurance in identifying those most at risk. Digital devices within a school are constantly monitored to check for signs of risk in children, quickly. 

Serious risks such as a suicide, grooming or a gang meeting can all be picked up in real-time if a child has used their keyboard to view content, message someone, look for information, type out their feelings – even if they delete it immediately or never press ‘send’ or ‘enter’. This approach can support the valuable ‘eyes and ears’ approach to safeguarding, that relies on teacher’s years of experience in intuition.

For more information on Smoothwall, or to access a full report into the research, visit https://www.smoothwall.com/  

Employment law and the duties of teachers: What do you need to know?

Professionals who work in education, especially those who work with minors, are expected to operate to very high standards of conduct, ethics and safety, due to the vulnerability of those who they work with and their position of power, influence and trust.

 

Dave Ward, a partner in the Employment team at Blacks Solicitors, shares his advice on what education employers and employees need to be aware of relating to allegations of misconduct and safeguarding, unfair dismissal and teacher’s duties. 

 

Safeguarding and misconduct

Professionals in education should always be mindful of the privileged position in which they work. The safeguarding of students and particularly children in education settings is absolutely paramount. It is likely that most instances of potential misconduct will give rise to safeguarding concerns. Errors of judgement, inappropriate behaviours and major failures to carry out aspects of the role could put children at risk.

 

Where misconduct is determined following a reasonable process, it can have career ending consequences for professionals in education, especially given there are regulatory reporting obligations and reference requirements, including DBS checks, that are naturally in place to alert local authorities and prospective employers to risks.

 

It is likely that those subject to allegations of misconduct will be represented by a union and their representatives can take various types of approach, from reasonable and pragmatic, to occasionally derailing processes which cause significant disruption, leading to the parties losing sight of the ultimate objective, which is the provision of a safe learning environment for all.

 

Disciplinary processes

Against this backdrop, education providers can rest easy in the knowledge that if there is reasonable evidence of wrongdoing, a robust and fair disciplinary process should allow appropriate action to be taken, without putting the establishment at risk.

 

However, providers must also be mindful of underlying causes of misconduct, such as what occurred in City of York Council v Grosset. In that case, the local authority was found to have discriminated against Mr Grosset on the grounds of disability when disciplining him, where it had not realised that his alleged misconduct was connected to his disability.

 

It is important for the employer not to place conduct standards and safeguarding on such a pedestal that employment rights are overlooked. Similarly, just because allegations are raised, the employer should not overreact and forgo a reasonable investigation and evidence gathering exercise, as this could well put the establishment at risk of failing to properly investigate, understand the facts and take appropriate remedial action.

 

Whilst the education sector is a rather niche area of Human Resources, established best practice guidance as set out under the ACAS code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, remains sufficient to conduct disciplinary processes in education settings. This is so, even where there are allegations involving the most serious types of misconduct.  A thorough, methodical and transparent approach to investigating and making decisions is vital.

 

For more information, please visit https://www.lawblacks.com/business/employment-law/

Schools & Academies Show London 2022

The Schools & Academies Show London 2022 took place on 27th April at ExCeL, London for the first time in over three years.

The show’s return to London provided the perfect opportunity for the sector to continue moving from recovery to re-discovery. The event brought together over 3,000 attendees, 150 inspirational speakers and 140 leading education suppliers and provided the perfect meeting and networking space for senior leaders from schools to meet and discuss how to overcome the biggest challenges facing schools in the UK.

As the country continues to move beyond the effects of the pandemic, the education sector is still suffering from staff shortages, funding challenges and now has added pressures from pupil and staff wellbeing issues. Therefore, the Schools & Academies Show is positioned to tackle these challenges through showcasing good practice case studies, innovative suppliers and interactive networking and meeting spaces.

Our Headline Sponsor; Lyfta, presented an insightful presentation; ‘Nurturing Children for Our Changing World: The Amazing Power of Diverse Human Stories’ and stated:

“We were delighted to take part in the show and have the opportunity to meet sector leaders and staff, while sharing our message and vision with many schools that were not familiar with Lyfta.

Lyfta provides a powerful and accessible way for students to experience human diversity, and for educators to build cultural capital and nurture the vital skills and values children need to thrive in our changing world. We invite students to explore and connect with real human stories from across the globe, through interactive 360° spaces and powerful short films.

By taking part, we were able to share some of our work and our mission with Headteachers, MAT Leaders and wider Senior Leadership Teams and it was a great experience to see so many representatives from the sector in one place throughout the day.”

The show is heavily supported by the Department for Education (DfE) and we were delighted to bring back the popular Government Education Village which provides visitors with the chance to speak directly with representatives from multiple teams at the DfE as well as see a variety of live sessions and project demonstrations by the department.

This focus on insightful content and good practice was carried through the entire event, with the following themed stages on offer:

  • School Improvement Theatre
  • Trust & Trustees Theatre
  • Business & Finance Theatre
  • EdTech Theatre
  • Safeguarding & Wellbeing Theatre
  • SEND Theatre
  • Leaders’ Town Hall

As well as the 30+ hours of CPD-certified content on offer, over 140 exhibitors took part offering a wide variety of services, products, and solutions for every aspect of running a school. Discovering new suppliers, meeting with current service providers, and finding new and exciting services is one of the key benefits of the show and without this support from the sector, the show would not be such a huge success.

Stephen Morales, CEO, ISBL and Chair, GovNet Education Advisory Board stated:

“It’s always a privilege to part of one of the sector largest national events. Being able to interact with such large numbers in attendance, both in the margins of the sessions and as speaker provides me with a real sense of the mood of our sector, their challenges, their concerns, and their aspirations.

As ISBLs CEO I believe events like this are essential to the sectors ongoing evolutions and as a professional institute we look forward to supporting the Schools & Academies Show again in Birmingham in November.”

If you would like to find out more about how you can join the leading education suppliers already benefiting from exhibiting at the shows, then please contact info@schoolsandacademiesshow.co.uk.

About the Events:

The Schools & Academies Show is the UK’s leading education policy event, tackling the biggest topics and changes across the sector in order to ensure better outcomes for pupils and staff and is organised by GovNet Education.

@SAA_Show

#SAAShow22

 

‘Ed tech’ specialists, Osborne Technologies launch their new and improved WizeFloor interactive surface to schools in the UK, Europe and USA.

Osborne Technologies launch their new and improved, out-of-the-box interactive projection system, the WizeFloor One, designed primarily for educational establishments.

 

WizeFloor is a fun, engaging, cross-curricular interactive learning resource for educators, promoting play, movement and collaboration. Pupils can interact with the surface using their hands, feet, bean bags, play cones and any other soft play items.

 

The new and improved interactive floor system is designed to be more compact, robust and easier to install, whilst making WizeFloor more accessible and affordable. Available in two models, the WizeFloor One is an all-in-one overhead mounted solution designed for fixed installation within designated spaces, such as classrooms and sensory rooms and the WizeFloor GO is a fully mobile and height adjustable solution, for use in any suitable location. Along with numerous improvements to the hardware, WizeFloor is now more affordable than ever and includes a comprehensive 12 month warranty and optional installation. Osborne Technologies have recently installed their first WizeFloor One solution in the SNAP Charity in Essex, UK.

 

WizeFloor apps provide the underlying functionality for the many hundreds of available activities, and two purchasing options, ‘Create’ and ‘Play’ are available to suit different requirements and budgets. The ‘Create’ package provides teachers with all the tools they need to quickly and easily create and customise activities with their own lesson content. Whether it be a quiz to assess understanding of a modern foreign language, a game to solve mathematical equations, or a memory game to test geographical knowledge, each app is designed in a way that can be customised and adapted for any lesson or subject. The WizeFloor Play package (coming soon) will come with 50 and 100 pre-made games.

 

Nev Roberts, Director at Osborne Technologies –

“Many schools across the UK and US already use WizeFloor in their school curriculum to provide fun, enjoyable and motivational learning experiences. It is a unique product in that it can be used right across the curriculum, within virtually any subject and by any age group or ability”.

 

 

Andrew Griffith MP visits LVS Hassocks to meet Principal and learn more about their specialist education for children with a diagnosis of autism

Photos by Liz Finlayson/Vervate

Andrew Griffith, Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs, visited multi award winning specialist school for children with a diagnosis of autism, LVS Hassocks on Friday 29th April to meet with Principal, Jen weeks, to find out more about the benefits of a specialist education for children with a diagnosis of autism.

Mr Griffith – who lists schools among his priorities as a Member of Parliament – visited the school to meet the principal, for a tour around the campus and to meet some of the students and talk to them about the difference LVS Hassocks has made for their education and for them as individuals.

On social media Mr Griffith highlights his passion for education and has pledged “to support children, teachers and schools by developing training programmes by 2024 to give children access to great schools and great teachers.”

LVS Hassocks were delighted to host Mr Griffith allowing him the opportunity to learn more about the schools’ values and learning environment that enables children with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum to thrive and learn in a safe and specialist environment.

Jen Weeks, Principal of LVS Hassocks said:

“We were delighted to welcome Mr Griffith and showcase LVS Hassocks. It was a pleasure touring Mr Griffith around our school and talking about the benefits LVS Hassocks has on children with a diagnosis of autism, we are proud of what we do and the impact we have on our student’s lives post LVS Hassocks”.

Andrew Griffith, Member of Parliament said:

“I received a very warm welcome at LVS Hassocks and it was good to see first-hand the work they do.   

“I welcome the National Autism Strategy which sets out the real steps Government is going to take over the next five years – to create a society which is inclusive of people with autism.  The Strategy will give the extra the support needed – backed by £75 million funding in its first year – to improve diagnosis and education through to employment.” 

 For more information about LVS Hassocks, please visit https://www.lvs-hassocks.org.uk/

 

 

THE GREAT RESIGNATION SPARKS A RISE IN SEARCHES FOR TEACHER TRAINING COURSES

Searches for teacher training courses have risen dramatically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research.

 

For the first time in nearly a decade, overall recruitment of initial teacher trainees exceeded the national target in 2020-21, up 6% on the target for secondaries and 30% above for primaries.

 

To get a better understanding of specific trends around transitions to teaching over the course of the pandemic, Access Education analysed thousands of Google Searches to identify the subjects seeing the biggest rise in demand as well as the UK locations seeing the most change.

 

The findings have been published in a new report, Boardroom to classroom: How has the pandemic impacted career switches to teaching?, by Access Education, a software specialist for schools and academies.

 

The research found that between 2019-20, across all core subjects searches for teacher training courses were up. History saw the biggest growth in demand, closely followed by art and design as the most popular subjects, seeing the biggest spike in searches in 2020.

 

The subject areas that saw the biggest increase in searches between 2019 and 2020 were as follows:

 

  • History teacher training – up 30.49%
  • Art and design teacher training – up 29.86%
  • Music teacher training – up 27.97%
  • Science teacher training – up 25.72%
  • Maths teacher training – up 20.07%
  • Geography teacher training – up 16.84%
  • PE teacher training – up 15.41%

 

Secondary education saw the biggest growth in terms of potential new recruits when compared to primary (a 21% increase in searches between 2019 and 2020).

 

When looking at regional trends, the research also revealed that interest in the profession and searches for ‘teacher training’ related terms spiked in locations across the country. This was particularly evident in the north where Glasgow (up 19.51%), Liverpool (up 17.63%) and Sheffield (up 16.15%) saw the biggest increases of the locations included in the research.

The five locations that saw the biggest increase in teacher training related searches between 2019 and 2020 were as follows:

 

  • Glasgow – up 19.51%
  • Liverpool – up 17.63%
  • Sheffield – up 16.15%
  • Edinburgh – up 15.11%
  • Nottingham – up 13.52%

 

Adrian Brown, founder of My School Portal, an Access Education company said:

 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably changed how some people think about life, work and whether or not they are happy within their existing role. Over the past two years we’ve seen thousands of people deciding to throw caution to the wind and not only consider a new role, but perhaps a different profession altogether.

 

“The remarkable work of teachers throughout the pandemic was recognised across the country, with many going above and beyond to ensure learning could continue. These heroic efforts clearly inspired others to consider a role in teaching – perhaps as they sought a more meaningful and fulfilling career.”

 

Click here to view the full research, Boardroom to classroom: How has the pandemic impacted career switches to teaching?

 

Methodology

Using Google’s Keyword Planner tool, Access Education looked at a range of seed keywords associated with teaching to gain an understanding of the search landscape for terms related to teacher training. Keywords included ‘primary school teacher training’, ‘maths teacher training’ and more.

For the regional data, we took a look at more generic teacher training related terms for each location such as ‘teacher training’ to establish a wider list of terms.

Is cloud calling the answer to teacher’s stress?

~ 67 per cent of teachers are under unprecedented pressure — how can tech help? ~

 

The pandemic has made educator’s jobs even more challenging — according to the Times Educational Supplement Staff Wellbeing Survey, 67 per cent of teachers had an unmanageable workload in 2021, compared to just 22 per cent in 2020. To prevent work from spilling over into their home life, educators must ensure their work hours are as productive as possible. Here Douglas Mulvihill, marketing manager, UK and Ireland of cloud communications provider Ringover, explores the role of cloud communications in reducing educator stress.

 

 

Having a good work-life balance is critical, both for employees and the organisations they work for. At an individual level, workers can experience significant improvements in mental health and wellbeing as they feel more in control of their working life. Employers who help staff achieve a better work-life balance can expect to see increased productivity and lower levels of sickness and stress.

 

In the education sector, where staff performance directly affects the quality of the learning of their students, having a motivated, productive workforce is essential. But many of the tools typically employed by businesses to reduce staff stress — flexible working, reduced hours, a shorter working week — are unavailable to the education sector. What can be done to reduce stress among educators?

 

Adapting to remote learning

While most students are now back in the classroom, that doesn’t mean distance learning is a thing of the past. 20 out of the 24 Russell Group universities are still including some online teaching for undergraduates and staff sicknesses have forced some schools to consider temporarily returning to online learning. With less than two in five educators feeling confident in their current role, what can be done to make remote teaching simpler?

 

Good communication is an essential skill for any teacher, whether that’s with students, other teachers, parents or management. Cloud communication solutions ensure educators can achieve the same great communication remotely. With real-time voice, video and messaging capabilities, educators can feel confident that they can always reach colleagues and students.

 

Productive calls

Educators never had a modest workload, and it is only increasing. A report published by the Trades Union Congress revealed that 31 per cent of teachers worked unpaid overtime in 2021, up from 25 per cent in 2020. Ensuring that work stays within working hours is a great way to reduce employee stress, allowing teachers time to rest, relax and return to work rejuvenated.

 

Educators need technology that works for them, to ensure maximum productivity. Relying on a fixed phone line located in the school’s secretary office simply won’t suffice — a single landline won’t serve dozens of stressed teachers. Instead, education facilities must consider a business phone system that uses VoIP technology.

 

There are many benefits to using VoIP, which takes calls over the internet rather than a traditional landline. Speed is key when managing a complex network of several hundred students, so features such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), an automated phone system technology that allows incoming callers to access information via a voice response system of pre-recorded messages without having to speak to an agent, is ideal for managing persistent parent queries.

 

Other functions, like implementing hunt groups so callers can be put through to multiple phone lines, can also streamline the many areas of administration teachers are often expected to handle.

 

Teachers can also use VoIP to manage their data, quickly sorting contact lists by class, assignment and level, so updates can be sent out fast to those who need them. Messages can be scheduled in advance, for example reminders about assignment due dates, so educators can spend less time sending out repetitive, simple messages and more time focussing on planning and delivering excellent teaching.

 

Above all, cloud-based telephony means that no one has to wait for a receptionist to be done with another caller or get put on hold, nor do teachers have to navigate a complex web of communications through a dated phone line — the combination of hunt groups and a well-configured, multi-layer IVR will ensure educators get the information they need, and fast, to help ease some of their growing workload.

 

New Nordic Schools releases Kwizie to help teachers instantly create engaging and inspiring quizzes with AI

Kwizie instantly creates and grades quizzes from any text-based resource, giving insights into each student’s level of understanding and saving teachers endless hours.

ESPOO, Finland (April 21st, 2022) Finnish education company New Nordic Schools launches Kwizie – an online tool that helps teachers engage with their students and save endless hours by instantly creating and grading quizzes with cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Research on the state of global education by the OECD has shown teachers have been stressed and overburdened with increasing responsibilities causing many to consider leaving the profession. Kwizie helps to decrease teachers’ burden by saving time spent on selecting quality resources and creating interactive quizzes. At the same time, students are empowered to explore their excitement to learn and test their own learning, both independently as well as together with their classmates.

“Kwizie is a great way to create a formative assessment for educators. An educator can give students a quick entrance ticket at the beginning of class to see what students already know and an exit ticket to see what knowledge students have acquired during the class. I liked that I could see how each of my students did on the Kwizie in real time. It was very easy to create questions! You can quickly add a true/false or multiple check question. My students enjoyed it, they said it was very easy to use and a great way to show what they know,” says Maureen Lamb, Grade 9-12 Teacher from Connecticut, USA.

Kwizie can be used as a stand-alone tool where no login information is required – students only need a code to start an assessment, like in Kahoot. However, unlike Kahoot, Kwizie generates the quiz automatically based on the chosen learning material, saving the teacher hours of manual work.

“We are super excited to launch Kwizie, as we truly believe in its capabilities to ease the workload for teachers around the world, improve active recall for students, and most importantly, make learning fun and engaging. Teachers save a lot of time on preparatory work by instantaneously creating quizzes for their students from any text-based resource in English. Kwizie brings excitement and interactivity to learning and assessment, with the help of cutting-edge AI,” says Janne Jormalainen, Co-founder and Chair of the Board of New Nordic Schools.

One of the major benefits of Kwizie is that users can easily access a vast library of quality resources from third-party providers. For example, Britannica School articles are integrated within the resource library and provide instant access to millions of fact-checked materials– a service that would normally need to be paid for separately.

“Research has shown that active recall testing is far more effective at building strong memories than passive study. Kwizie enables students to strengthen their understanding of passive learning material. For example, if a teacher sees that their class is struggling to understand the content they assign, Kwizie makes it easy for the teacher to plan future lessons,” says Christopher Petrie, Director of Digital Learning at New Nordic Schools. 

Future releases of Kwizie will feature personalized quizzes based on each student’s ability and recommend next steps for a mastery style of learning.

Kwizie is also integrated with New Nordic Schools’ own Nordic Learning Platform, a complete hybrid learning solution for students, teachers, and schools. This platform combined with New Nordic Schools’ educational system and consulting services offers a complete Finnish-based K12 system that can be used independently in a modular way or together as a whole.

“Finland’s education system has been awarded as the best in the world on several occasions. With New Nordic Schools’ technology and know-how, we can bring the best practices of the system to any corner of the world.​​ We continue to empower teachers and schools worldwide to transform outdated systems of education,”  Jormalainen concludes.