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Online Parent-Teacher Conferences should be encouraged

Once or twice a year, parents pay a visit to the school to meet with teachers and discuss about their children. Whether it’s about the academic progress their kids have made, or how they are doing in general within the school environment, the annual parent-teacher conference is a vital component within the education systems from all over the world.

So, what happened when the COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic? Well, naturally when the schools closed down, parent-teacher conferences were also cancelled indefinitely. But now that the schools are largely back to normal, it is time again for teachers and parents to come together and work towards creating an even better learning experience for the children. Many schools have shifted towards hybrid education, combining and alternating between in-person and remote learning. Consequently, there is also a growing trend of school administrators hosting both virtual and physical meetings for parent-teacher conferences.

According to Rene Buhay, SVP of Sales and Marketing at AVer Europe, “By utilising the latest education technology such as video conferencing, online parent-teacher conferences can be a powerful and effective way in building meaningful relationships between the families and educators. Contrary to what some may believe, having parent-teacher conferences online are not inferior to in-person meetings. In fact, these virtual conferences can bring many advantageous factors in areas where face-to-face meetings may be limited.”

 Here are some key reasons why online parent-teacher conferences should be encouraged.

Flexible and Accessible

In a time of uncertainty where the world is trying to establish new “norms”, flexibility is crucial in ensuring a level playing field for all children. The traditional parent-teacher conference often did not have a concrete schedule that the parents could follow. Instead, there would be some general timetable for when each teacher is available to talk, but often parents would end up waiting in line for prolonged periods before they got their turn. It’s also not surprising that sometimes parents can’t make it to the conference due to work shift hours, prior commitment, or long-distance commute. With the option of having the parent-teacher conferences online, it eliminates these problems and increases the chance of both parents being able to attend. An internet connection, a video conferencing camera, and open platform such as Zoom, TEAMS or SKYPE,  is all a parent needs to join a virtual conference. Parents can now communicate with teachers from the comfort of their home, or virtually anywhere through the tap of a few buttons.

Efficient and Easy

While parents can enjoy the flexibility and accessibility of attending virtually, teachers also benefit from these online conferences. No longer do teachers have to struggle with presenting students’ work to parents in a noisy gym filled with overlapping conversations, nor will they be restricted to stay at a designated table due to limited space. By implementing educational technology in online conferences, teachers can stream and show all the work a student has done through a visualiser that’s equipped with a rotatable camera head, giving them the option to show their face and the student’s work interchangeably. Alternatively, if the teacher also likes to move around the room and gesture to points written on a blackboard, a simple tracking camera with plug-and-play USB connectivity would allow them to do so in seconds. With the utilisation of these two, we can say goodbye to distracting noises and poor visibility in a room full of waiting parents.

Build an Engaged Community

Choosing to participate in online parent-teacher conferences is essentially taking a more digital approach. With technology weaving its way more into the field of education, the level of convenience and visibility it brings can encourage parents to attend online conferences more often and in turn allow both parties the opportunity to get consistent insights and communication from each other. In doing so, this will create a sense of community that is connected based on collaboration for the sake of the children’s growth and development.

About AVer Europe

AVer Europe provides intelligent technological solutions which harness the power of visual communications for business and education. With over 20 years of research, development and manufacturing excellence AVer holds numerous international design, innovation, application, and service awards for exceptional product usability, reliability and customer satisfaction.

http://www.avereurope.com

UK digital literacy to receive major boost as 57k BBC micro:bit coding devices donated to primary schools

  • The Micro:bit Educational Foundation alongside partners Nominet and the Scottish government will donate 57,000 BBC micro:bits across UK primary schools   
  • Support from the Scottish government will see every primary school in Scotland receives devices  
  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, priority will be given to the schools that need additional support the most  
  • With many secondary schools now using BBC micro:bits in the classroom, the project aims to boost support for younger children and provide essential teacher resources   

    30 March 2022 The Micro:bit Educational Foundation, the organisation behind the pocket-sized BBC micro:bit computer, has announced plans to help even more primary school children take their first steps into digital creativity and computing. In partnership with Nominet and the Scottish government, 57,000 BBC micro:bit devices will be donated to UK primary schools, alongside comprehensive teaching resources and online Continuing Professional Development courses.   

    As digital literacy and computing become increasingly important core skills, this major boost to teaching these subjects will see approximately 3,000 UK primary schools receive around 20 devices each. Support from the Scottish government will see every primary school in Scotland receive 20 devices, with the Foundation and Nominet working with primary schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to prioritise 22,000 devices to those that need additional support the most. Delivery of devices will begin from April onwards.  

    Having launched in 2016, today there are 6 million BBC micro:bits being used by children all over the world, including most UK secondary schools. The Foundation has also seen growing adoption and demand from primary schools to teach 8 – 11-year-olds with the devices. With this major project, the Micro:bit Educational Foundation aims to boost usage in primary schools even further, providing the devices and resources to help teachers make coding exciting, accessible, and something they can teach confidently to younger children.   

Teaching digital skills from a young age has impressive results and understanding computational thinking can greatly enhance a child’s creativity and life chances. However, research underpinning the project from the Micro:bit Educational Foundation and Nominet found that  61% of UK primary teachers responsible for teaching computing have no background in the subject, 3 in 5 also cite lack of resources as a barrier to teaching computing and digital skills.   

Gareth Stockdale, CEO of the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, said: “Digital literacy and computational thinking are critically important not only to the future of our society, but to the future of children who will one day shape that society. They are increasingly important core skills, and we know that the earlier you learn them, the better. The BBC micro:bit has become an essential tool that teachers and students alike have come to love. We’ve seen fantastic adoption in secondary schools, and we’re delighted to support and empower even more teachers to unlock children’s creative potential at primary level.”  

Roll-out of the micro:bits will also complement a three-phase research programme, as the Foundation looks to assess, monitor and address the challenges, concerns and successes UK primary teachers experience improving digital literacy and in bringing micro:bits into the classroom.  

Interested teachers and schools can visit the Micro:bit Educational Foundation website for more information.  

Adam Leach, CIO, Nominet, said: “We are so pleased to see the continued roll-out of micro-bit in classrooms across the UK, enabling so many more primary school children to explore and develop their skills in digital creativity and computing. It’s exciting to think about the potential passion for technology this programme could set alight. On practical level, it is really important that access to learning these essential skills is provided to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to discover, experiment and master them. Each one of the 57,000 devices will impact on developing children’s core digital skills as citizens of a digitalised world – and perhaps even put some of them on a pathway to help fill the digital skills gap in the UK’s digital workforce of the future.”    

 

SMART Technologies and Kooth join forces to transform student and teacher wellbeing

  • SMART partners with Kooth to bring vital mental health resources and support to more students
  • The partnership is an education industry-first for supporting students and teachers with their mental health
  • At least 17% of six to 16-year-olds now suffer from probable mental disorders

London – 29 March 2022 – SMART, the edtech company with a 35-year track record of pioneering learning solutions, has partnered with Kooth, the leading digital mental wellbeing platform, to provide educators with engaging lessons on how to support students and teachers with managing mental health.

This industry-first collaboration will see SMART Technologies apply its interactivity and engagement expertise to Kooth’s clinically proven mental wellbeing content and activities, and embed it into SMART’s digital learning tool, Lumio™ . In doing so, SMART will be able to provide teachers with readily available and digitally engaging lessons centered around mental wellbeing, connecting more educators and learners to Kooth’s resources and community. This includes making Kooth’s integrated platform – currently available to over 20,000 schools across the UK – available in North America, too.  

The partnership comes at a pivotal time for supporting mental wellness for students, with CDC data showing that rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse continue to rise. In the UK, data from NHS Digital finds that one in six, 6 to 16-year-olds in the UK now suffer from probable mental disorders – up from one in nine in 2017. The importance of an integrated approach to early education and support for mental health has never been greater. 

Kooth is the UK’s largest digital wellbeing mental health platform for 10-25 year olds, and delivers clinically proven, and research-evidenced therapies for those dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health and wellbeing concerns.

The strategic partnership will also see SMART help to propel Kooth’s North American expansion and beyond by coupling Kooth’s wellbeing expertise with SMART’s global scale and reach to roll-out vital mental health lessons and support to schools and educators across the globe.

Nicholas Svensson, CEO of SMART Technologies, said: “As a company, we have always worked to deliver technology platforms and solutions that boost student and teacher wellbeing and build connections that matter – whether that’s through creating engaging content where students can interact with one another, providing active, collaborative learning options, or supporting social and emotional learning (SEL).”

“As a leader of wellbeing in education in the UK, Kooth can further improve our offering with its clinical expertise that’s underpinned by extensive research and experience in supporting hundreds of thousands of students every year. Together, we’re excited about what we can achieve as a collective unit in alleviating one of the most prevalent issues in classrooms today.”

Tim Barker, CEO at Kooth, said: “The pandemic accelerated mental health challenges amongst students, and as a result, educators are now working tirelessly to provide support where they can. Our collaboration with SMART leverages its trust and scale in education to make accessing our clinically developed content and platform easier for teachers and students across the US, UK, and beyond.”

Hear more from Tim Barker and Nicholas Svensson in this conversion from Bett: https://youtu.be/eIEjdi8Cncc 

‘Going Too Far–Extremism and the Law’- LGfL wins award for resource developed in partnership with DfE… and its Technical or IT Support Services

LGfL-The National Grid for Learning strikes gold with a double award win at BETT 20221

LGfL-The National Grid for Learning celebrated striking gold at this year’s BETT Awards 2022, when it scooped  both the Best Wellbeing, Digital Wellness & Safeguarding Resource for its ‘Going too Far–The Law and Extremism’, developed in partnership with the Department for Education, and the Best Technical or IT Support Services. The BETT Awards, organised in association with the British Education Suppliers Association (BESA), celebrate the inspiring creativity and innovation that can be found throughout technology for education. The awards form an integral part of BETT each year, the world’s leading showcase of education technology solutions.

John Jackson, CEO, LGfL-The National Grid for Learning said, “We are absolutely thrilled to win these two awards – my thanks goes out to our talented online safeguarding team and colleagues from the Department for Education for producing Going too Far, designed to  promote critical thinking online and equip teachers with scenario-based activities to lead discussions around extremism and behaviours that are dangerous or illegal. I would also like to thank our dedicated team for rolling out significant technology initiatives to ensure that no child is left behind and for delivering exceptional customer care. (Please click on the video and move to 1.10 to see LGfL featured on the BETT Awards site  https://bettawards.com/)

Going Too Far? – Extremism and the Law

Going Too Far?-Extremism and the Law (https://goingtoofar.lgfl.net) –  the result of a partnership between the Department for Education and LGfL – is an open-access interactive teaching resource to help students understand extremism and how certain online behaviours may be illegal or dangerous. Cross-curricular activities facilitate a whole-school approach, complementing and complying with RSHE guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education and the UKCIS Education for a Connected World Framework.

The resource aims to promote critical thinking and build resilience to help young people face the abundance of extremist content online by exploring the techniques used by extremists and evaluating digital content, making positive choices about who/what is trustworthy online,  challenging extremist narratives and considering the consequences of their actions and making a positive stand.

Going too Far includes case studies and discussion stimuli, videos featuring subject experts,  scenarios to explore potential risks e.g. gaming and social media, signposting to trusted sources for support and reporting channels and printable teacher notes, extension activities, mini video guides and suggested answers to help lead informative discussions.

Its SEND and Inclusion area features audio narrations and alternative texts, as well as differentiated questions to support as wide a range of learners as possible.

Best Technical or IT Support Services

LGfL is one of the fastest growing edtech charities in the UK.  Its mission is the advancement of education. It is passionate about tackling inequality, promoting diversity and ensuring no child is left behind. Its #BridgeTheDivide initiative –  a huge national procurement for up to 2 million Chromebooks and Windows Laptops – enabled it to drive down the cost, save schools millions of pounds and increase access to devices and technology for children, including those disadvantaged. By making its Free School Meals Eligibility Checker free to schools nationwide it was able to help them to identify a potential £112.5M of Pupil Premium Funding and to support communities facing huge challenges.

“Our empathy and understanding of schools’ needs has enabled us to design, build and provide solutions that have been consumed at an unprecedented scale,” said John Jackson.

“Our standards of customer care are exceptional, with a retention rate of over 90%, sometimes involving incredible risk on behalf of our customers.”

  1. LGfL-The National Grid for Learning strikes gold with a double award win at BETT 2022 – Right to Left: Sindu Vee, Event Host and award winning comedian; Mubina Asaria – Online Safeguarding Consultant, LGfL; Bob Usher – Content Manager; LGfL; John Jackson – CEO; LGfL; Gareth Jelley – Product and Security Manager, LGfL.

Safeguarding: A Big Issue in Education Sector

Cyber security threats are constantly evolving, and security defences face an ongoing struggle to keep up. Cyber attacks against schools have been growing rapidly in the last few years. Educational establishments are currently more likely to suffer a security breach than businesses (Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021). The illustration below shows the percentage of institutions that have identified a breach or attack in the last 12 months.

Technology development brings new threats

The Department for Education, alongside the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), have written to schools twice in 2021. Both alerts highlighted the increased attack levels and the urgency of securing systems.

It’s long been essential for schools to prioritise safeguarding and to seek to protect sensitive student data. The attacks can come in many forms, from typical phishing emails to malware via downloads, ransomware, and denial of service attacks.

 

Cyber security as a whole strategy is only really coming to attention now. Creating a culture of security is a known goal in the business world, yet it should also be the same in an education setting.

Even if a school suffers no financial or data losses, losses from an attempted breach are noticeable elsewhere:

  • schools may need to invest in new security measures
  • staff time will be taken up with dealing with the breach (senior management, communications, and IT)
  • the wider staffing body may be unable to carry out their activities
  • students may be unable to receive their full, rich curriculum program.

What steps you can take to successfully protect your school sites?

IT isn’t exempt from human error. It’s worth having a quick check to see that you’re doing all you can to keep your defences up to date.

  • Use a firewall to protect all devices within your IT network from external networks, particularly those that connect to the internet publicly or over untrusted Wi-Fi Networks.
  • Check the settings on all software and devices to ensure security is at its highest functional level. Disable and remove any functions or accounts you don’t need or use.
  • Don’t use the default PINs or passwords that come with new devices; convey the benefits of a strong password policy. Also, consider two-factor authentication for access to mission critical accounts.
  • Control access to your organisation’s data through user account privileges. Only give administrative or extra permissions to employees whose job function dictates a need for this.
  • Only permit access to software from official sources, this is the only way to minimise the risk of malware being installed on devices.
  • Implement anti-malware measures. There are a few options such as sandboxing, whitelisting or using free built-in OS defences such as Defender for Windows or XProtect for Mac. Whitelisting: only running administrator approved applications. Sandboxing: Running an application in an isolated environment with restricted access to the rest of the device and network.
  • Enable the ability to track and erase any lost devices.
  • Keep all devices and applications up to date to both add new features and fix any newly discovered security vulnerabilities.
  • Set ‘automatically update’ wherever this is an option to be protected as soon as an update is released.
  • Consider replacing legacy devices once the manufacturer no longer supports the specific hardware or software and doesn’t continue to release new updates.

Manage your IT stress-free.

Protect your Endpoints, Network and Cloud from Cyber Threats with M-Tech cloud-based Managed Security Suite. This cloud-based MSS logs and alerts to any breaches, unexpected changes, or attack attempts. It also identifies unwanted activity that can evade even the toughest traditional cyber defences.

Our M-Tech Managed Security Suite includes:

  • Continuous Monitoring – Always-on threat detection in real-time
  • Minimal hardware required – A small piece of unintrusive software is added to your endpoint device and/or network
  • Threat Hunting Activity – The software proactively hunts for malicious actors in your network that have evaded security defences such as firewall and anti-virus systems
  • Log Retention – Logs are stored for up to 12 months, with the ability to be retrieved as needed
  • Microsoft 365 Security – Looks at Microsoft 365 as a whole and will log and alert about anything from rule changes to attack attempts
  • Isolation and Remediation – Device isolation contains threats to protect the network with the option to remediate where possible
  • Anti-Virus and Firewall Monitoring – Logs and alerts across many different types of anti-virus or firewall solutions

Keeping up with the latest regulations, technologies and defending against threats requires a huge amount of both planning and knowledge.

We deliver round the clock monitoring through our M-Tech MSS to detect and respond to threats, keeping you always protected.

Contact M-Tech here to chat about how we can help you to protect your school.

 

Bett Awards 2022 Winners Revealed

24 winners, from robots to music apps, celebrate success at the 2022 Bett Awards

London, 24 March 2022

A robot that can play football, an app that connects budding musicians with real-life professional instructors for a fraction of the normal price of lessons and a tool that can help schools pinpoint £100 million in free school meal funding are just some of the innovations that won at last night’s Bett Awards.

Hundreds of submissions were whittled down to a few dozen finalists before 24 winners were unveiled at the 24th annual Bett Awards at a gala dinner last night. 

The awards are designed to celebrate the inspiring creativity and innovation that can be found throughout technology for education.

Covid-19 has sparked unprecedented need for EdTech with hundreds of entrepreneurs and established tech firms springing into action to meet the need.

The winner of the coveted Innovator of the Year award is Practice Pal – which gives children premium music lessons with professional musicians for just £7.99 a week – less than half the cost of a normal half hour lesson.

Marty the Robot, a walking, dancing, football-playing robot that helps introduce children to the world of coding and robotics, won the Hardware, Digital and Robotic award.

The fast-growing LGfl was crowned the winner of the Technical and IT Support service after making its free schools meals eligibility checker free. The tool helps schools track down the up to £100 million in pupil premium funding that they could be missing out on.

 

The company also scooped the Digital Wellbeing award with its tool, built in partnership with the Department for Education, that helps students identify extremism online.

Two of the winners had tools that help prepare children to thrive online whilst keeping them safe: Natterhub won the Transformational Impact award while Southwest Grid for Learning – 360 Early Years – won the Early Years, Digital Product or Service award.

Maths Circle – creators of primary school favourite Times Table Rock Stars and NumbBots – scooped the Company of the Year prize for firms under £3 million while Renaissance Learning, which helped year six pupils in Hertfordshire undergo assessments, to close the learning gaps in challenging circumstances, won the accolade of Company of the Year in the over £3 million category.

A team of 28 judges were tasked with selecting the winners from hundreds of entries. 

 

Julia Garvey, Deputy Director General, British Educational Suppliers Association and Chair of Judges for the Bett Awards said: “The Bett Awards always attract top calibre submissions and this year was no exception. The winners are all amazing and the standard was incredibly high – the hardest job we had was narrowing it down to pick a winner each time. We are delighted to be able to recognise the hard work of so many businesses in the EdTech space all of whom have gone above and beyond to support teachers and learners during these uncertain times. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back to the Bett Show at ExCeL over the coming days where visitors will be able to see many of the shortlisted and winning entries on display. “

 

Eve Harper, Portfolio Director, UK EdTech – Hyve, said: “The Bett Awards are a highlight of the three-day Bett show but this year we have really seen innovation flourish like never before. The pandemic has fuelled a wave of new inventions from small start-ups to big tech firms who pivoted to meet the need for new ways of delivering education. Long after the pandemic has subsided, these new tools will have changed the way we learn forever.”

 

Many of the winners and finalists will be showcased at Bett until the 25 March 2022 at ExCeL, London. 

 

To register for a free ticket to see the winners and hundreds of other EdTech solutions at Bett go to www.bettshow.com

For a list of all the finalists, please see: 

https://bettawards.com/2022-shortlist/

 

The full list of the Bett Award 2022 winners is below:

Category 2022 Winner
Collaboration with a School Joskos Solutions with Pheasey Park Farm Primary School and Early Years Centre
Innovator of the Year Practice Pal
Transformational Impact Natterhub
Company of the Year (less than £3m) Maths Circle
Company of the Year (more than £3m) Renaissance
Educational Resource for Parents or Home Learning Your Favourite Teacher
Early Years – Digital Product or Service South West Grid for Learning -360 Early Years
Class Aid or Educator Support Developing Experts – Science Curriculum
Primary – Digital Learning Product – Language & Literacy Kaligo
Primary – Digital Learning Product – Numeracy & Maths Learning by Questions
Primary – Free Digital Content, App or Open Educational Resource White Rose Maths – Primary Resources
Primary – Digital Learning Product – Broad Curriculum (other) Busythings
Secondary – Digital Learning Product  Texthelp – EquatIO
Secondary – Free Digital Content, App or Open Educational Resource Mathigon – Polypad
Assessment, Planning & Progress Monitoring Learning Ladders
Technical or IT Support Service LGfL – The National Grid for Learning
International Digital Educational Resource Mussila Music School
Hardware, AV, VR/AR, Robotics or Digital Device Robotical – Marty the Robot
Leadership & Management Solutions Guide Education – Guide Teacher Training
Guide Connect
Wellbeing, Digital Wellness & Safeguarding Resources LGfL – Going Too Far? Extremism and the Law
SEND Resources, Products & Services Pearson – Mable Therapy
Higher Education – Digital Learning Product Lean Library Futures
The Education Show (non-EdTech) Award for School Resources & Equipment for Teaching & Learning The Literacy Tree – The Literary Curriculum
Outstanding Achievement Award John and Ann Crick, Founders, Crick Software

 

Category 2022 – Highly Commended Highly Commended
Class Aid or Educator Support Highly Commended Findel Education – Electronic Phonics
Secondary – Free Digital Content, App or Open Educational Resource Highly Commended Craig’n’Dave YouTube Channel
Leadership & Management Solutions Highly Commended CPOMS Systems  
SEND Resources, Products & Services Highly Commended JellyJames Publishing (Dynamo Maths) – Puffin Maths

 

Schools win big by sharing their inspiring stories in national competition

Promethean awards more than £60,000 in edtech to schools

 

It’s an excellent start to the new year for 20 lucky schools across the UK, celebrating wins in ‘Classroom Stories’ – a national competition run by global education technology company, Promethean.

 

The focus of this year’s competition was “celebrating positivity in education”. Schools across the UK were invited to make a two-minute video, illustrating a unique aspect of their classroom that made them proud.

 

The Classroom Stories competition is intended to champion the voices of educators and students, providing them with a chance to show off their creativity. This year’s entries included a wide range of content, from teachers performing song and dance routines to keep students engaged over lockdown, to a staged “dinosaur dig” inside a classroom – sandpit included.

Promethean gifted each winning school one of their ActivPanel interactive displays, complete with training and support, representing a total prize value for the entire competition at £60,000.

 

Ready for the brand-new term, the ActivPanel displays are sure to give staff and students an exciting springboard for 2022. 

Looking out for entrants that showed passion, innovation, and imagination were guest judges Alex Bramley, National Teaching Gold Award-winner, and Andrew Murden from Naace (the National Association for Education Technology).

 

Representing Promethean on the judging panel, Jim Wallis, Head of UKI Market, commented: “We would like to congratulate all the winning schools on their fantastic entries into the Classroom Stories competition. Promethean is always excited to celebrate positivity in education, and this competition is a wonderful way to reward creativity and ambition in the classroom.”

Kewaigue School was one of the successful winners of the Classroom Stories competition. Class teacher, Hannah Lewis, reflected: “I really enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside my class to create this classroom story of our school.

“The children worked so hard from creating a script, to working in front and behind the camera and finally editing and creating the final product. When we told the children we had won the panel, they just couldn’t believe it they were speechless!

“It was wonderful that all our hard work and efforts to tell our story of how we are making a difference in the community had been recognised and rewarded. Now the news has settled, the children and I are all very excited to make active use of the ActivPanel in our classroom.” Hannah continued.

Here is a full list of the 20 winning schools:

  • Ashleigh Primary School, Blackburn
  • Aspull Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Wigan
  • Balscadden National School, Balscadden
  • Barnhill Primary School, Dundee
  • Belthorn Academy Primary School, Blackburn
  • Kewaigue School, Douglas
  • Linn Primary School, Larne
  • Marsden Junior School, Huddersfield
  • Moor End Community Primary School, Accrington
  • Nether Kellet Community Primary School, Carnforth
  • Severn Beach Primary School, Bristol
  • South Camberley Primary & Nursery School, Camberley
  • St Joseph the Worker Catholic Primary School, Kirkby
  • St Mary’s Catholic Primary School and Nursery, Chorley
  • St Nicholas C of E Primary School, Blackpool
  • St Patricks RC Primary School, Preston
  • Summerseat Methodist Primary School, Bury
  • The Hall School, London
  • Victoria Primary, Edinburgh
  • Whitehouse Common Primary School, Sutton Coldfield

To learn more about the ActivPanel, please visit the Promethean website

 

-ends-

Improving student engagement with active learning

Giancarlo Brotto, Global Education Advisor at SMART Technologies

One of the biggest struggles teachers have faced since the start of the pandemic is ensuring they remain connected with their students. Irrespective of where lessons are held – whether online from a kitchen table, or in a traditional classroom – forging relationships with pupils is key to ensuring teachers stay on top of their student’s academics and wellbeing, providing total support to students. Key to this is engagement which, during the COVID-19 pandemic, was badly affected. 

A study from June 2020 from the National Foundation for Educational Research, which assessed pupil engagement in the earlier stages of the pandemic, found that only 42% of pupils had returned the last piece of set work given at the time of research, with 90% of teachers claiming their pupils were doing much less work than they would usually at that time of year. 

For the two years that followed that aforementioned report, teachers worked tirelessly to ensure students continued to feel engaged, particularly around social emotional learning (SEL), math and literacy. 

Developing students in these three areas has always been core to the UK curriculum, but the ability of teachers to do so while navigating the challenges of a pandemic and remote learning brought a myriad of challenges to educators. As a result, active learning and blended learning became an increasingly popular method of ensuring pupils remained engaged.

Active learning is what its name implies. It is an approach that helps learners store new information into long-term memory and helps learners develop a conceptual understanding of the material. Research has identified several benefits of active learning for students. It improves critical thinking, increases retention of new information, improves transfer of new information and promotes higher-order thinking skills. 

Applying active learning to the curriculum

We looked into the benefits of active learning in SEL, math and literacy in a whitepaper on how to keep pupils engaged, and found common benefits across each subject area. For literacy skill development, we found that peer-to-peer and small group work benefited young children greatly, allowing pupils to collaborate and share ideas, connect with prior knowledge, and think critically about their reading. Meanwhile student-directed learning, whereby students drive their own learning and are given time for self-reflection, can significantly boost reading skills, stamina and fluency.

Elsewhere for maths, three core active learning approaches have proved successful in improving students’ understanding of basic math, including hands-on learning such as geoboards, tangrams, pattern blocks and money. As humans, we only have a limited capacity to process new information at any given time, so creating multiple opportunities for learners to spend time being active through a variety of hands-on learning allows pupils to activate their brain and to transfer new knowledge into long-term memory. Similarly, encouraging students to actively engage with content improves their acquisition of basic math skills which, when combined with a range of games, puzzles and playful experiences, can enhance their confidence in the subject.

Finally, for SEL, students who were given choices in how they learn and show what they know report higher levels of self-efficacy and positive autonomy. Likewise, students that interact with content in small groups through physical and virtual learning stations develop a deeper understanding of the content, while relationship building activities and games that ease classroom tensions support the development of advanced social skills and resiliency. 

Throughout the pandemic, technology has allowed teachers to apply these active learning principles. Lumio, SMART Technologies’ digital learning tool, for instance, allowed educators to easily transition between the classroom and remote learning, to make new learning situations easier for students and teachers. Lumio, along with other educational technologies, allowed teachers to be creative with their active learning methods and, crucially, to adapt their teaching process as and when circumstances changes throughout the pandemic. 

Crucially, Lumio supports with boosting engagement by supporting the ways in which pupils learn, by improving perception, attention and memory through its range of templates and features. 

Active learning places students at the centre of their education. It’s a simple shift that can produce dramatic results. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that, despite whatever challenges are thrown at teachers, this teaching method can continue in the classroom or virtually. 

Classroom learning with Wacom pen tablets

Meet Wacom and the global education technology community at Bett UK and discover how Wacom pen tablets and pen displays boost digital classroom collaboration and facilitate STEAM lessons.

Wacom, the pioneer and leader in digital pen technology, is coming to Bett UK to show how Wacom’s digital education solutions complement the set-up of classrooms and auditoriums and enable new ways of learning and teaching from K12 to higher education. Join Wacom at stand SB30 to talk to Wacom experts and learn how simple and effective working, teaching and learning with the digital pen is.

Bett UK
23-25 March 2022
Stand SB30
ExCel London

 

Digital classroom collaboration powered by the pen

To show how digital pen displays support the teaching of STEAM subjects, Wacom together with Canopy Education are hosting a presentation about “Classroom learning with Wacom pen tablets” on the Tech in Action stage. In this session on Thursday, 24 March, 11:30-11:50, educators from K12 and further education will demonstrate how the use of Wacom pen tablets in the classroom increases student engagement and makes daily teaching more efficient.

Check the Bett UK agenda here for more information about the speakers and details of this talk. Find out more about the event itself and how to register on the Bett UK event page. And for more information about Wacom, its products and education solutions including case studies and special offers, please check these dedicated Wacom for Education pages.

BETT 2022: UNLOCK THE POWER OF IMMERSIVE LEARNING

Discovery Education is the worldwide EdTech leader whose state-of-the art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. Join us at Bett 2022 to get hands-on with Augmented Reality. We’re hosting 3 Bett events and we’d be delighted to welcome you to:

 

  1. Discovery Education BETT Arena Session

Friday 25 March @11:50AM

Bett Arena

Immersive Learning and Making

Discover how NEW Augmented Reality is transforming teaching and learning. See how using life-size AR in a maker environment can boost student collaboration and engagement and spring learning to life!

Led by: Phil and Dan Birchinall, Discovery Education

Simon Pile, Anson Primary School, Cricklewood

Bob Usher from LGfL, The National Grid for Learning.

 

  1. Discovery Education Hands-On AR Session

Friday 25 March From 12:30PM

Sunborn London Yacht Hotel, West India Dock 2 Room

Hands-on with Sandbox AR

Join us to get hands-on with NEW Augmented Reality. Create your own virtual world, scale it up to life-size and walk around it with our new cutting-edge app, Sandbox AR.

Led by: Phil Birchinall, Discovery Education

 

  1. Discovery Education Teaching and Learning Session

Friday 25 March @ 1:20PM

Bett Teaching and Learning Theatre

A Window to the World – Inspiring Teachers and Learners

Prepare learners for tomorrow through curiosity, engagement and real-world experiences. Devon primary school teacher Dale Lawson ­provides a deep dive into how digital technologies such as video, audio and text can transform teaching and learning.

Find out more about Discovery Education’s digital services at www.discoveryeducation.co.uk  

Explore Discovery Education and Nike’s Active Kids Do Better partnership at www.activekidsdobetter.co.uk  

 

Contact Angie Shatford to discuss:angie@inkstream.co.uk  or tel: 07704458365