Smarter school software 

Wednesday 29th June 2016
Collaboration for takeoff

Working to put hardware into schools and education has always found Apple, Google and Microsoft as prime candidates on the basis of “convince ‘em young and secure your ageing market.”  They are still workiing hard  to get their equipment into the education market and unlikely to slow up on this, since USA schools bought $10.8 million of Apple, Google and Microsoft devices in 2015 alone.  Small wonder that Amazon has determined to join that booming market.

What is intriguing is Amazon has taken a new slant on the education scene and its new Inspire project  as there’s still plenty of scope for making best use of the kit and  Amazon’s  new  Inspire education site offers the teachers a collaboration, with what seems a regular Amazon store, and usual search and star-ratings, but where the products are free educational resources for teachers, offering lesson plans and worksheets.

Google has also emerged with  new software to help  children and their teachers to interact   through the Cast app that  allows students and teachers share  screens from anywhere in the classroom on the computer that’s plugged into the projector.  Children now can  share screens on the class projector offering new ways to hold tests, and  provide VR tours that can save on day trips out.  Google’s also partnered with Stanford University and design consultants Ideo  (right) to create a new physical way to teach coding. Called Bloks, it turns lines of codes into blocks, that control a Raspberry Pi and in turn make music, move robots, or draw pictures. 

IN 2015  BESSA reported “Who could have foreseen even 50 years ago that by the 21st century pupils learning about tsunamis would be able to meet face to face through video conferencing with children across the world who survived one? Who could have predicted that children would be able to see the invisible through advanced data logging techniques that can monitor the growth of a flower in the classroom while they are at home in bed? As technology develops teachers will need the time and resources to explore it, pool their expertise and decide what will best help them and their students. Pressure on public finances and the challenges we are likely to face over the next decade make it imperative that schools are supported as they adapt to the 21st century, says (left)  Director, Caroline Wright.

 “In this, an election year, it is all the more important that politicians, policy makers and school leaders are willing to listen and learn from our ICT legacy and help to build a technology enhanced approach to education that will inspire and meet the learning needs of future generations,” she says.

This report is being published as the DfE’s Educational Technology Action Group is also making recommendations for the future. Whereas our longitudinal research is primarily reporting historical usage and the lessons to draw from three decades of experience, ETAG is searching for clarity in a crystal ball, says (left) Dominic Savage. “Its deliberations have certainly highlighted one need that is better addressed nationally: investment in broadband provision at speeds applicable to education’s growing need which is where the government can make the difference,” he says.”on video conferencing with children across the world who survived one? Who could have predicted that children would be able to see the invisible through advanced data logging techniques that can monitor the growth of a flower in the classroom while they are at home in bed? As technology develops teachers will need the time and resources to explore it, pool their expertise and decide what will best help them and their students. 

 

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